Opinion: The Extreme Anti-Abortion Agenda Being Pushed Forward at the Texas Lege Is Harmful and Cruel
Texans deserve the trust and the power to decide what is best for them, their bodies, and their futures
I'm a lifelong Texan and this is my third legislative session working as an advocate for abortion care and rights in the state. I am used to the cruel tactics state lawmakers use in order to rob people of their right to bodily autonomy, but this session there is a different type of threat looming over the Capitol that could end abortion access as we know in the state.
Some of the most extreme and restrictive abortion bills in the country are quickly moving through the Texas legislature, including a bill that would ban abortions at six-week gestation without the exception for rape or incest and would allow anyone to sue abortion providers for perceived violations of abortion regulations. There are also dozens of other bills that would add multiple burdensome requirements to abortion providers and patients that would make abortion care even harder to provide and obtain.
This policy trend is being echoed throughout the nation as dozens of anti-abortion legislatures push their agenda to further restrict and, in some cases, nearly ban abortion. These harmful laws are being introduced by the same lawmakers who are pushing anti-voter and anti-LGBTQIA bills to wield their power over marginalized Texans.
Lawmakers have long touted "safety" and "protection" as they pushed their anti-abortion agenda. Their ongoing game of smoke and mirrors has promoted lies about a legitimate health care procedure that top medical professionals have deemed safe and effective, but this legislative session they have decided to up the ante, explicitly trying to pass unconstitutional bills in an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The language being used as these new rounds of bills are being discussed should alarm Texans. Lawmakers are refusing to use correct medical terminology. They use words that muddle the normal and medical aspects of abortion and it's a clear tactic to spark an emotional response. Texans should have leaders that help the state benefit from advancements in science and medicine. These tactics are a shameful and clear signal that they care about their political agenda more than they care about people.
The state of Texas has suffered the consequences of the dozens of restrictive abortion laws that have been passed at the Capitol for years. As each new restrictive law takes effect, ripple effects follow – clinic closures, longer drive times for appointments, medically unnecessary state mandated information, and extra visits to the clinic. After years of burdensome regulations, the number of clinics offering abortions in the state has dwindled and those most impacted are people living in rural and marginalized communities.
Elected officials' priority should always be the people they are making laws for, and if someone decides abortion is what is best for them, they should be shown trust, respect, and compassion during the process. Texans have endured enough because of state leaders' failures to protect us, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 48,000 Texans have died from the virus, but the state has taken very little action to protect those lives.
Texans deserve the trust and the power to decide what is best for them, their bodies, and their futures. This extreme anti-abortion agenda being pushed forward at the legislature is harmful and cruel and Texans deserve better.
Courtney Chambers is the Texas advocacy director of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, pushing back against anti-abortion bills and promoting abortion as a moral good for more than five years.
The Chronicle welcomes submissions of opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Find guidelines and tips at austinchronicle.com/contact/opinion.