Monday, December 5, 2022

Editorial: Abortion bans attack autonomy

The access to safe abortions is becoming more restricted, as Texas, Idaho, and Tennessee began to enforce “trigger laws” August 25. 

As Roe v. Wade was struck down June 24, after the Supreme Court overturned the almost 50-year-old constitutional right to abortion, more and more states began to introduce trigger laws and bans to put restrictions on those who wish to have the procedure — as these are legislations that had already been passed by more conservative state governments, in the event Roe v. Wade was overturned. 

It is unfortunate that those who have had to endure domestic violence situations, assault and rape will now be forced to keep a child they may not have intended to have in the first place. For states like Tennessee, one of these six-week trigger laws prohibit abortion, with no exceptions for rape or incest, according to the New York Times. Under both the ban and laws, the only point where a person conceiving may have the procedure is if having the child causes death or injury. 

In a similar case, Idaho also is prohibiting all abortions, except in the case of those carrying’s death. It is different from Tennessee though, but not by much. In the sense that in the case of rape and incest, unless reported to the authorities, a women still cannot have the procedure. The option of using the report as an outlet isn’t that great, because most of these cases often go unreported, after a person has experienced a traumatic experience and does not want to continue reliving that trauma. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, about seven of 10 sexual assaults go unreported. And the younger a person is, the more pregnancy-related risk someone will have to go through. 

According to USA Today, The National Center for Health Statistics reported, “A study in 2020 found the median age for the start of menstruation has fallen from 12.1 in 1995 to 11.9 in 2013-2017.” In the cases of incest or molestation, young children may be often targeted at the age of puberty. No child at that age can possibly make that choice to carry a child, but they won’t have one. 

The Justice Department also argued that the trigger law prevents doctors from dealing with medical emergencies, such as performing abortions to those who may be in dire condition. Doctors in Idaho will still be able to do the procedure in an act to protect those carrying it, however, and will not be punished under the Biden Administration’s blocking of the provision. 

The problem with these “trigger laws” are if states have provisions in their legislation that allows a doctor to perform an abortion in a medical emergency, it is hard to determine whether or not there is one, or to the extent where a doctor will not be punished. Therefore, doctors may be hesitant to offer the procedure at all, putting a woman’s health at serious risk. But also, putting themselves at risk for serious prosecution. 

There’s no winning under any of these laws. It does not give freedom. It does not give Americans a voice. And it is taking away basic human rights — the right to control what happens to one’s body. 

And in the worst case of taking away that right, the Texas Supreme Court is not holding back whatsoever, ruling over a month ago that upholding an abortion law from nearly a hundred years ago was the right decision. The 1925 law is similar to one of Tennessee’s trigger bans, with no exceptions for rape or incest. And under the new trigger law, the penalty is far greater than the $10,000 fine introduced last year, regarding helping a person obtain the procedure. Now, anyone who attempts to provide or actually performs the procedure will face $100,000 at least in legal charges and a felony charge. 

As bleak as it sounds, the uncertain future of these laws is unwarranted and puts a strain on those who want to be sexually active with consent. Even being safely active does not mean that one can not get pregnant. That may not be something they want, not every situation is the same, and as contraception access is being questioned in other states, it’s a scary time for individuals who are just trying to live their lives and express their freedom.

The morality of these laws continues to decrease. And if state governments want those to not have the right to choose to carry a child to a 9-month term, state governments need to pose the question: What kind of future are we creating for all those children?

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