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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

S.B. 8 deprives healthcare rights for women


How the Texas bill threatens women’s health and safety

For almost five decades, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 has upheld women’s rights to have an abortion up until 24 weeks into their pregnancy. This precedent-setting case is now likely to be in jeopardy. 

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, declined to block Senate Bill 8 (S.B. 8), which Texas lawmakers wrote in order to ban most abortions after about six weeks. S.B. 8 does not make any exceptions for rape or incest, and bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected. The majority of women do not even know that they are pregnant at six weeks. Providers say that this law would impact at least 85% of procedures they perform after the six week point. 

The law allows citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who “aids or abets” a woman who may request the procedure. S.B. 8 also allows anyone to sue medical practitioners who violate the new bill and provides the person who brings the case to court with at least $10,000 (plus legal fees and costs). 

S.B. 8 will effectively limit pregnant persons’ access to all manner of reproductive healthcare services. The law will also disproportionately hurt women of color and low-income women because of existing structural inequities in the healthcare system, including the lack of access to contraception.

S.B. 8 essentially gives women three options: leave the state of Texas in order to access abortion services, carry the pregnancy to term or receive an unsafe abortion that may endanger their lives. This isn’t going to stop abortions, but instead will create conditions for unsafe abortions. 

Women should always have the right and choice to decide what is best for them.

Laws that ban or restrict abortions are not about protection or morals, but are about control. Not all women have access to adequate reproductive healthcare or the resources and capabilities to carry a pregnancy to term. 

There is little state assistance offered to help these women during or after their pregnancies.

 The maternal mortality rate in Texas is above the U.S. average, which is 18.5 deaths per 100,000 live births. The U.S. has the highest maternal death rate in the “developed” world. In 2011, Texas lawmakers cut two-thirds of the state’s family planning budget resulting in the closure of 80 health clinics. 

S.B. 8 deprives women of autonomy over their bodies. S.B. 8 and its supporters will endanger the lives of women. To pretend otherwise is to ignore the reality many pregnant persons face. 

Women should always have the right and choice to decide what is best for them. Government should not have the right to politicize a woman’s body and deprive her of her healthcare decisions. 

All women should have the right to make the best decision for themselves and their health, and whether or not that decision is the “right decision” should never be up for debate.

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