LMU's Women in Politics argues Texas' abortion ban jeopardizes reproductive rights

Texas's new abortion law raises questions about a more widespread political control of people who can get pregnant, drawing parallels between the law and novel The Handmaid's Tale. 

A recent law passed in Texas banned most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, making it the most restrictive legislation enacted against reproductive rights. The Supreme Court refused to block the law in a 5-4 vote, despite the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade establishing a right for people to receive abortions. Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts joined the liberal justices in dissenting.

Many people may not know they are pregnant by six weeks, since menstrual cycles can be unpredictable and many people face irregular periods. Even for people with regular cycles, the law gives people around one to two weeks to decide whether or not to terminate their pregnancies, a decision that affects an individual’s physical health, mental health and financial situation.

Claire Davis, a junior political science and journalism double major and the president of LMU’s Women in Politics organization, shared her fears over the ban, saying that "being a college-aged woman and watching the abortion ban be enacted in Texas is like watching a plane crash. A plane that also has a part of your body in it. It is terrifying and it feels like there is nothing you can do.”

Sophomore political science major Caroline Baker, also the executive director of events for LMU’s Women in Politics, concurred with this assessment, sharing, “I feel disheartened by these new laws. I don’t believe that the government has any right to infringe on my personal health decisions and for laws like this to continuously be passed at the state level is concerning.”

Baker also condemned the $10,000 penalty that private citizens can collect by suing anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion. She argued, “The new Texas laws about abortion are even more disconcerting because they take things one step further and [incentivize] regular citizens to take action against [people] in need of abortions. This puts already vulnerable [people] in even more compromising positions as it allows the government to further target them as criminals.”

The law also disproportionately affects lower income and minority communities who wouldn’t be able to cross state borders for the purpose of receiving an abortion. After all, the majority of people who have abortions are people of color. As Davis explained, “This bill primarily [affects] women of color and poor women. Wealthy, adult women will be able to go across the Texas boarder and access safe abortions somewhere else. This is not only an issue of abortion, it is an issue of racial, class and gender discrimination.”

The Supreme Court’s action may open the door for more like-minded laws to be written, potentially affecting California students. For example, Larry Elder, the frontrunner in the California Gubernatorial recall race, called the Roe v. Wade decision “​​one of the worst decisions that the Supreme Court ever handed down," raising questions about a potential diminishing of reproductive rights in California.

Davis shared her fears, saying, “I am lucky enough to live in a blue state, but inequality spreads like wildfire, and I’m afraid of what happens next. Until all [people] are given the rights to their own bodies, gender equality is nonexistent. In one moment, a room full of male politicians could claim a part of who I am... it’s disgusting.”

(2) comments

Ronald Slater

When will liberals realize that they can't do the whole "girl power" thing anymore? That's gone. Sorry. You ruled it out. If gender is a social construct, a man can be a woman and a woman can be a man, then taking pride in your biological sex is incoherent.

+

PRO-ABORTION ARGUMENT #1: YOU CANNOT OPPOSE ABORTION UNLESS YOU’RE WILLING TO ADOPT THE UNWANTED BABIES.

A great many pro-lifers do indeed adopt "unwanted" babies, but none of us can adopt all of them and some of us can't adopt any. The fact that we are people of limited resources does not prove that we are hypocrites. And even if it did, that in itself wouldn't prove that our position is flawed. This argument fails even if it succeeds in establishing what it endeavors to establish, which it doesn't.

If we can only oppose the murder of those we are able and willing to personally care for and subsidize, that would mean we cannot oppose the murder of almost anyone in the world. There are seven billion people on Earth. I can only feed and clothe a vanishingly small percentage of them. Does that mean I should remain silent about genocides and school shootings? I try to give to the homeless when I can, but I'm not opening my door and inviting any of them to come sleep in my guest room. Neither are you. Yet we would both oppose the systematic execution of the homeless. Does that make us hypocrites? Does it mean that our anti-murdering the homeless position is somehow faulty? Of course not.

PRO-ABORTION ARGUMENT #2: NO UTERUS, NO OPINION..

Leftists can't make this argument anymore due to their conviction that the possession of a uterus has nothing at all to do with a person's gender. It's probably for the best, anyway. Abortion is a moral and legal issue. We use our brains to sort through those, not our reproductive organs. "No brain, no opinion" should be the motto. But I'm afraid that might rule out a large portion of the pro-abortion side.

PRO-ABORTION ARGUMENT #3: . A WOMAN CANNOT BE FORCED TO REPRODUCE.

