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The Texas Heartbeat Act

Recipient profile picture Greg Abbott
16 November
Dear Greg Abbott,
I am writing in relation to Senate Bill 8 (The Texas Heartbeat Act) which you signed into Texas law on May 19 of this year, and which recently came into effect. Upon signing this act, you stated that the law ‘ensures that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion’. The wording of this statement exudes pure ignorance whilst reducing the complexities of abortion into a simple black and white situation. According to you, the ultimate aim of this act is to save lives; however, this is a clear oversight as the act does not save lives it endangers them. As the comically small window of six weeks is not enough for most women to have an abortion, many women are now unable to undertake the procedure; however, just because abortion has been made illegal does not mean that it will not be performed. According to data from The Lancet Global Health, around 73.3 million abortions are performed a year. Unfortunately, around 35 million of these are performed in unsafe conditions, inevitably resulting in 23,000 pregnancy-related deaths a year – deaths which could have been undeniably preventable. Making abortion difficult to access does not prevent abortions, it simply reduces access for women to undertake the procedures safely, resulting in women being forced into taking them in unsafe conditions. Whilst this act may be saving a foetus (which arguably does not yet have a life), it is fatally endangering the mother. The act does not prevent the loss of life, it transfers it. Along with this, the act is blatantly unconstitutional and threatens freedom in the United States. According to the landmark decision of Roe v Wade (1973), the Constitution of the United States must protect a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion. Up until now, this rule was followed; however, this is now the first time that a six-week abortion ban has been successfully imposed since the decision of Roe v Wade. The Texas Heartbeat Act is not only unconstitutional, completely ineffective and borderline dangerous, it portrays a complete lack of compassion from those that do not have to worry about the act’s consequences. Though it does allow for abortions in the case of medical emergencies, this is not the case for rape. Abortions are undertaken for a myriad of reasons that have not been taken into account when establishing this act and cases of rape have been grossly overlooked. Whilst you may argue that this is an uncommon situation and can be appealed on a case-by-case basis, this is unfortunately not the case. In the United States as a whole, there are around 25-32 thousand pregnancies a year which occur from rape. It is estimated that a third of these pregnancies are not discovered until the second trimester, which would be seven weeks later than your act allows for abortions. As if being forced into raising a child a woman didn’t want, and one that acts as an embodiment of the consequence from a traumatic experience; the act also leaves a loophole open which allows for rapists to gain custody of the child they conceived through assault. This creates the very possible, clearly horrifying situation of a woman being forced to raise a child with her abuser. As I previously mentioned, this is a blatant lack of compassion from a person that will never have to deal with the ramifications as a man. You may argue that this is a statement of hypocrisy as I am one who can also evade the consequences as a man, but I note this as a clear form of injustice and oppression, and in the face of oppression it is not enough for just the victims to retaliate – we must all retaliate. I await your response. Yours sincerely,

Am Dane

Author profile picture Am Dane

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