On September 1st, 2021, after the Supreme Court remained silent, a Texas abortion law, passed in May, ended Roe. v. Wade as we know it.
Since January of 1973, the United States Supreme Court has banned abortion after 22-24 weeks in most cases: the point of fetal viability. They based this decision on a woman’s right to privacy. However, by refusing to speak on the Texas case, at 12:01 pm, it became illegal to remove a clump of cells with a detectable heartbeat in the Lone Star State, usually around six weeks, paving the way for so-called heartbeat bills nationwide. There are no exceptions in the case of rape or incest.
And this isn’t up to police to enforce. Any private citizen can bring civil suit against “abortion providers or anyone who helps facilitate the procedure,” including “a person who drives a pregnant person to the clinic.” They would have to pay that person who filed the suit $10,000 in damages for destroying a clump of cells. In fact, Sarah McCammon tells NPR that, “Texas Right to Life has set up what they call a whistleblower website where people can submit anonymous tips about anyone they believe to be violating the law.”
Report an abortion provider, aider, or abettor, earn $10,000!
This so-called heartbeat bill paves the way for other states to pass similar laws. And while many women can travel out of state to obtain abortions, many cannot. And at six weeks — measured from the date of a woman’s last menstrual period, or two weeks after a skipped period, this bill slams women before they often realize they’re pregnant at all.
Welcome to a post-Roe v. Wade world.
What This Law Means
Those Stetson-wearing, cowboy-shod fuckers just shot down a woman’s right to choose. Cis-het men and cis-het women waving signs and sitting on their high-ass horses claim they know what’s best for your body — even if you’re an 11 year-old girl who just got raped by her stepdaddy.
But rest assured, all of you civil libertarians out there:
Today in Texas you can carry a gun without a permit but you can’t register to vote online or get an abortion after 6 weeks
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) September 1, 2021
So you can openly intimidate any woman who might possibly want an abortion with the gun you’re openly carrying, then stop her from voting because she can’t get drive to pick voter registration papers!
Get ’em born and fuck ’em over. Health care laws for children and family are confusing as all hell. So is food stamp eligibility — which generally comes with income requirements. Thanks to Biden, all states offer rental assistance. However, some are dependent on loss of income due to COVID-19, and all have income requirements in general.
A Clump Of Cells Is Not A Baby
Unless you’re a right-wing nutjob with a religious axe to grind, a two-week — because you banged two weeks ago, not six — is not a baby. Let’s look closer. It’s as wide as a pencil eraser and looks like a tadpole, according to WebMD. Its neural tube has not closed and it has no brain or spinal cord. It is still called an embryo, not a fetus.
These. Are. Cells.
This is not a viable human by any stretch of the imagination. It lacks a brain. If we consider some kind of consciousness as the threshold for humanity — Descartes’s “I think, therefore I am” — then these cells cannot be considered, by any stretch of the imagination, a human baby. Without a brain, it is unable to think.
Illegal Abortions Will Flourish, And Dreams Deferred
Women will find a way.
How do I know? Because I found one. A child of Catholic parents, I couldn’t tell them I was pregnant, and neither could other girls in my dorm. We knew how to do it in those early weeks. It was dangerous and frightening and awful. We knew the risk we took. But we did it alone, and we kept our silence. We’d whisper our secrets, late at night: if that unthinkable ever happens, this is how you take care of it. Never with names, never with admissions, but always: if you ever need it. If it comes to that.
For many of it, it did.
For many of us, we found a way.
What of those girls who will not find one? We had the internet and those late-night secrets. They’ll be burdened with children they never wanted, haunted by their derailed dreams. Those cis men who made the laws, those high-and-mighty women with their pristine morals: they won’t be the ones to suffer through loss and pain.
Don’t tell me, a mother, that children are never pain. Don’t tell me that children are never a loss. A blessing sometimes, yes. But for every door that opens one slams shut. Don’t lie and and say that when God closes a door, He opens a window. Life doesn’t work that way. Sometimes, when He opens a door, it leads to poverty and pain. It leads to abuse and resentment. It leads to food and housing insecurity, to odious dependence on relatives you never liked in the first place.
They are stealing our rights. They are stealing our dreams. They are stealing our lives.
And they will take, and take, and take, in state after state. These cis men, these self-righteous women, they will smile and celebrate our suffering. They will offer no help. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Work for a living. If you hadn’t opened your legs in the first place, none of this would have happened.
They invented hell. They can go there themselves.