By: Madison Duke
Like many others all across the globe, today, I woke up as a 15-year-old girl, on the brink of becoming a young woman. As most do, I picked up my phone while lying in bed, and the first notification that I received was from Apple News. But, unfortunately, there were a series of titles that immediately put an end to my joyous morning.
I would not be paid the same amount as men. In certain states, I would not have the liberty of making choices for my own body. I would not be free and equal, no matter where I tried to escape to.
I had hoped, prayed, dreamed; you name it, that in 2021, the world would have progressed, and these issues would no longer linger. That I, too, would be considered equal to my male counterparts. The sad reality is that many individuals were also wishing for the same, only to be utterly disappointed.
Currently, in Texas, United States, there has been a significant rise in conflict amongst public citizens and the government. Masses of people have protested against the Heartbeat Bill issued by Greg Abott, which states that once a fetal heartbeat has been identified, abortion is no longer permitted. Even in extreme cases, such as incest or rape, it is instructed that the woman must have the child and will not have the liberty of having an abortion, leaving her with no choice of her own body. What we’re essentially seeing is a man making a life-changing decision for a woman. Texas also has a strange case where any state citizen can sue the mother and doctor who has helped abort a fetus. The only exception to this is if the female requires emergency medical attention. This means that a rapist could wound up suing the person they raped for aborting a fetus. Doesn’t this sound even the slightest bit twisted?
According to the Texas Tribune in 2019, there were 56,600 abortions issued that year. Tens of thousands of people chose their health and future when making these decisions. However, this new legislation will be leaving thousands of women in 2021 out in the cold to face the difficulties of this law. The Heartbeat Bill takes effect on September 1st, prompting many protesters to come together in front of the Texas Capitol to challenge the government against this arcane abortion legislation.
This social issue was the inspiration for a senior high school student named Paxton Smith, who recently attracted the media’s attention when she used her platform as valedictorian to help bring awareness to an issue within her state. She spoke against the abortion law, explaining how many women will be unable pursue their dreams, careers and proceed with their future should this legislation come into play. That many women will not be able to have control over their bodies and make their own decisions. Smith has gained the praise of many leaders and influencers globally, and is an example of just one of the many women encouraging change for women to have control over their bodies. It is inspiring that such a young person has the conviction to stand against institutionalized inequities!
Under such laws, many women will be forced to provide for their newly born child under harsh and difficult circumstances. According to Market Watch, 75% of women who seek abortions are financially limited and are usually on the lower end of the income scale. Statistics show that the majority of women that are unable to have an abortion will be living in poverty only a couple of years later. Many mothers and their children would be living a low quality of life, stripped of the basic needs and resources to raise a family. These women describe the situation as being a difficult stage through their life, and, as a result, were unable to care and provide for that child – such is often their choice and reasoning behind the abortion. Instead of continuing the path of inevitable poverty and desperation, they choose a more positive direction. Furthermore, a dangerous side effect of being refused an abortion is that, in desperation, women resort to performing abortions on themselves, leading to tragic outcomes.
As has been widely reported on popular news sites, famous artist and icon Britney Spears has recently spoken out against how she cannot make her own life decisions and how her lifestyle is controlled due to her being under conservatorship. Instead, she must live under the influence and decisions of one of her family members. In an attempt to challenge this, She expressed to the court that she wants to have another child but is not allowed to have her IUD removed and see a doctor. There has been no past diagnosis stating she is not fit to provide for a child. What we see happening here is a complete disregard for equal social standing – women being stripped of their fundamental rights.
Modern medicine aims to provide for, care, and ensure safety, but it continues to be blended with politics and public opinion for women. The individuals with control over expectations don’t understand what it’s like to be in this position and what these women must face taking care of a child. By some strange happening, they are the ones making decisions and self-interested laws. Unfortunately, globally many women are still unable to make choices regarding their bodies and must oblige to the rules created by biased lawmakers. The result is that women globally are forced to risk their wants and needs to have a happy lifestyle and ensure a better life for their children. This must change.
Najmabadi, Shannon. “Gov. Greg Abbott Signs into Law One of Nation’s Strictest Abortion Measures, Banning Procedure as Early as Six Weeks into a Pregnancy.” The Texas Tribune, The Texas Tribune, 19 May 2021, www.texastribune.org/2021/05/18/texas-heartbeat-bill-abortions-law/.
Goodyear, Sheena. “Texas Valedictorian Ditches Approved Speech to Speak out against New Abortion Law | CBC Radio.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 4 June 2021, www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-the-thursday-edition-1.6052142/texas-valedictorian-ditches-approved-speech-to-speak-out-against-new-abortion-law-1.6052144.
Greene Foster , Diana. “When Women Are Denied an Abortion, Their Children Fare Worse than Peers.” STAT, 21 Jan. 2020, www.statnews.com/2018/12/05/how-abortion-denial-affects-children-well-being/.
Jagannathan, Meera. “Nearly Half of Women Who Have Abortions Live below the Federal Poverty Level.” MarketWatch, MarketWatch, 4 Oct. 2019, www.marketwatch.com/story/nearly-half-of-women-who-have-abortions-live-below-in-the-federal-poverty-level-2019-05-17.
“’I Just Want My Life Back’: Britney Spears Makes Rare Public Remarks in Conservatorship Hearing | CBC News.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 24 June 2021, www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/britney-spears-address-court-1.6077058.