“My body, my choice”…or is it?


Esther Lian, Staff Writer

“My body, my choice.” 

While the world is still battling the spread of the coronavirus, these are the words echoed incessantly by those who refuse to take a vaccine, practice social distancing, or wear a mask. Yet, many of these individuals seem to disregard their own philosophy when dealing with the sensitive controversy of abortion. The majority of those refusing to comply with pandemic-related restrictions that will help save lives appear to have no qualms about imposing their values and choices on the bodies of others by advocating for Texas’ new ban on abortion. The hypocrisy of their double standards is lost on them.

Recently, the Supreme Court voted against blocking a Texas law that came into effect on September 1, 2021, which prohibits abortions if a heartbeat is detected. This occurs at around 6 weeks, before many women are even aware they are pregnant. 

Although Texas is not the first to pass such a law (8 other states including Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee have similar legislation), its abortion law is different in a number of critical ways. Firstly, it will be enforced by private individuals rather than by the government. The Texas law allows anyone to sue abortion providers and those who are deemed to have enabled a woman to obtain an abortion — even if they have no connection to the parties concerned. The bounty: a whopping $10,000 if successful. Secondly, without state enforcement, it is difficult to challenge the law in court – making Texas the only state to successfully implement its abortion law, while others are being litigated. Thirdly, unlike the law in South Carolina, Texas makes no exceptions for cases involving rape or incest.

As a minor who is below the “age of majority” (set at 18 in Texas), I feel extremely aggrieved by this law. The unfathomably narrow period of 6 weeks gives adolescent girls no viable window to obtain parental support or to petition a Texas court for a right to make a personal decision for their own bodies. Furthermore, by disallowing exceptions for rape or incest, vulnerable victims who have no means to seek an out-of-state alternative are essentially trapped in the trauma of their assault – their pain aggravated by being, once again, denied their rights to their bodies. 

The successful legislation in Texas is likely to now be replicated in other conservative states across the country. While I believe in the sanctity and intrinsic value of human life, I also believe that the cost of such a draconian law needs to be weighed against the possible dangers that it poses to women, particularly the unprotected and the disadvantaged, if they are driven to resort to self-induced abortion without medical oversight.