Texas House’s pro­posed abor­tion re­stric­tion bill is cruel to women

Austin American-Statesman - - VIEWPOINTS - JEN­NIFER CAMP­BELL, AUSTIN GLEN BEELER, ROUND ROCK

Texas law­mak­ers are once again at­tempt­ing to ban abor­tion in the state. Pro­posed House Bill 87 would ban abor­tions at 20 weeks of preg­nancy in cases of se­vere and ir­re­versible fe­tal ab­nor­mal­i­ties. This bill is big gov­ern­ment — plain and sim­ple — and only en­ables politi­cians to in­sert their opin­ions into health care de­ci­sions that should be made by in­di­vid­u­als and those they trust.

This is a cruel bill that tar­gets some­one who is fac­ing an al­ready dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion and makes a de­ci­sion even more painful. When some­thing goes wrong in a preg­nancy — like a se­vere fe­tal ab­nor­mal­ity — what preg­nant women and their fam­i­lies need is sup­port, in­for­ma­tion and re­sources, not in­flex­i­ble laws that don’t ac­count for in­di­vid­ual cir­cum­stances. Law­mak­ers should not make th­ese highly per­sonal de­ci­sions for women in th­ese try­ing sit­u­a­tions.

Texas al­ready bans abor­tions af­ter 20 weeks of preg­nancy in most cases, but cur­rently se­vere fe­tal ab­nor­mal­i­ties are one of the ex­cep­tions where abor­tions are per­mit­ted. In ad­di­tion to this 20-week ban, Texas has al­ready passed sev­eral bills that make it dif­fi­cult for women in Texas to ac­cess an abor­tion. In fact, there are an­other 25 anti-abor­tion bills pend­ing in the Leg­is­la­ture right now.

Since Texas has been on this years­long cam­paign to make abor­tion as in­ac­ces­si­ble and as expensive as pos­si­ble, the re­al­ity is that there will be women who sim­ply can’t ac­cess an abor­tion any ear­lier than 20 weeks. In ad­di­tion, many fe­tal ab­nor­mal­i­ties can­not be de­tected ear­lier in a preg­nancy.

Be­tween the lo­gis­ti­cal gym­nas­tics re­quired to get an abor­tion in Texas and the lim­i­ta­tions of fe­tal test­ing in preg­nancy, there are Texas women who find them­selves in the ex­act sit­u­a­tion HB 87 would ban.

For those women who do end up with the di­ag­no­sis of a se­vere fe­tal ab­nor­mal­ity af­ter 20 weeks of preg­nancy, this pro­posed leg­is­la­tion would add un­nec­es­sary heartache to an al­ready dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stance.

Anti-abor­tion pro­po­nents have at­tempted to frame this law as pro­tect­ing in­di­vid­u­als with dis­abil­i­ties. This is a false straw-man ar­gu­ment be­cause this law does noth­ing to im­prove the lives of Tex­ans with dis­abil­i­ties.

If anti-abor­tion Texas politi­cians re­ally wanted to pro­tect the rights of Tex­ans with dis­abil­i­ties, they wouldn’t have im­ple­mented statewide Med­i­caid cuts for ther­apy for chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties last year. Hon­est steps to­ward pro­tect­ing the health and lib­er­ties of Tex­ans with dis­abil­i­ties could start by re­vers­ing th­ese cuts.

Texas gov­ern­ment is al­ready too in­volved in the abor­tion process. HB 87 is a fur­ther at­tempt for state politi­cians to stand in the way of Texas women’s health care be­cause they do not trust Tex­ans to make their own de­ci­sions. This is why I am trav­el­ing to the Capi­tol this week with fel­low young Tex­ans lob­by­ing in de­fense of Tex­ans’ most ba­sic hu­man right to health care. We are a group rep­re­sent­ing the in­di­vid­u­als too of­ten over­looked in the abor­tion de­bate — the peo­ple most ad­versely im­pacted by bills such as HB 87. We are women of color, young, trans­gen­der, queer, work­ing-class and un­doc­u­mented.

