The Texas Abortion Law Isn’t An Attack on Women. It Protects Women.
On September 1, the nation’s most restrictive abortion law went into effect after the Supreme Court upheld the law in a 5-4 vote. Subsequently, media outlets were flooded with opinions and legal analyses of a law that prevents a woman from having an abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Abortion advocates decried the ruling and law with a common objection: this is an attack on women, an attack on their “right” to bodily autonomy through abortion access. However, this objection falls flat when faced with the reality that abortion hurts women.
The first issue that needs to be dealt with is the idea that the body of an unborn child is not separate from a woman’s body. The trademark phrase “My body, my choice” was seen in the countless protests that followed the ruling on S.B. 8 in Texas. However, the idea that an unborn child’s body and their mother’s body are the same is a scientifically inaccurate statement. One of the main components of a body is DNA. At the moment of conception, an unborn child has a unique genetic code, differentiating the unborn child’s body from the mother’s body.1
Scientific accuracy aside, the logic of “My body, my choice” is faulty when it comes to the question of what it means to protect women. The logical end of the “my body, my choice” sentiment is “your body, your problem.” There is no sense of care or community for the woman suffering the emotional and physical turmoil of abortion when the phrase “my body, my choice” is used. Indeed, there is no care or sense of community for women from the abortion industry. On the eve of the day the Texas law went into effect, abortionists across the country raced against the clock to perform as many abortions as possible2–treating women and the act of abortion recklessly and with little care. Abortion advocates also consistently ignore the immense risks associated with abortions of all kinds. For example, the Women’s March recently discouraged women from using coat-hanger imagery at marches as not to “accidentally reinforce the right-wing talking points that self-managed abortions are dangerous, scary and harmful.”3 Self-administered abortions refer to chemical abortions in which a woman is given either mifepristone or misoprostol. The woman takes the first dose at an abortion facility and the second one 24 to 48 hours later, at home.4 When the effects of the abortion medication take effect, the woman is under no doctor supervision despite the very serious risks and side-effects that occur–including hemorrhaging, severe abdominal pain, and life-threatening infections.5 As Live Action notes in their investigative report on the abortion pill, “the bare minimum supervision of these lethal pills vanishes, and each woman must fill the roles of doctor, prescriber, counselor, and patient. She must also figure out, amid“white knuckle pain” how much bleeding is too much bleeding, and whether or not she has tissue left inside. There will be no one to help her.”6 The FDA has received reports of 24 deaths and 4,000 reports of adverse effects associated with the abortion pill. However, the number is probably much higher due to the existence of the black market for abortion pills.7
This shows that the Women’s March and the abortion industry’s claim that self-administered abortions are safe is deceiving and puts the women at risk. If abortion advocates are concerned about a woman’s body, they should not advocate for abortion, as the risks and side-effects of abortion are deeply harmful. When it comes down to it, it is the pro-life movement that shows more concern for a woman’s body by recognizing the traumatizing effects of abortion that abortion advocates consistently ignore.
