Ishaan Nandwani, Contributing Writer
Earlier this month, people across the United States watched in complete outrage as the most restrictive law against abortion in our country’s history went into effect in Texas.
The law — Texas Senate Bill 8 (SB8) — bans nearly all abortions after six weeks; the only exceptions are cases in which no fetal heartbeat can be detected or for medical emergencies. The law was first signed back in May, but received significant backlash after the Supreme Court refused to block the law on Sept. 1.
Scrolling through social media after the law first went into effect, I was in utter shock and disbelief. Is this real? I could not — and still cannot — comprehend how in the year 2021, a state in a country that prides itself on freedom and progressiveness, could pass a law so totalitarian that it can dictate what an individual decides to do with their own body.
Laws surrounding abortion have been a subject of intense debate since the passage of Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court ruling from 1973 that protects a pregnant individual’s right to an abortion. Since then, two diametrically opposed beliefs surrounding abortion have garnered support: pro-life, whose supporters oppose abortion on the grounds that life begins at conception and pro-choice, whose supporters believe in a individual’s right to choose.
I strongly align myself with the pro-choice movement, protecting an individual’s right to an abortion. My core beliefs are simple: an abortion is a highly sensitive and personal experience, and every individual who chooses to get an abortion has their own reasons. There are many circumstances that need to be taken into consideration: lack of fetal viability, rape or incest, damage to an individual’s personal health and more.
As a man, I recognize that many laws prohibiting abortion are rooted in misogyny. Too often, men have sought to insert themselves into the conversation, attempting to pass laws and judgement against individuals whom they have no understanding of, or recognition of their life circumstances. To any fellow man who reads this: it’s time to stop. Continuing to harbor beliefs that exert control over women is sexist, and preventing the progress we all want to see in the world.
Texas’ SB8 was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, a staunch Trump supporter and a longtime advocate against an individual’s right to choose. Moreover, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Abbott consistently fought against mask mandates and sanctioned restrictions against local Texas governments from putting out public health safety measures.
It’s disheartening to me that men who are disillusioned with the gravity of critical public health and the issues of reproductive rights are continuously put in positions of control and power, and it’s time for that cycle to end.
The bill itself is a nightmare. Prior to SB8, there has never been a measure that prevents abortions after six weeks, a period in which many individuals are still not aware that they are pregnant. As a matter of fact, in Texas, more than 80% of abortions occur after the six-week mark, according to an article from the Texas Tribune.
Say an individual in Texas was raped, unaware of what happened to them, and only discovered that they were pregnant after six weeks had passed. According to SB8, that individual would be unable to legally get an abortion, forced to bear a child despite being an unwilling participant in the circumstances leading up to the fetus’ conception.
This bill is no longer just a question of “pro-life” or “pro-choice.” It’s a question of freedom versus totalitarianism.
With the passage of this bill, individual liberties are under attack. The U.S. is better than that.
On a more positive note, the enactment of SB8 has garnered significant opposition from the federal government. The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit to block the law, with Attorney General Merrick Garland claiming the law as “clearly unconstitutional.” There is still hope that this law will not be enacted.
However, the fact that we’ve gotten to this point is unacceptable. The fight for justice is never easy, but we must continue to resist the structures that seek to impose their domination and control in order to build a more just future of equality.