As a nurs­ing stu­dent, one of the core com­po­nents stressed by my in­struc­tors is the ab­so­lute ne­ces­sity of see­ing and know­ing ev­ery pa­tient as an in­di­vid­ual in the con­text of their own life cir­cum­stances. Blan­ket bans such as HB 87 fly in the face of this tenet of med­i­cal prac­tice.

It is im­pos­si­ble for the state or any in­di­vid­ual to judge and leg­is­late ev­ery sit­u­a­tional pos­si­bil­ity. Life is com­pli­cated, af­ter all. Thus de­ci­sions sur­round­ing abor­tion should be left to the per­son who does know the sit­u­a­tion best — the per­son car­ry­ing the preg­nancy and any­one they choose to in­clude in their de­ci­sion.

Re: Feb. 10 ar­ti­cle, “Reli­gious lead­ers en­ter both sides of fight over trans­gen­der bath­rooms.”

It is un­for­tu­nate that in to­day’s po­lit­i­cal cli­mate, in or­der to re­ceive “equal pro­tec­tion” one must be white, cis­gen­dered, straight, Chris­tian and male. De­vi­at­ing from those cat­e­gories al­lows law­mak­ers and politi­cians to cite var­i­ous reli­gious rea­sons why some de­serve less equal­ity than oth­ers.

The pas­sage of Se­nate Bill 6 will per­pet­u­ate dis­crim­i­na­tion and fear-mon­ger­ing of a com­mu­nity at­tempt­ing to live with­out the in­ter­fer­ence of law­mak­ers who are far re­moved from un­der­stand­ing strug­gles with per­sonal iden­tity and per­se­cu­tion re­lated to it. Pass­ing SB 6 is not “bow­ing to lib­er­al­ism,” but in­stead, gov­ern­ment-sanc­tioned dis­crim­i­na­tion. When

Re: Feb. 15 ar­ti­cle, “Some Austin teach­ers warned not to give stu­dents in­for­ma­tion on ICE.”

I’m dis­ap­pointed that the Austin In­de­pen­dent School Dis­trict’s le­gal coun­sel dis­cour­aged school of­fi­cials from dis­sem­i­nat­ing “know your rights” in­for­ma­tion to stu­dents. Board Pres­i­dent Ken­dall Pace was ex­actly right in her state­ment: Ed­u­ca­tion is guar­an­teed for all chil­dren, and stu­dents must be pro­tected from un­due stress. And, as the ar­ti­cle points out, schools are of­ten hubs of in­for­ma­tion for the whole fam­ily.

Giv­ing stu­dents and fam­i­lies who might be af­fected by im­mi­gra­tion raids in­for­ma­tion about their con­sti­tu­tional rights is em­pow­er­ing and works against the fear that cur­rently sat­u­rates Austin. Stu­dents spend most of their time at school, and they trust school staff to have their best in­ter­ests at heart.

No stu­dent should feel un­sup­ported by school staff who have been si­lenced by timid at­tor­neys and prin­ci­pals. Ed­u­cate Austin is do­ing the right thing for Austin ISD stu­dents and their fam­i­lies by equip­ping con­sci­en­tious pro­fes­sion­als with the tools they need to pro­mote safety for vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of their com­mu­ni­ties.

I know that the peo­ple have the priv­i­lege to protest, which is OK if they do not do any vi­o­lent acts, but when they start wav­ing the Mex­i­can flag they need to go back to Mex­ico to do that. That raises the hair on my neck when I see that hap­pen­ing in Amer­ica. They need to be wav­ing the Amer­i­can flag.

We see that 20,000 stu­dents stayed out of school to protest. That costs the tax­pay­ers. It also costs tax­pay­ers to ed­u­cate all of those stu­dents. And then they take all of the le­gal jobs.

RALPH BARRERA / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Dan Robin­son joins other pro­test­ers out­side Hyde Park Bap­tist Church while clergy meet with Lt. Gov. Dan Pa­trick about trans­gen­der re­stroom leg­is­la­tion.

Canales

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