The A word: Let’s talk about abortion

‘Instead of pro-life and pro-choice, let’s try to be pro-voice and listen to each other’

In what seems to be a reversal of the historic Supreme Court case of Roe v Wade, Texas recently passed a new law entitled the Texas Omnibus Abortion Bill, known as HB 2. This bill states that all abortions (surgical or done with pill) must be done in ambulatory surgical rooms, which are essentially mini-hospitals.

Texas argues that HB 2 protects the safety of women, but nearly all of the medical research stands to contradict the statement. By requiring that all abortion clinics operate as full emergency care centers, Texas is limiting the number of places where women can get safe abortions within their first trimester.

The constitutionality of HB 2 is currently being debated by the Supreme Court. On March 3rd, Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller took to the stand to defend the bill. He was instantly questioned by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who pointed out the discrepancy in Keller’s plan.

He suggested that women drive to clinics in New Mexico to have abortions, which logically makes no sense. If it is okay for Texan women to have an abortion in clinics in New Mexico (which do not comply with HB 2 standards) then how is it unsafe for them to have the same procedure in Texas?

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

This brings up another important point: If Texas succeeds in its efforts to ban abortion within the state, it chances promoting risky personal behavior in women. Banning the means to a safe abortion will not stop abortion, as much as HB 2 proponents would like. This concept is demonstrated (on a much smaller scale) with underage alcohol usage.

The legal drinking age in the US is 21, however that law does not deter many minors. If anything, it can be argued that the underage college demographic drinks more than college students who are 21 and older.

For abortion the case is much different but the logic still stands: trying to stop abortion within Texas does not mean Texan women will not have abortions. It simply means that women will go out of state to have the procedure or, in cases where travel is not an option, they will have the procedure under illegal and risky methods.

As Texans, we cannot pride ourselves on our freedoms if we pass a law that wipes out a large part of women’s rights. All HB 2 does is further isolate us and fail to make any real impact in women’s healthcare and on the abortion front. We cannot continue to hide under our labels of what morality means any longer. It is impossible to argue why certain morals are better than others and rehashing that conversation will get us nowhere.

So let’s stop shouting our views and try to understand the other side without making assumptions. Insulting each other does not get us anywhere and really only perpetuates negative feelings. Instead of pro-life and pro-choice, let’s try to be pro-voice and listen to each other.

I propose that we start the conversation about abortion at UT now, just because something is uncomfortable to talk about that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

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