I actually agree with this statement. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with the subject at hand. A woman does not "reproduce" when she gives birth in the hospital. Reproduction occurs at conception. Every woman who has ever gotten an abortion has gotten it after reproduction already occurred. The question isn't: "Should women be required to reproduce?" Rather, the question is: "Should a woman be allowed to purposefully kill that which has already been produced?"

PRO-ABORTION ARGUMENT #4: PRO-LIFERS JUST WANT TO CONTROL WOMEN’S BODIES.

The body directly in dispute is not the woman's. It's true that the woman uses her body to sustain the child's body, but that's just as much the case after birth as it is before. I use my body now to care for my children. I use my body to feed them, clothe them, provide for them, house them, discipline them. Everything I do for my kids, I do with my body. I am incapable of doing anything without the integral involvement of my body. I am my body, after all. What's more, the law requires me to use my body to do those things. I am not allowed to claim bodily autonomy and cease all parental activities. My body and I would go to jail if I decided that I was no longer going to use my body to do anything for my children. Does that mean that the laws against neglect and endangerment "control my body"? Only in a very weird and indirect sense. At any rate, the point of the laws certainly isn't to control me — the point is to protect children.

PRO-ABORTION ARGUMENT #5: PRO-LIFERS ARE ONLY PRO-BIRTH. THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT CHILDREN AFTER THEY’RE BORN.

Irrelevant even if was true. But it isn't. Our whole point is that there is no difference between a baby inside the womb and a baby outside of it.

We cherish them both. If we didn't care about babies outside of the womb, then we wouldn't be constantly insisting that a child inside the womb is just like a child outside the womb. Follow the logic: a child inside the womb is like a child outside the womb therefore the child inside the womb should be treated with value and dignity. This line of reasoning clearly indicates that we think children outside of the womb have value and dignity.

Also, pro-lifers are exceedingly charitable. We give to people in need all the time. You have no data whatsoever to dispute this point, so this argument is not only irrelevant and stupid but fabricated out of thin air.

PRO-ABORTION ARGUMENT #6 HE PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT IS JUST A BUNCH OF MEN BOSSING WOMEN AROUND.

Once again we have an argument that could be completely accurate and it would still do nothing to discredit our case. Either the pro-life position is wrong or it's right. If it's right, it would still be right if men were the only ones arguing for it. But men are not the only ones. Far from it. The pro-life movement is run predominately by women and in large part comprised of women. It's mostly women working at pregnancy centers. It's mostly women at the March For Life. It's mostly women praying outside of abortion clinics. Besides, men pass pro-abortion laws, too. Men decided Roe v. Wade. Why don't pro-aborts ever complain about that?

PRO-ABORTION ARGUMENT #7: WOMEN HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE.

"The right to choose" is a concept without meaning or content. Your right to make a choice depends entirely on the nature of the choice. Physically, you can choose to do pretty much anything you want within the laws of physics. Legally, there are hundreds upon hundreds of things that you cannot choose. You cannot choose arson or rape or theft or tax evasion or burglary or vandalism. You cannot choose murder, either, unless your victim has committed the crime of being conceived in the wrong womb.

When someone insists that women "have the right to choose," they mean it in an exceedingly limited sense. They mean, specifically, that a woman has the right to choose to end the life of her child before the child emerges from the birth canal. But if such a choice is defensible and ethical, it's not defensible and ethical just because it's a choice. The question with abortion is not whether a woman can choose but whether an unborn human has a moral claim to existence and personhood. If he does not, then a woman can choose abortion. If he does, then the choice of abortion belongs to the same category as the choice of murder or child molestation.

You'll notice that gun rights advocates never insist that they have "the right to shoot." They have the right to bear arms but their right to discharge those arms depends quite significantly on why the arms are being discharged, and in what context, and at what target. Choices are like that. Your right to choose is contingent, not absolute. So to defend a choice on the basis that it is a choice is very stupid. All of these arguments are very stupid. But the pro-abortion side doesn't have any other sort of argument at its disposal.

Ronald Slater

When will liberals realize that they can't do the whole "girl power" thing anymore? That's gone. Sorry. You ruled it out. If gender is a social construct, a man can be a woman and a woman can be a man, then taking pride in your biological sex is incoherent.

+

1. You can't be against abortion unless you're willing to adopt the unwanted babies.

A great many pro-lifers do indeed adopt "unwanted" babies, but none of us can adopt all of them and some of us can't adopt any. The fact that we are people of limited resources does not prove that we are hypocrites. And even if it did, that in itself wouldn't prove that our position is flawed. This argument fails even if it succeeds in establishing what it endeavors to establish, which it doesn't.

