Wan-Take: Hands of my future

Pro-life or pro-choice? That’s been the question of the century, pulling from evangelicals labeling it as homicide to liberals who argue that it’s for a woman to decide. But, Texas has answered this question with their own abortion law—an inhumane ban that gives the Supreme Court leeway to overturn the decades of stability offered by Roe v. Wade.
Enacted on Sept. 1 of 2021, the Texas Abortion Law bans abortion at the six-week mark—the first time a fetal heartbeat can be detected. To put this into context, most women don’t realize they’ve missed their period until their fourth week of pregnancy. That gives women two weeks to recognize their pregnancy and decide whether or not they should get an abortion. There have even been cases where women have hit the six-week mark and not known they’re pregnant.
Not only does this period give limited time for a woman to make an emotionally and physically draining decision, it’s also 18 weeks earlier than the 24 week standard set by Roe v. Wade. Such a standard was established in relation to when a fetus becomes viable, or when it can survive outside the womb.
What’s worse is that the law does not make exceptions for rape or incest. In fact, the only time exceptions are drawn is if the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life or causes irreversible effects on the woman’s body. And, who draws this line? Health providers who are forced to strictly abide by the law, fearing medical malpractice and the loss of their license.
But there’s one specific regulation that makes this ban unique from others: private citizens can enforce the law when they see fit. According to Shayna Medley, a lecturer at Harvard Law School, people are allowed to sue anyone they suspect have recieved or aided an abortion after six weeks. The list of those that can be targeted are practically endless: relatives that funded the abortion, drivers who took them to appointments, even those who work at abortion clinics.
To give the public an open opportunity to prosecute a person for an abortion is synonymous to charging someone after seeing them speak out at a protest—both rights protected under a court of law. These “anti-abortion vigilantes,”as Medley calls them, can target women at their choosing—forgoing any sort of decision a woman is allowed to make.
Despite these biased guidelines, the Supreme Court refused to block the law—voting against the measure 5 to 4. Justices who voted in favor cited the lack of arguments from plaintiffs. But, the dissenting opinions saw otherwise. As stated by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, preventing this block gives states permission to target other decisions the Supreme Court has made.
And, that’s exactly what certain states are planning to do. For decades, states along the Sunbelt have attempted to pass their own heartbeat laws—namely Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio. The only reason such laws were never implemented was by Supreme Court blocking. With this decision, all that’s in question.
Roe v. Wade and all other constitutional decisions are made after addressing both sides of an argument, supposedly from justices who remain impartial. But, this law is a direct contradiction of every single measure Roe v. Wade established, attacking women’s rights and further polarizing an already-split political landscape. A woman’s body is not for the government to decide on—it never was and it never should be.