As in the Old West, Texas is having a showdown, but ironically, ‘guns’ are not involved.
It started many years ago with the landmark case of Roe v. Wade. Rooted in Texas, abortion rights became a reality, not just for the Texas woman who wanted her own reproductive rights, but for all women in the United States. From then on, choice became the new word around town. That was 1973. Fast forward to today and reproductive choice is under attack and constantly being threatened by the conservative lawmakers of the same state from where it originated in giving women a right to choose.
Since the implementation of SB5 and HB2, Republican Texas lawmaker’s are preventing access to safe, legal abortion for women of their state, especially those west of I-35 and in rural communities. It has forced the shutdown of almost all clinics in Texas, particularly west of I-35 where no access to abortion exist.
A brief timeline of reproductive freedom for women:
1970 – Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) commences a federal action against District Attorney of Dallas County, Henry Wade.
1973 – January 22, by a decision of 7-2, the Supreme Court ruled that restricting access to abortion is unconstitutional.
(20 relatively happy years)
1992 – Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, a case which upheld a woman’s right to have an abortion “prior to fetal viability,” but rejected the definition of “trimester” as written in Roe to allow for a more flexible definition of fetal viability.
2006 – November 8, Gonzales v. Carhart, which upheld a 2003 ban on partial births, even though no exception was made for a woman’s health, despite it being a well-established legal precedent. This paved the way for many of the restrictive abortion laws being created today in places like Texas.
Now, on the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, women in our “red state” are having to resort to practices similar to those women were forced to use pre-Roe v. Wade days. The undue burden women face along our border communities include traveling over 250 miles to the nearest clinic able to perform abortions, having to get through border patrol checkpoints, if they can, and in some cases being forced to self-induce. The drug commonly used and found in area flea markets is Misoprostol, which according to the warning label, must never be used when pregnant because it causes induced abortion past eight weeks. This is what women have been FORCED to do thanks to HB2 provisions not expanding Medicaid, not providing for prenatal care or childcare. The idea that many of these woman will have no other alternative other than to carry a child to term and then be ignored is unconscionable.
The truth is, as long as Texas is a “red state” with all its logic, women’s reproductive rights will remain this way. As long as Texas continues to ignore the needs of women’s health, women will die. Texas must begin the process of turning Texas blue, beginning with electing Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte. We need to continue this blue wave into 2016, 2018 and 2020. It took time to send women backwards, now it will take time to propel women forward, again.
-Christine Boswell, Intern
Travis County Democratic Party