The Texas Heartbeat Bill restricting abortions is about control (Opinion)

The Texas Heartbeat Bill, put into action on Sept. 1, 2021 by Texas legislators, sparks fear in women living in Texas who are now prohibited from receiving abortions after six weeks


Kaylyn Cartellone

As the Texas Heartbeat Bill is put into action, many problems and concerns arise about how harmful it can be towards the women it affects.

On Sept. 1, 2021, Texas legislation prohibited abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected (approximately six weeks into pregnancy). The Texas Heartbeat Bill, constructed by Governor Abbott, restricts women from obtaining an abortion after this time for any reason, even if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.

This is incredibly restricting. Most women don’t know they’re pregnant until four to seven weeks in. The first two weeks of pregnancy don’t include an embryo, it’s the last menstrual cycle the woman had. The third week is when the baby is conceived and when pregnancy tests begin working. Unless a woman is trying to get pregnant and meticulously tracking it, most don’t realize until the four week mark after they’ve missed their period. Due to irregular periods, the period tracking method isn’t a foolproof way to check for pregnancy.

Enforcing a deadline when most women don’t know they’re pregnant is unconstitutional.

This law infringes on the 1973 Roe v. Wade case where the Supreme Court acknowledged that abortion is a woman’s anatomical right. The law states that “in the first trimester of pregnancy, the state may not regulate the abortion decision; only the pregnant woman and her attending physician can make that decision”. The first trimester ends six weeks after the restriction in Texas. Additionally, “in the third trimester, once the fetus reaches the point of ‘viability’, a state may regulate abortions or prohibit them entirely, so long as the laws contain exceptions for cases when abortion is necessary to save the life or health of the mother”. The third trimester begins week 27. The Texas law has no exceptions.

During a bill signing for the law, Abbott was asked if rape and incest victims would receive a pardon. Abbott said Texas would “work tirelessly” to “eliminate all rapists”.

You’d think that Texas and everywhere else in the world would’ve thought of eradicating rape centuries ago, but apparently, it’s a new concept.

Supporters of this bill won’t look at the original issue at hand: women’s rights. Why not focus on eradicating rape AND finding justice for victims? It seems as if Abbott only cares about rape since his abortion law imposed an unethical problem, not because he’s seeking victim’s justice.

According to the CDC, 22% of abortions in 2018 took place after 10 weeks and 8% took place after 14. Late-term abortions are rare and only account for 1% of U.S. abortions. These take place if a woman develops health problems from the pregnancy and is risking death or critical injury, or if the fetus develops disabilities that stifle comfortable functionality. Many legislators like to label themselves pro-life, but then deny a woman a medical procedure that could save her life.

This law has everyday citizens report and sue people trying to obtain abortions. If someone is under suspicion for having an abortion past the deadline, citizens can take them to court and collect $10,000 if the defendant is found guilty. The disgusting part is that rapists can report their victims to Texas for getting an abortion and pocket $10,000. The law gets more preposterous since anyone assisting a woman getting an abortion can also be sued — Uber drivers, family, etc.

This law doesn’t save lives, it costs them. Maternal death rates will skyrocket since safe abortions won’t be offered, and some women will try to induce them on their own, risking death.

With control on women’s reproductive rights, future female fetuses have more rights in the womb than after being born.

Organ donors can’t be forced to donate organs, yet women are forced to carry a pregnancy without consent.

This isn’t about saving lives — it’s about control.

I understand how upsetting it can be to think about terminating a fetus, but it’s important to note that at six weeks it’s ⅛ to ¼ inches long. It doesn’t have the parts or fluids formed to maintain homeostasis outside of the womb. It’s okay to not want an abortion, but weaponizing beliefs to control others isn’t acceptable.

The Texas bill is an example of why men shouldn’t pass laws about women’s reproductive rights: they’ll never have to live through the hardships of pregnancy and won’t have to decide if an abortion is beneficial for them. What a woman does with her body is between her and her doctor, not the state of Texas and nosey citizens looking to pocket $10,000.