Editorial

Abortion Is a Given Right

United Nations (UN) human rights monitors have strongly condemned the state of Texas for its new anti-abortion law. According to the monitors they claim that it violates international law by denying women control over their own bodies and endangering their lives.

Melissa Upreti, the chair of the UN’s working group on discrimination against women and girls, criticized the new Texas law, SB 8, as “structural sex and gender-based discrimination at its worst”.

She later added that “this new law will make abortion unsafe and deadly and create a whole new set of risks for women and girls. It is profoundly discriminatory and violates a number of rights guaranteed under international law,” according to Unpreti, reported by The Guardian.

Upreti, one of five independent experts charged by the UN human rights council in Geneva to push for elimination of discrimination against women and girls around the world, was also sharply critical of the US supreme court.

She used harsh language against the Supreme Court’s rightwing majority that decided by a five to four vote to allow the Texas law enact this new abortion law. The Supreme Court is showing the provision’s blatant disregard of the court’s own 1973 ruling legalizing abortion in the US, Roe v Wade.

“The law and the way it came about – through the refusal of the US supreme court to block it based on existing legal precedent – has not only taken Texas backward, but in the eyes of the international community, it has taken the entire country backward,” Upreti said.

The vote was 5-4, with three Trump-appointed justices joining two other conservative justices. Dissenting were conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s three liberal justices.

The ban on abortions after cardiac activity can be detected — usually at six weeks of pregnancy and well before most people even know they are pregnant — is at odds with the Supreme Court’s precedents, which prohibit states from banning abortions prior to fetal viability — usually between 22 and 24 weeks. The Texas bill, however, was structured to insulate the law from being tested quickly in court.

Because the established procedure for challenging a state law is to sue officials charged with enforcement, the Texas state legislature wrote the law instead to put citizens in charge of enforcement. Specifically, the law allows anyone, without establishing any vested personal interest, to sue clinics and individuals alike for “aiding and abetting” abortions performed after approximately six weeks.

That potentially puts in the crosshairs of liability not just clinics but also individuals who staff the clinics, who drive patients to clinics or who help finance abortions.

This cannot be allowed to stand. Each woman is unique just like each child is too. We cannot allow the courts to overrule themselves, which potentially may lead to the death of women because they are denied proper medical treatment. Texas is just the first state to adopt this draconian law, if the people do not speak up, do not take their liberty in their own hands, and speak to their elected officials, this could spread to other states.

 It boils down to do women have control over their own body?

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