If we can only oppose the murder of those we are able and willing to personally care for and subsidize, that would mean we cannot oppose the murder of almost anyone in the world. There are seven billion people on Earth. I can only feed and clothe a vanishingly small percentage of them. Does that mean I should remain silent about genocides and school shootings? I try to give to the homeless when I can, but I'm not opening my door and inviting any of them to come sleep in my guest room. Neither are you. Yet we would both oppose the systematic execution of the homeless. Does that make us hypocrites? Does it mean that our anti-murdering the homeless position is somehow faulty? Of course not.

6. No uterus, no opinion.

Leftists can't make this argument anymore due to their conviction that the possession of a uterus has nothing at all to do with a person's gender. It's probably for the best, anyway. Abortion is a moral and legal issue. We use our brains to sort through those, not our reproductive organs. "No brain, no opinion" should be the motto. But I'm afraid that might rule out a large portion of the pro-abortion side.

5. A woman cannot be forced to reproduce.

I actually agree with this statement. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with the subject at hand. A woman does not "reproduce" when she gives birth in the hospital. Reproduction occurs at conception. Every woman who has ever gotten an abortion has gotten it after reproduction already occurred. The question isn't: "Should women be required to reproduce?" Rather, the question is: "Should a woman be allowed to purposefully kill that which has already been produced?"

4. Pro-lifers want to control women's bodies.

The body directly in dispute is not the woman's. It's true that the woman uses her body to sustain the child's body, but that's just as much the case after birth as it is before. I use my body now to care for my children. I use my body to feed them, clothe them, provide for them, house them, discipline them. Everything I do for my kids, I do with my body. I am incapable of doing anything without the integral involvement of my body. I am my body, after all. What's more, the law requires me to use my body to do those things. I am not allowed to claim bodily autonomy and cease all parental activities. My body and I would go to jail if I decided that I was no longer going to use my body to do anything for my children. Does that mean that the laws against neglect and endangerment "control my body"? Only in a very weird and indirect sense. At any rate, the point of the laws certainly isn't to control me — the point is to protect children.

3) Pro-lifers are only pro-birth. They don't care about children after they're born.

Irrelevant even if was true. But it isn't. Our whole point is that there is no difference between a baby inside the womb and a baby outside of it.

We cherish them both. If we didn't care about babies outside of the womb, then we wouldn't be constantly insisting that a child inside the womb is just like a child outside the womb. Follow the logic: a child inside the womb is like a child outside the womb therefore the child inside the womb should be treated with value and dignity. This line of reasoning clearly indicates that we think children outside of the womb have value and dignity.

Also, pro-lifers are exceedingly charitable. We give to people in need all the time. You have no data whatsoever to dispute this point, so this argument is not only irrelevant and stupid but fabricated out of thin air.

2) The pro-life movement is just a bunch of men bossing women around.

Once again we have an argument that could be completely accurate and it would still do nothing to discredit our case. Either the pro-life position is wrong or it's right. If it's right, it would still be right if men were the only ones arguing for it. But men are not the only ones. Far from it. The pro-life movement is run predominately by women and in large part comprised of women. It's mostly women working at pregnancy centers. It's mostly women at the March For Life. It's mostly women praying outside of abortion clinics. Besides, men pass pro-abortion laws, too. Men decided Roe v. Wade. Why don't pro-aborts ever complain about that?

1) Women have the right to choose.

"The right to choose" is a concept without meaning or content. Your right to make a choice depends entirely on the nature of the choice. Physically, you can choose to do pretty much anything you want within the laws of physics. Legally, there are hundreds upon hundreds of things that you cannot choose. You cannot choose arson or rape or theft or tax evasion or burglary or vandalism. You cannot choose murder, either, unless your victim has committed the crime of being conceived in the wrong womb.

When someone insists that women "have the right to choose," they mean it in an exceedingly limited sense. They mean, specifically, that a woman has the right to choose to end the life of her child before the child emerges from the birth canal. But if such a choice is defensible and ethical, it's not defensible and ethical just because it's a choice. The question with abortion is not whether a woman can choose but whether an unborn human has a moral claim to existence and personhood. If he does not, then a woman can choose abortion. If he does, then the choice of abortion belongs to the same category as the choice of murder or child molestation.

You'll notice that gun rights advocates never insist that they have "the right to shoot." They have the right to bear arms but their right to discharge those arms depends quite significantly on why the arms are being discharged, and in what context, and at what target. Choices are like that. Your right to choose is contingent, not absolute. So to defend a choice on the basis that it is a choice is very stupid. All of these arguments are very stupid. But the pro-abortion side doesn't have any other sort of argument at its disposal.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.