I wanted to let the debate air itself out in the realm of social media without further clouding the process. But clouds be damned! Fortunately this will be one of only two official statements on the matter. I just can’t stand these stereotypes. I’ll try not to fulfill one while dispelling these myths.
No one likes abortion. Let’s be clear on that. Pro-choicers don’t throw abortion parties nor are they Satanists. Equally true, not all pro-lifers are churchy, close minded bigots with their noses stuck in the Bible.
Now that we’ve all touched gloves, someone sound the bell. Opinion, go.
My problem with Senate Bill 2 (formerly Senate Bill 5) is with the principles it stands on. I’m guaranteed the constitutional right to privacy, and whether or not I want to utilize abortion services is and should always be my decision. It certainly shouldn’t be one made by some white, male politician who doesn’t know a Fallopian tube from a pixie stick. If the government finds it their business to determine the start of life, what’s to say they won’t start playing around with definitions of the end? I’ve never had to have one myself, but my mother had to have an abortion in 1984 out of medical necessity.
If my parents had to get government permission for the “medically necessary” procedure, I might not be around to write this. Because my parents were able to make this very difficult decision free from government intrusion, my mother went on to recover and have four more children. Abortions obtained for medical reasons constitute only a percentage, of course. But these are the things we’re talking about. Limiting access to this procedure is not the state legislature’s function. This isn’t a new game we’re playing. The Supreme Court has already visited the issue of extensive requirements much like the ones in SB2 in the 1982 Supreme Court case, City of Akron vs. Akron Center For Reproductive Health (http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1982/1982_81_746). By requiring women to go to one of five clinics around the state, you’ve essentially imposed the unconstitutional twenty-four waiting period and left these services available to only the women with money and time to obtain them. Because abortion is still legal and can’t be feasibly outlawed, the state legislature of Texas has instead chosen to implement measures that give low income women undue and unnecessary hardship in exercising her legal rights.
State Senate conservatives are attempting to implement a class system for women’s reproductive healthcare with SB2. And I would almost bet you that this class system will violate the provisions of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. To make it more difficult for poor, rural women to obtain abortion services than poor women who live in a big city is a blatant violation of the equal protection clause.
My more personal problem with SB2 and bills like it is that it’s simply another concerted attack on women’s access to healthcare in the state of Texas. In the last two years the legislature has engaged in a full on assault on Planned Parenthood clinics, primarily because they provide abortion services. Funding has been slashed or entirely cut to clinics like these. As a result, they’ve taken away Planned Parenthood’s ability to provide ancillary services like preventative healthcare and birth control – tools that could be implemented in making abortion less necessary. I have a medical condition that makes me susceptible to cervical cancer. I received medical care at the Ross Street Planned Parenthood clinic through the Well Woman Program funded by the state up until the legislature cut funding. Since then I haven’t had the screenings necessary to monitor the growth of pre-cancerous cells.
So THAT is my problem with the state legislature’s involvement in women’s access to healthcare and reproductive rights. That is why I’m going to Austin tomorrow. I’m going because I don’t want men managing the affairs of my vagina. I’m going because I don’t want Ava’s access to well woman healthcare being decided on the whim of a male politician.
And if a man in Texas is going to scream at the top of his lungs for the government to stay out his gun closet, then I’m more than happy to scream equally loud from the capitol steps for the government to stay out of my vagina.