Texas: The State of Contradiction

4 min read

Katie Cerulle ’22

Features Editor

As many of you have seen in the news over the past few days, Texas just instated one of the most restrictive bans on abortion in history. The new law went into effect on Sept. 1, stating that after just six weeks of pregnancy, women will not be allowed to get an abortion. Despite the fact that this clearly defies the core principle of Roe v. Wade, allowing women to get an abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, the Supreme Court, a 6-3 conservative majority, did not respond to the emergency request filed by abortion providers to block the law (as of Wednesday, Sept. 2). Not only does this law restrict the timeframe that a woman can get an abortion, but also allows private citizens, anywhere in the country, to bring civil lawsuits against a pregnant person who violates this law. This can include someone transporting a woman to a clinic, someone paying for the treatment, etc.

Over the past week that these laws went into effect, the rise in coronavirus deaths in Texas went up by 38%, one of the highest in the country. The rolling average of daily new deaths per 100,000 is .86, also one of the highest in the country. Despite their high death rate, more than half of the Texas population remains unvaccinated, as there are no mandates currently required by the Texas legislature for vaccines or masks. 

Texas legislation has made it abundantly evident throughout the pandemic that they do not want to be controlled or dictated by government enforced regulations. For example, as many children return to school, the state government is consumed over whether or not to mandate masks for students. Governor Greg Abbott placed an executive order prohibiting district leaders to require face coverings, stating specifically about children in schools that, “Kids will not be forced by government or by schools to wear masks in school.” Many lawmakers have posed bills that refute this, requesting that local trustees set their own policies on mask usage. Because the legislation is still in limbo, these students will return to school unmasked, and with the new variant, they are significantly more likely to contract the virus. This puts them and their families at risk of lifelong side effects and, potentially death. 

Lawmakers and many members of the population continue to highlight their disdain for being told what to do with their bodies by the government. I, too, see the contradiction here. These people refuse to mandate masks, even though many people continue to die from the virus. Yet, these same people are not allowing women to have a choice over their bodies. 

In my opinion, if these people really cared about the lives of children, they could make laws surrounding the improvement of the foster care system. Or, they could give money to the education system, which continues to exacerbate poverty and generational wealth among children. Working to equate the levels of education surely would improve millions of lives daily. But they don’t do that, which makes it hard to believe that they really are considering the lives of children in this circumstance.

While I do find these things to be extremely problematic with the new Texas law, what I really find troubling is how dehumanizing these legislations make this situation. Even though millions of women make the decision to get an abortion, that doesn’t mean it was painless. Even in the best of circumstances, there are obstacles. The logistics, how to physically arrive at the clinic. Economically, this procedure can range between $700 and $1600 or more depending on healthcare, clinic, or the stage of pregnancy. The emotional, there is still lasting trauma and grief that comes with this procedure. The social, who to tell, who will accept the decision, who won’t. These are just the beginning, and these lawmakers, mostly male, might I add, think they have the right to make this decision harder, to limit the options and take away this choice from a woman.  They are not protecting lives, they are creating hardship for millions of women. 

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