by Crystal Duc
The state of Texas delivered a staggering blow to woman’s rights on September 1, 2021, after their state legislature passed the most controversial abortion law enacted in the United States in recent decades. The highly criticized new legislation overturned the U.S Supreme Court’s historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which grants women a constitutional right to abortion and prevents states from banning the procedure before fetal viability.
Most medical professionals estimate fetal viability to be about 24 weeks; however, the new Texas law Senate Bill 8, also known as the Heartbeat Act, bans abortions from as early as six weeks or after the first detection of a fetal heartbeat.
The new Texas legislation gives U.S citizens the right to file suit against any medical professional who performs an abortion past the first six weeks of a woman’s pregnancy. Americans can seek up to $10,000 in damages in a civil court against abortion providers and individuals who aid in an illegal abortion.
Many medical experts across the nation have voiced their outrage at the enforcement of the Texas ban and have deemed the new law “a deceptive infringement on a woman’s civil liberties.” An obstetrician at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore stated, “Six weeks is a very small window for most women to show signs of a pregnancy so soon after conception.”
Since its creation, the newly enacted Texas abortion ban has triggered hundreds of pro-choice marches and women’s rights protests across the nation and has been labeled “Blatantly unconstitutional” by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Throughout history, women have long endured their never-ending battle for gender equality and reproductive rights. Originally used as a mantra for gender equality in the 1970s, the My Body My Choice Movement has established itself as an empowering weapon of retaliation for women worldwide in their collective battle over abortion rights and gender equality.
In recent years, the My Body My Choice Movement has been twisted to reflect archaic patriarchal political ideologies and personal agendas; however, its original message of female empowerment continues to be an unwavering battle cry for women in their fight against sexist societal ideals and is a powerful weapon in their struggle to obtain reproductive rights, gender equality, and body autonomy.
Following the recently enforced Texas abortion law, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and other members of Congress, have brought up the vital importance of enacting legislation like the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), which would codify Roe v. Wade into federal law, protecting women’s reproductive rights.
Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, the debate over abortion rights has heavily influenced local, state, and national election outcomes. With the upcoming election year looming on the horizon, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has evaded direct questioning regarding his thoughts on the recent Texas law.
In previous interviews, DeSantis has stated his opposition to abortion rights throughout his political career; however, DeSantis has yet to comment on the recently proposed Florida abortion laws set for review during next year’s legislative session.
The Supreme Court is currently deliberating over arguments filed by the Justice Department and numerous abortion providers throughout Texas against the newly enacted Texas abortion ban.
Arguing on behalf of the U.S, General Elizabeth Prelogar said, “If a state can deputize the general public with enforcing a law, and allow damages to be awarded to those who bring successful suits, then no constitutional right is safe.”
A recent poll from the Pew Research Center found that 6 out of 10 Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, which is a statistic lawmakers in Florida and the rest of the nation should seriously consider as they move forward with their radical attempt to relinquish women of their reproductive rights.