Texas Abortion Bill and Body Politics
Senate Bill Eight, also known as the Texas Heartbeat Act, passed Sept. 1. This act has made it illegal for a person to receive an abortion and a physician to perform an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected. It is also unlawful to have an abortion without having a fetal heartbeat detection test prior. However, there are exemptions if a physician believes one to be in a medical emergency. These exemptions, so graciously added by the majority white and male senate, state that the creation of this exemption does not recognize that it is a person’s right to receive an abortion before receiving a fetal heartbeat detection test.
Any person who performs an abortion is liable, and civil action may be brought against them. Any person who pays for abortion directly, or is reimbursed through their insurance for said abortion, is also found liable because they are said to be aiding and abetting. To make things worse, these people who are performing abortions and even paying for abortions are to pay out statutory damages of no less than $10,000 and additional costs and attorney fees. The statute of limitations associated with reporting a person who has performed an abortion for somebody who has chosen by their own body is four years.
Senate Bill Eight states that making any claims about this bill violates the rights of any third parties. This bill has placed men’s rights in a heterosexual relationship above a woman’s rights to her own body. The lesser of two evils provided by this bill is that it does not allow civil action to be brought against a person who has received an abortion due to rape or incest. This should not be celebrated as one’s ability to make choices for themselves has been stripped away.
If abortion is deemed necessary by a physician in Texas, the Texas Senate must inform the person receiving the abortion of lies they believe. These lies include that having an abortion increases one’s risk of breast cancer, and having a full-term pregnancy allows one to avoid breast cancer. The American Cancer Society concluded that there is not enough evidence for this belief to be supported. The physician must also inform the patient that there may be medical assistance benefits available if they have a full-term pregnancy, but the Texas Senate does not guarantee that a person’s financial need and all other associated costs will be met. The physician must also describe the fetus and the patient must hear the heartbeat. In Senate Bill Eight, the changes that were made can be seen in red writing. Initially, the word “fetus” was used, but it was then changed to “unborn child” in an attempt to equate the life of an actual-born child to a clump of cells.
No one should make choices for a body that is not theirs – except in cases where an alternative cannot be made due to the incapacity to do so. In contrast to this inhumane bill passed by Texas, Mexico, a predominantly Catholic country, has legalized abortion. This may be due to their National Congress being half women and maybe having these experiences themselves. Some women in Texas have taken part and joined the Satanic Temple in hopes of maintaining their bodily autonomy, as the Satanic Temple regards highly reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy. One’s body is not a place where politics should reside, so whether it is going to Mexico or joining the Satanic Temple, people are doing what is in their best interest for themselves.