Dr. Bow Tie
In Which A Virus Has More Reproductive Rights Than A Person With A Uterus
It is an unpleasant coincidence that less than 3 weeks ago I discussed how irritatingly wrong it was to misappropriate "my body, my choice" regarding vaccine mandates and this week we see our worst fears come true regarding reproductive freedom.
This week Texas officially put into effect the most restrictive ban on abortion since prior to 1973, when Roe v. Wade secured freedom of choice for birthing people. Then, the Trump-packed conservative Supreme Court, with hardly a real deliberation from five of its justices, refused a request to block the ban and allowed it to stand (confirming all of our fears about the forced appointments of Kavanaugh and Barrett). But it's not just abortion as most people define it - it is abortion procedures. This includes the dilation & curettage procedures or dilation & evacuation procedures utilized when, through no fault of their own, the birthing person has a miscarriage (a spontaneous abortion). It bans these procedures at any time after fetal heartbeat is detected...basically any time after six weeks, which is before most people even know they are pregnant!
Here's why that's not as simple as it sounds - a "fetal heartbeat" starts as just an electrical signal moving through tissue. At six weeks, this is still a fetus and it is not compatible with life, not viable. The person in whose uterus the electrical signal is moving, though? That person is alive and potentially forced to carry a fetus to term against their will, no matter how it came to be there (and even if it is no longer viable). There are no exceptions for rape or incest - which would literally be the bare minimum of compassion. In essence, a safe and effective medical procedure is now removed from the very situations in which it is best utilized. This paragraph sounds callous, but it is also accurate.
In addition, sanctimonious private citizens are now deputized to enforce this, called to file lawsuits against anyone - ANYone - who helps a birthing person get an abortion after fetal heartbeat is detected. They can sue the doctor, the nursing staff, the person who drives the birthing person to the procedure... there is a Goddamned $10,000 bounty on anyone who helps with an abortion (if the lawsuit is successful).
In the words of Laura Kaplan, "Women are being reduced, once again, to the incubators of future generations with total responsibility but no power...It is not just abortion, but women's power to control their destinies that is at stake."
- The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service
THIS is an actual restriction on a person's rights, a person's autonomy. This is a violation of the doctor-patient relationship. This is an imposition on freedom of choice. THIS IS ABOUT CONTROL. This is unconstitutional.
And honestly, if you're gonna try to come at me with "bUt HoW iS tHiS nOt ThE sAmEaS tHe VaCcInE mAnDaTeS?!?!"...don't. This law is not the same as a public health measure protecting everyone as a group. Go back and read my post from a 8/15/21. I try to be level-headed in these posts, but this has me livid. Texas is not safe for people with uteruses. That's not hyperbole.
Back in May, when the bill first entered the Texas legislature, I wrote this, and it still stands:
The political stance of “pro-life” as touted by Republicans is purely “pro-birth” with no thought to the child that will come or its parent. If you really want to support “life”, vote for politicians who increase education funding, take active steps to reduce poverty (like a real living minimum wage), and access to contraception in all forms…who follow the science and not some “religious” talking points that have nothing to do with what Jesus taught and everything to do with oppression.