By: Mia Baltierra
STARR COUNTY, TEXAS – On April 10, 2022 charges were dropped against Lizelle Herrera, a 26-year-old from Texas, who was originally arrested in March for a self-induced abortion. While there was initial confusion as to the basis of the arrest, it is now clear that Texas officials were operating under the precedent of the so-called “heartbeat ban” instituted last year.
The law, known as SB 8, bans abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat which is around six weeks— well before most pregnant people would know they are with child. This law also allows individuals to sue abortion providers or anyone associated with aiding in the abortion. Those who successfully tip off such activities are promised at least $10,000. This ban needs to be overturned by politicians in Texas as it violates the human right to terminate a pregnancy and is an attack against women’s control of their bodies.
In the arrest of Ms. Herrera, the charge was murder. Currently, however, Texas law does not allow for the persecution for this charge concerning abortion if the person who caused it was the pregnant person themselves. However, it seems only a matter of time until we hear about doctors being imprisoned for providing this basic right to pregnant people. As Cathy Torres, the organizing manager for the Frontera Fund stated, “This is only setting a precedent for other cases. She’s [Ms.Herrera] not the first. She won’t be the last.”
It might seem like someone who finds themselves with an unwanted pregnancy would have no issue getting an abortion in our modern age, but this case is proving that we are going backwards in time as a society, not forwards. This ban makes it virtually impossible for a woman to get an abortion and would put in prison those who perform them. This type of law is pushing the narrative that an abortion is immoral and that women should not be allowed to receive one, regardless of the circumstance. We must fight against this kind of reasoning and give women the basic human right to control what happens to their own bodies. If laws like the one in Texas continue to be instituted, we will only be reversing all the hard work women have put forth fighting for the right to have domain over their bodies.
The Texas ban has brought forth fears amongst the public that the ruling of Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade might soon be overturned. Those who oppose the ruling argue that they want a safer world for children and women, but it is laws like the one in Texas that are causing pregnant people to self-induce their abortions and risk their health. If abortion politics continue to follow the path they are on, it will not lead to less abortions, but more unsafe ones. This is why politicians must do more to protect reproductive rights of women and all those who might find themselves pregnant. Those with power need to make a stand against the Texas ban and protect the rights of anyone who would be pregnant.
The Texas Right to Life organization claims that this ban is not “against the women,” but it is abundantly clear that criminalizing those who give abortions is an act against women. It eliminates their right to a choice and politicians must make sure this does not continue to happen.