In the latest bout of outright misogyny from the Texas state legislature, a new amendment snuck into a bureaucratic review bill by Rep. Matt Schaefer would force women carrying non-viable fetuses to carry them to term, no matter the risk to their health. Completely ignoring one of the most common exceptions allowed by reasonable pro-lifers, the bill would “prohibit the performance of an abortion at [that] facility on the basis that the fetus has a severe and irreversible abnormality”- in other words, to “ban abortions after 20 weeks even when a fetus shows signs of severe abnormalities and little hope of survival”.
This unfeeling and delusional representative justifies his amendment with the excuse that “suffering is part of the human condition, since sin entered the world.” From that astonishing statement, we can deduce that this religious fanatic is intent on punishing woman for her role in the biblical Fall of Man and humanity’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Even some of his fellow Republicans are appalled by his unfeeling cruelty: “Why should the heavy, blunt hand of the government come into that most heartrending decision?” said Rep. J.D. Sheffield (R-Gatesville), a medical doctor.
That’s not all the Texas legislature had up their sleeve this week. On Tuesday, Republicans in the Texas Senate banned coverage for abortions in all insurance private insurance plans, including those bought through the Affordable Care Act. This similarly does not allow for exemptions for rape or incest, and a Democratic attempt to pass an amendment providing for those exceptions was met with by a Republican counter that would force women to file a report with the police, no matter any danger to her own safety, before she could recieve an abortion in those circumstances, adding to the already substantial emotional trauma associated with those horrific crimes.
Salon put it as such: “Women who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest should be forced to report their assaults to the police, regardless of perceived threats to their safety, in order to use the insurance for which they already pay to have an abortion — because insurance companies “like to have specific codes” for what they cover.”
Unfortunately, unbelievable, that isn’t all. A female state Representative, Molly White, recently introduced a bill that would force women to undergo a 72 hour waiting period for all abortion, in order to prevent women from being coerced to have abortions. Critics point out that this would only endanger the pregnant women, far from protecting her from an abusive partner, leaving her at his mercy while implying that she reported his abuse.
A writer from the Daily Beast put it quite succinctly: “If White is indeed focused on protecting women, she’ll surely focus next on the women forced or tricked into pregnancy and childbirth as a way to tie them forever to their abusers — a phenomenon also backed by science so reputable that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) has recommended that ob-gyns screen patients for signs of pregnancy coercion.”
The avalanche of anti-abortion legislation making its way through the Texas state governance seeks to strip women of any agency or choice in the decision that they make about their body and their fetus. It is a monstrous intrusion of government into private lives that endangers women’s health and renders them as pawns in the games that men play. It will only exacerbate Texas’s epidemic of children living in poverty, learning misinformed curricula in underfunded schools, ignorant of any conception of sexual health that leads to outbreaks of chlamydia among teenagers, and eventually more unwanted children that repeat the whole cycle over again. It is a violation of human rights and the people of Texas deserve better than to be kept poor and ignorant, the playthings of ideologues and exploited by their megalomaniacal fantasies of social control.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.