Opinion: What the Texas Abortion Ban Means to Me

NOT ONLY IN TEXAS. Malaina Vaden (12, left), Abby Clinton (11, center) and Emerson Guthrie (11, right) pose at the September 9 protest against the Texas abortion ban, Senate Bill 8, at Santa Rosa High School. Clinton said that protesting was important to her because “an attack on women anywhere is an attack on women everywhere.” An hour after Santa Rosa High School’s protest concluded, The United States Department of Justice announced via Twitter a suit against Senate Bill 8. Photo by Isabella Damberger-Sheldon.

Article by Molly Murphey

At Santa Rosa High School’s first Amnesty International Club meeting, presidents Isabella Damberger-Sheldon and Zohar Kennard, both seniors, opened up the floor for club members to discuss human rights issues that were of particular interest to them. Senior Emma Meiners raised her hand and said “Well Texas just banned abortion.” It seemed that everyone in the room knew about the law, which went into effect the day of the meeting, but me.  

By the end of the day, through posts on Instagram, radio talk shows and my friends’ frustration, I began to understand what everyone was so angry about. I was angry too. Texas Senate Bill 8, which bans abortions after six weeks in Texas, represents an attack on women’s reproductive rights, bodily autonomy and safety.

Also concerning is the number of states poised to follow Texas’ lead and the Supreme Court’s refusal to block the law although it violates the constitutional right to privacy in a woman’s decision to have an abortion as affirmed in Roe v Wade. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization specializing in reproductive rights, in this year alone, anti-abortion laws enacted have included a “near-total ban on abortion in Oklahoma, six-week abortion bans in Idaho and Oklahoma, a 20-week ban in Montana, and a ban on abortion for non-lethal genetic anomalies in Arizona.”

This is why the Texas Abortion ban is so important to me: I, along with women everywhere, am facing a future in which I wouldn’t feel safe in Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho, Montana, Arizona and who knows where else? I’m really scared. Texas proved that they do not prioritize the rights, health, or safety of women. 

What will happen if I’m offered a job in one of the eleven states that intend to put similar abortion bans into effect? What if I have to travel there for work? On a less hypothetical note, I will no longer be applying to any schools in Texas because I can’t imagine four years in a state where I know that the law doesn’t have my back. 

We don’t need to worry, though. I’m not going to get raped. You’re not going to have an unwanted pregnancy. You aren’t going to get anyone pregnant. That won’t happen, right? I can’t take the chance. Can you?

Abby Clinton, a junior, participated in an on-campus protest against the Texas abortion ban on September 9. She explained why pushing back against the abortion ban is important to her, saying “I, and every other woman, should never have to fear that we’ll have no control over our bodies. It’s our bodies, so it’s our choice on what we do with them. Men don’t understand the mental strain that pregnancy has on someone, especially when said pregnancy is unintended or unwanted.”

Women’s rights aren’t the only ones under fire in Texas. According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2021 alone, Texas considered twenty-one anti-LGBTQ bills including “SB 1646 which would classify gender-affirming care as child abuse — which can be classified as a felony with corresponding jail time,” and bills that allow discrimination using first amendment freedom of religion arguments. According to the New York Times, Texas has also proposed plans to wash their history curriculum of information about “slavery and campaigns of anti-Mexican violence.” 

Protesting in overwhelmingly Liberal areas like Sonoma County can feel pointless. Here, something as severe as an abortion ban seems more like dystopian fiction than a feasible reality— like something that happens in the other America. Here’s my question: If we are not willing to stand against abuses in other parts of our country and the world, who will stand for us?

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