Another traumatic reality of abortion that abortion advocates ignore is post-abortion side effects. By ignoring the traumatic realities of abortion, abortion advocates fail to protect women from the side effects of abortion that continue afterward. About one in five women will experience direct complications from abortion. In addition, “a possible link between abortion and breast cancer has been raised because abortion is thought to interrupt the normal cycle of hormones during pregnancy.”8 Abortion advocates bring up how most women don’t know that they are pregnant before the window to have an abortion under the Texas law has passed. Given the reality of the side-effects of abortion, significantly decreasing the number of abortions and therefore the number of women who will suffer from its traumatic effects should be viewed as a positive. Instances of medical malpractice are also rampant within the abortion industry. Many Attorney Generals throughout the United States refuse to enforce the lawful protections put in place to protect women who find themselves victims of negligent abortionists. Under Roe v. Wade, abortionists have special legal protections that make prosecuting them almost impossible when malpractice occurs. Adam Macleod explained these protections in a piece at National Review:
“The Court’s abortion precedents immunize abortionists from basic legal accountability such as general medical regulations, professional oversight, common-law protections for bodily integrity, and other laws that would protect women and children from harm and which apply to all other medical professionals.”9
Critics of the Texas abortion law complain that the law creates everyday citizens into abortion vigilantes, spreading the false narrative that women who seek abortion will face legal repercussions. This is untrue as the only people who can be held legally responsible under the Texas abortion law are abortionists and others who aid in procuring the abortion, as laid out in Section 171.208:
“(a) Any person, other than an officer or employee of a state or local governmental entity in this state, may bring a civil action against any person who: (1) performs or induces an abortion in violation of this subchapter; (2) knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of an abortion through insurance or otherwise, if the abortion is performed or induced in violation of this subchapter, regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion would be performed or induced in violation of this subchapter; or (3) intends to engage in the conduct described by Subdivision (1) or (2).”10
In reality, the law is simply creating a solution to the problem of law enforcement not enforcing laws that protect women.
Abortion advocates argue that the Texas abortion law is a form of controlling women and does not offer solutions to the things that cause abortion. However, pro-life pregnancy centers and organizations offer a plethora of supports for pregnant mothers in crisis, including counseling, baby supplies, scholarships, and maternal healthcare––services that Planned Parenthood offers in extremely limited quantities.11 Abortions account for 96% of Planned Parenthood services for pregnant women.12 According to their own statistics, Planned Parenthood commits 81 abortions for every adoption referral and 35 abortions for every prenatal service provided.13 Since 2010, Planned Parenthood’s prenatal services have dropped 68%.14
Women who face pregnancy crises must be supported financially, mentally, and physically. The pro-life movement strives to do that, and the Texas abortion law strives to protect these women from the trauma of abortion and save the life of an unborn child. While there is ample room for support networks for women in pregnancy crisis to grow, potentially with federal assistance, promoting abortion will never be the path to get there. Pro-life advocates often evoke the famous phrase from the Declaration of Independence that reads, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Both pro-lifers and pro-choicers in the wake of the Texas abortion law have the opportunity to come together to ask, “How can we support the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for both the woman and the child, before, during, and after birth?”
1 “Early Fetal Development.” American Pregnancy Association, July 20, 2021. https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/early-fetal-development/.
2 Carrazana, Chabeli. “67 Abortions in 17 Hours: Inside a Texas Clinic’s Race to Beat New Six-Week Abortion Ban.” The 19th, September 2, 2021. https://19thnews.org/2021/09/abortion-texas-whole-womans-clinic/.
3 Severi, Misty. “Women’s March Discourages ‘Handmaids Tale’ Outfits and Coat Hanger Imagery That ‘Erases’ Minorities.” Washington Examiner, September 28, 2021. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/womens-march-bans-handmaids-tale-coat-hanger-imagery-erases-minorities.
4 Gotter, Ana. “Abortion Pill: What Is a Medical Abortion?” Healthline. Healthline Media, December 17, 2016. https://www.healthline.com/health/abortion-pill.
5 “Abortion Pill Exposed.” Live Action. Live Action, July 2020. https://www.liveaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/abortion_pill_report_final.pdf.
6 Ibid., 43
7 Ibid., 20
8 “Abortion and Cancer Risk.” American Cancer Society. Accessed October 8, 2021. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/medical-treatments/abortion-and-breast-cancer-risk.html.
9 MacLeod, Adam J. “Roe v. Wade Granted Special Privileges to Abortionists.” National Review. National Review, August 26, 2021. https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/08/roe-v-wade-granted-special-privileges-to-abortionists/.
10 “Texas SB8: 2021-2022: 87th Legislature.” LegiScan. https://legiscan.com/TX/text/SB8/id/2395961.
11 “Why We Don’t Need Planned Parenthood.” Students for Life, April 14, 2020. https://studentsforlife.org/why-we-dont-need-planned-parenthood/.