Abortion Ban Not as Effective as It Seems


Courtesy of AP Images

Governor Greg Abbot speaks at 2013’s Right to Life conference.

Jaelyn Hudson, A+E Editor

The phrase “my body, my choice,” is meant to empower people and spread awareness of body autonomy. But when Texas banned safe abortions through the Texas Heartbeat Act, women lost their choice. The ban oversteps the right of the government to make decisions on behalf of an individual and her own body.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 into law last week, prohibiting abortion after six weeks, when the fetal heartbeat can first be be detected.

While this seems to give women a chance for abortion, many women don’t discover pregnancies until after these six weeks. 

According to the Miscarriage Association, a fetal heartbeat can only begin to be detected by ultrasound at the six-week mark. And in most cases, it takes another week for the first heartbeats to appear. 

This allows the abortion ban to prohibit most, if not all, safe and legal abortions in Texas, meanwhile disguising itself as providing an opportunity for women to receive a procedure.

And Senate Bill 8 is not as effective as it seems. It illegalizes abortions performed openly by a medical professional, but does not consider other alternatives. Many women will assume more dangerous practices of terminating their pregnancies, essentially finding a loophole in the ban.

“Unsafe abortions occur more often where abortion is restricted by law,” the Population Reference Bureau said. “In countries that prohibit abortion or allow it only to save the life of the women or protect her physical health, three quarters of the procedures are unsafe. In countries that allow abortion for any reason, 9 in every 10 abortions are safe.”

A safe abortion must be performed or supervised by a medical professional and can be completed either with drugs or a surgical procedure, according to the World Health Organization. And unsafe abortions are generally performed by untrained people or with outdated tools.

The boundaries set by Senate Bill 8 appear to settle the long-lived debate over the righteousness of abortion. But in reality, it merely encourages dangerous practices over safe, professional procedures. 

The justifications of abortion vary from woman to woman. This ban on all safe abortions beginning at the point when most women discover their pregnancy ignores each woman’s needs and the circumstances she faces. 

It is not for the government to decide on a woman’s body, especially since the laws only force her to consider endangering her safety to remain in charge of herself. The Texas Heartbeat Act needs to end.