I volunteered at Planned Parenthood in the early 70s. At that time, abortions were illegal in the United States. Many paid the ultimate price for demanding control over their bodies. They used anything they thought might work- some plunged coat hangers into their uterus and then bled out, alone and afraid. Too often they were just babies themselves. I’m still haunted by their stories.
When Roe v. Wade became law, women finally had a safe and legal way to get abortions. To have this stripped away by a state legislature’s machinations that denies all Texas women their constitutional right after six weeks– even for rape, incest or the health of the mother- is unconscionable. Especially when the majority don’t even know they are pregnant at that early stage. Add to that the fact that the law also encourages others to spy and report on a woman when she’s most vulnerable, is outrageous. This law states that a woman who chooses to control her own body as well as everyone who assists her can be sued by anyone for up to four years after the abortion. Even her rapist can sue from jail!
The law demands proof she had an abortion within the proper timeframe. Which then allows access to private, personal and intimate healthcare information since exposing this data is the only way to prove innocence. And she and others would have no recourse. She and anyone who helped are faced with hefty legal fees.
Is this really what we want? To push women’s healthcare back into dark alleys or keep women isolated, scared and overwhelmed? That is a tactic totalitarian governments use to control their people and incite fear- turn neighbor against neighbor, family member against family member, ensuring no one is safe.
Over 70% of this country support the rights Roe v. Wade provided in 1973. In that decree the Supreme Court ruled that states:
-Cannot prohibit abortions at all during the first trimester- 12 weeks.
-Can require reasonable health regulations during the second trimester- another 12 weeks.
-Can prohibit abortions entirely in the third trimester unless the life or health of the mother is at risk.
There are dozens of laws working their way to the Supreme Court, hoping to destroy a woman’s right to choose. This time, the Texas state legislature found a way to circumvent the requirement to oversee legal abortions by throwing punitive actions in the hands of its citizens, thereby manipulating a loop hole in the Roe v. Wade decision. Doing so removed the state completely from the equation. Instead, turning each of us against each other by encouraging and making it legal for individuals to sue women and every one who helped them to have a constitutionally protected abortion.
A loving partner later unhappy at how the relationship ended, can sue. A coworker told in a vulnerable moment or an angry sibling can turn on those involved. You sat with your best friend, held her hand, tended to her heartache. You can be sued. The clinic that ensured it was performed in a safe environment is liable. The Uber driver? The law is specifically opaque so anyone involved will never know if they are culpable until they’re drawn into the fight.
It’s only Texas for now, but other states, including Arizona are eagerly looking to this law as a blueprint to ban abortions as well. Especially when the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision refused immediate action to stop its enactment.
It will take years to wind its way through normal channels to the highest court in the land. Until then how many will suffer from its vigilante tactics?
Are we really ok with forcing our mothers, daughters, wives, granddaughters, loved ones, friends to seek out disreputable providers for remedies that could cause irreparable harm?
This is in stark contrast to what our neighbors to the south enacted into law. The Supreme Court in Mexico, the second largest Catholic country in the world, just ruled to decriminalize abortions.
A state that allows unfettered access to handguns, made laws forbidding mask and vaccine mandates, all in the name of freedom to choose and “civil rights” is now making it clear women have none over their own bodies.
I have referred to the following poem repeatedly. It is a frightening and foreboding warning. Germany chipped away at human rights, destroyed free elections, put the “correct people” in pivotal roles, made everyone an enemy to each other, solidified their doctrine by teaching it to children in schools… each day I fear history is closer to repeating itself.
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.