OPINION: Texas Representative Introduces Deadly Bill for Women Who Have an Abortion

Editor’s Note: The author’s views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper or Vincennes University.

On March 9. 2022, member of the Texas House of Representatives  Bryan Slayton introduced a bill to abolish abortion in Texas.

He posted on his Twitter feed, “The bill will end the discriminatory practice of terminating the life of innocent children, and will guarantee the equal protection of the laws to all Texans, no matter how small.”

This bill would press criminal charges such as assault or homicide on any woman who wants to have an abortion, including the death penalty. That is not the worst part of it. Slayton stated that the bill would not exempt cases of rape or incest, which would only add to the trauma already inflicted upon them.

Texas already enacted a bill called the “Heartbeat Act” on May 19, 2021, banning abortions after the detection of a fetus’ heartbeat. A fetus’ heartbeat is usually detected around the sixth week of pregnancy, which is also usually when women find out they are pregnant. Thus, giving women practically no time to make the important decision.

Allowing a bill to pass where women could possibly be killed for ‘feticide’ is inconceivable and unconstitutional. It would be a violation of their 14th amendment right, protecting a pregnant woman’s right to have an abortion without excessive government restriction, and is in direct contradiction with the precedent set in Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court.

Although there are foster care homes and adoption centers that would take the baby in, many children don’t get adopted and are placed in overcrowded and underfunded foster homes that they will eventually age out of, putting them out on the streets.

According to NFYI, “More than 250,000 children are placed into the foster care system in the United States every year and More than 23,000 children will age out of the US foster care system every year. After reaching the age of 18, 20% of the children who were in foster care will become instantly homeless.” 

The article also offers many more statistics about the foster care system and what happens to the children placed in them.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of lovely and kind foster homes in the country that enjoy taking care of children and are not just looking forward to another paycheck. However, looking at it from a statistical point of view makes the foster care system seem less desirable.

An article released results from a study performed one day after Ohio signed a bill that banned abortions after 20 weeks. 

According to the article, “Social psychologist researcher M. Antonia Biggs and her colleagues analyzed data on 956 U.S. women who had sought an abortion between 2008 and 2010 at one of 30 abortion facilities in 21 states. Each patient completed mental health follow-up surveys from eight days up to twice yearly for five years, up until as late as 2016. One week out, women who were denied access to an abortion appeared to suffer from greater anxiety, lower self-esteem, and lower life satisfaction than those who got an abortion just under the cutoff period.”

It continued, “The researchers concluded that having an abortion does not appear to compromise a woman’s mental well-being while denying one “may pose more of an immediate mental health risk than granting one would.”

If this study was only at 20 weeks, I can’t imagine how these new Texas laws would affect womens’ mental health after being only given six weeks to decide if she wants an abortion. As well as the possible thought that they might not even get a choice in the future.

Although I believe in a woman’s right to choose whether or not she wants an abortion, I do also believe that if the baby is viable outside of the body, the baby should not be aborted. Fetuses are viable outside of the body at 22 weeks, giving women an ample amount of time to consider whether they want to terminate the pregnancy or not.

It’s a solid compromise, allowing women to have a choice in the matter and not allowing late-term abortions when the fetus is viable outside of the womb.

Where would the line be drawn if this bill were to pass? What would happen to women who are prone to having miscarriages? Would they be sued and investigated for the loss of their fetus? If that were to happen, the Texas government would be putting those women through more agonizing suffering.

In an article written by author Amy Klein she stated, “If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, a group that helps people who face criminal charges related to abortion, says that since 2000, there have been at least 21 arrests of people ‘accused of a crime for ending a pregnancy or helping a loved one do so.’ And women who had miscarriages and stillborns have been criminally prosecuted under other laws.” 

She goes on further to write about how these laws could affect women seeking treatment for miscarriages in the future.

If this bill were to pass, it would do nothing besides stop women from having safe abortions, forcing them to resort to unsafe abortion methods, causing an increase in the death toll.

According to RespectCareGivers, “During the time period 1995 to 2003, the number of abortions declined globally; however, the rate of unsafe abortion was consistent and showed an increase. Every year, about 4.7 to 13.2% of maternal deaths result from unsafe abortions, making it one of the leading causes of maternal deaths.” 

There are various reasons why women might want to terminate their pregnancy, such as rape, incest, not having enough money to take care of a child, low survival rates, and just personal choice.

Every woman should get to choose what she does with her own body, and they should most certainly not be condemned to death for it.