Leave reproductive health out of the law

Avery Wickersham (TheLorian)

The past few years have boasted laws that have affected many different groups across the United States, but Sept. 21, 2021, marked an infamous day that sent America backward in time.

Texas’ abortion law went into effect on Sept. 21, blocking abortions as early as six weeks. It’s fairly common knowledge that many birthers don’t know they’re even pregnant at six weeks. For this article, I want to establish that “birther” is the term to include everyone who can give birth to a child: women, members of the transgender community, and members of the non-binary community, to give specifics.

Another notable part of the abortion bill is that, according to NPR, “It allows private citizens to bring civil suits against anyone who helps a woman get an abortion and to collect at least $10,000 in damages if they prevail in court.”

This can be perceived as nothing less than a “man-hunt,” for lack of a better term. This leads to the ultimate question: where should the line be drawn in laws for reproductive rights?

In my opinion, reproductive rights don’t belong in government. I understand the argument and the want for regulation, but many of these views are based on religious purposes. These views often negate scientific facts about birth: when conception starts, what a fetus is, what a baby is—these arguments often go ‘round and around with accompanying screaming matches.

I argue to keep reproductive rights out of the laws, especially in light of the Texas abortion bill. This bill has set a dangerous precedent for the government to control birthing people. In Oklahoma, “Indigenous woman Brittney Poolaw was sentenced to four years in a state prison by Comanche County Courthouse this month for a miscarriage she suffered last year” (Independent).

This is taking the Texas abortion ban a step further, as this case reflects the government trying to regulate something that happens to many women within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. A miscarriage happens when the fetus isn’t developing as fast or on the same track as others (Mayo Clinic). Prosecutors tried to blame drugs for the miscarriage, but the coroner noted that it wasn’t a reason for her miscarriage. The problem with criminalizing Poolaw’s habits is that every habit by pregnant women can be scrutinized. This can lead to more cases just like Poolaw’s: more birthers incarcerated for something nearly impossible to control.

Ultimately, keeping such intense regulations of reproductive rights will maintain a trend of a mass invasion of the rights of all birthers. As of right now, this legislation is setting America’s progress back another 50 years or so. This country has a long way to go before birthers can feel safe from the government about their autonomous bodies.

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