OPINION: Texas Should Repeal its Abortion Ban

On May 19, Governor Greg Abbot signed a ban against abortion into law that was enacted in September. The law bans abortions after the first six weeks of pregnancy and does not excuse cases of rape or incest but will allow abortions to be operated if the mother’s health is at risk. However, this bill is more costly and harder to stop directly in comparison to other limitations for abortions. Instead of the state enforcing the bill, citizens are now able to sue facilities that conduct abortions or even people who help others have the operation, therefore making doctors and facilities unable to oppose the bill. They must instead win against someone who is suing them to be able to proceed with the operation.

With this ban enacted in a state that is not required to teach sex education or have the lessons be medically accurate, Abbott should reconsider the ruling as it could affect the youth of Texas.

Texas is one of the top ten states in the country that has the most teen pregnancies. In 2020, research showed that for every 1,000 girls from 15-19, 25.3 of them will give birth. Researchers believe that a large factor for this behavior is because Texas schools choose not to teach sex education, or they only teach abstinence only—the belief that not having sex at all is the best way to not get pregnant. This leaves many teens in a clueless position, not sure of how to securely protect themselves from getting pregnant. Enforcing the ban will only prove to make the statistics worse as it leaves most teens with no choice but to keep the child. Most women are not even aware that they are pregnant until the six week cut-off, as it can be common for many women to have irregular schedules for their period or having it a week or two off schedule. Additionally, if someone were immediately aware that they could be at risk of being pregnant, they still have to wait until a week after their missed period to get accurate results. Assuming they got pregnant right after their last period, it leaves them only a week to decide if they want to keep the child, find a facility to have the operation, plan the appointment and have the operation.

Some may say that teens that make such bold decisions should deserve to suffer the consequences, but how long will the mother and child have to suffer before the lesson is learned? Assuming that the mother will choose to raise the child and can afford the medical bills throughout the pregnancy, (I could write pages about the injustices of the foster care system, mental health of the mother and health care prices on their own) one can find that 60% of pregnant teens drop out of high school. They do not receive a diploma for the sake of taking proper care of the child, whether it be picking up a job or spending time at home. 2% don’t even graduate from college. In today’s economy, it’s hard to find a stable job that pays well enough for a young mother to help support and raise her child without a college degree, let alone a high school diploma, which can lead them into poverty, resulting in the next generation having a higher chance of teen pregnancies, and could allow the cycle to continue.

With that being said, the issue of teen pregnancies has more than just one solid problem. To eliminate the issue, or to at least have a greater decrease of the problem as a whole, the state of Texas must do two things: bring proper, accurate and detailed sex education to students as well as eliminate the ban on abortions.