The “Pro Life” Argument in Texas

Ava Orofino, Contributing Writer

Trigger Warning: In the paragraph beginning with “Another recent law was passed…” includes a brief mention of sexual assault, as well as the mentions of gun violence in the paragraph starting with “Just last week…”. 


The pandemic has taken the world by storm, flipping life upside down, for people across the world. However, once things began reopening in June of 2020, it was announced that everyone should be wearing masks in all settings. “Karens, people who seemed to want to fight with every employee until they saw a manager so they could get their way, were the new internet fame. People were capturing videos of women and men in department stores, grocery stores, coffee shops, who were refusing to enter the building without a proper face covering. “My body, my choice!” they would spit back at the helpless employees who were just doing their jobs. But why were they using a “pro-choice” argument for abortions, while they were doing something that was not considered “pro-life”? 

My, how the tables have turned. 

Texas AG Ken Paxton after filing a lawsuit against Richardson ISB for mandating masks in their school environment (via Texas Metro News)

Abortion, gun violence, and recently mask mandates, have become controversial topics over the past couple years, particularly in the state of Texas. Arguments on each side of the ideological aisle have transformed into protests and riots, both in person and all over social media. It seemed that anytime there was a post on Instagram or Twitter regarding one of the three topics, someone on the internet had an opposing  viewpoint to share. And whether that be yelling, showcasing evidence (that may or may not be factually correct), or reposting, there was always someone in the comments or replies stating their opinion. However, there seem to be more conservative-leaning internet trolls attacking abortion, masks, and guns. More liberal-leaning opinionators appear to be nicer about their views than the other. Funny enough, the ones who are nicer are often more informed and more open-minded to new perspectives and ideas, while the others will die on the hill of their opinions, trying to make sure everyone dies on the same one along with them. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbot has made his opinions surrounding the topics at hand clear. Just after the COVID-19 vaccine was available, he quickly made the announcement that there would no longer be a mask mandate anywhere in the state of Texas. Executive Order GA-38 states “No governmental entity, including a county, city, school district, and public health authority, and no government official may require any person to wear a face covering or to mandate that another person wear a face covering.” It also issued a one-thousand dollar fine if this order were to be broken by any means. However, a similar rule has not been passed to require vaccines despite the Delta COVID variant spreading like wildfire across the world. On September 10th of this year, Texas Attorney General Paxton sued 6 school districts that ignored this law and required all students and staff to wear a proper face-covering after a significant increase in COVID cases. And although people are not prohibited from wearing masks altogether, it is still frowned upon by those who choose not to protect themselves from the ongoing virus. “God will protect me”, they retort back. So, if you have God’s protection, why do you need guns?

A chart presented by the Gun Violence Archive regarding the number of shootings in Texas (via gunviolencearchive)

Just last week, a new Texas law was passed allowing anyone over the age of 21 to legally own a firearm and carry it around regularly, with no need for training or a permit. Apparently, everyone other than those convicted of a felony, or who have a history of domestic or terrorist abuse, is fair game to walk around publicly wailing their guns around after the age of 21. Does no one in the state notice how problematic this is? There used to be specific training and tests citizens had to pass in order to carry guns before the law came into place. The Second Amendment has been in effect since the American Revolution, where carrying guns in the middle of a war was normal and pistols were the only firearms available. It feels a little outdated, but even then, those who wanted to carry a gun had to meet specific qualifications. Granted, those qualifications were racist and sexist during that time, but there was still some sort of application process involved. After the rate of shootings in Texas increased by 14% this past year, the Texan Government still saw it righteous for there to be virtually no laws for gun regulation. Apparently in Texas, guns have more rights than a woman’s reproductive system.

Another recent law passed, SB8, bans abortions in the state of Texas past six weeks of pregnancy. The U.S. Supreme Court and federal law refused to stop the implication of this law, despite Roe. V. Wade remaining intact. According to this law, after six weeks, it is no longer legal for a woman to forgo terminating a pregnancy. Six weeks of pregnancy is one missed menstrual cycle if that. Most women don’t start experiencing symptoms of pregnancy until at least six weeks after conception, essentially meaning they can no longer make their own decisions surrounding their pregnancy – it has been decided for them. According to an article from CNN, 85 to 90 percent of abortions occur after the six-week mark (though some may choose to terminate earlier due to rape or incest, which is no exception to the law, the only one being if the pregnancy is a “medical emergency”). But then, what is even considered a “medical emergency” to those who are making the law? The lawmakers have used very general and nonspecific terminology to avoid use of the exception. However, none of this is even the worst part of this law. The worst part is that any private citizen in any part of the world can file a lawsuit against a doctor or someone they know who aided in the abortion after the legal amount of time/ Additionally, these citizens are rewarded for this, with the possibility to win over $10,000 dollars, though not including legal fees for the informants. It is sickening, not only the lawsuit but that the penalty for rape in Texas is far less than the penalty is for aborting after rape. It is disgusting how Texas is forcing a child who is a victim of sexual assault to carry to term This isn’t saving lives. This is a war on women.

Texans at a pro-abortion rally after the new abortion ban (via Huffington Post)

The “pro-lifers” have really won themselves a nice battle in Texas, but are they really as “pro-life” as they say they are? Angry people surround Planned Parenthoods around the country, not just in Texas, screaming at patients, calling them “murderers” and threatening them. If life begins at conception as these people say, then shouldn’t childcare start then too? Or what about pregnant immigrants . Shouldn’t they be protected because they are carrying a potential U.S. citizen? So fine, you can call it murder if you want.  But you know what else is considered “murder”? Not wearing a mask or refusing vaccination and allowing COVID-19 – a deadly virus that has already killed millions of people worldwide – to continue spreading and infecting and killing more and more people on a daily basis. “My body, my choice!” Okay, don’t want to do something that protects you and everyone else around you? Then just stay home. Do you know what else is considered murder? Allowing someone to carry a gun without training, possibly endangering those around them. “It’s my right to carry a gun!” Okay, and it isn’t a woman’s right to dictate what she does to her own body? 

It’s interesting how these arguments rise and fall, and how there are always simple solutions for everything. You want to stop abortions? Let’s stop them at the source and force all men who are not financially or mentally stable enough to provide for a child receive a mandatory reversible vasectomy. You don’t want to wear a mask? Stay home or get vaccinated. You want to carry a gun? Get the training and permits you need. These recent laws have completely ignored the importance of protecting everyone around them, as well as protecting the rights of everyone around them. Texas is the first, but if this doesn’t stop, I have a feeling it won’t be the last.