Posted on: October 8, 2021 Posted by: Marcus Collins Comments: 0

By The Glacier Editorial Board

On Sept. 1, Texas released one of the most restrictive laws in this country, banning abortions past six weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest. Last week, in a victory for women, the law was temporarily blocked, allowing abortions to continue. Unfortunately, on Friday the block was removed, taking women’s human rights with it. 

“The devastation is just immeasurable at this point,” Kathy Kleinfeld, an administrator with Houston Women’s Reproductive Services told NPR. “And it continues daily, whether it’s on the phone or email requests from desperate women trying to seek services.”

This law will not stop abortions; it will force women to have unsafe abortion procedures in dangerous areas, putting their lives at risk. Women will be forced to give birth, possibly sending their children to orphanages. Complications can also arise, such as being too mentally, physically, financially, or medically unstable to become a mother.

Women’s rights are being trampled over by people in power who wish to impose their rule over a woman’s body, taking away the freedom that was granted by the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which was a turning point for women nationwide. No matter how many victories we achieve for women’s rights, there are still people, even women themselves, who are standing in the way of progress and who now oppose the right for women to have an abortion.

The same Texas government that banned the vaccine and mask mandate due to “personal freedom” has taken away women’s freedom of choice and control over their own bodies. By only allowing abortions within the first six weeks, the law doesn’t even provide enough time for a woman to find out she is pregnant. Being six weeks pregnant means two weeks late for your period, which can be for a number of reasons, such as stress, diet changes, or for no reason at all.

Under the law, civilians are encouraged to call the state government on alleged abortions, and they get paid up $10,000 in bounty money as reward. The law circumvents our constitutional rights by putting enforcement into the hands of vigilantes, turning civilians against each other for the sake of money. Not only the woman seeking an abortion, but anyone else involved–the driver to the clinic, the doctor performing the procedure—will face criminal charges, creating an oppressive system. Texas found a way around the law being judged as unconstitutional by not having the state enforce it but having individual citizens take care of enforcement.  Historian Heather Cox Richardson calls this “the biggest red flag in the red flag factory” and sees it as part of a larger problem of constitutional rights potentially being eroded. On her podcast, she said, “What constitutional right could not be overturned by vigilantes?” 

The Texas law is paving the way to enact similar laws in nearby states and across the nation. Republican states have been inspired to establish their own versions of the Texas abortion law. According to the Associated Press, ‘After Texas’ law went into effect, Republican lawmakers in at least half a dozen states said they would consider introducing similar bills, with the goal of enacting the kind of abortion crackdown they have sought for years. Those states include Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota.”

To fight for our rights, freedom and future we need to take action. Allowing laws like these to spread will drive this country backwards. Our only choice is to stand tall and make our voices heard. Organize protests. Let people know that there are those in power who wish to strip away the rights of women, making them second-class citizens. And vote. If we truly want to make change for the betterment of women’s lives, rights and freedoms nationwide, we need to remove those who want to pass such oppressive laws and put in their place people who will protect women’s rights.

The editorial board is composed of editor-in-chief Deana Elhit and the section editors of The Glacier.