Texas' Abortion Law Is Not Just Oppressive, It's Hypocritical - Honolulu Civil Beat

About the Author

Alani Bagcal

Alani Bagcal lives in Honolulu. Reproductive rights sparked her political awakening and her career.

“My Body, My Choice” is a phrase embodied by the movement that has led my political career and empowers me to make safe and informed decisions about my body and life. I am a woman on a mission to ensure that a person’s choice is trusted, respected and heard to obtain self-determination.

Opinion article badgeThe issue has always been the right to make decisions about one’s body based on the best interests of one’s life and one’s life only. This phrase has always meant the right to consent to sex, pregnancy and childbirth and to access medically accurate information and the wide range of reproductive health services — without violence, discrimination and government interference or repercussion.

Heedlessly, this phrase has been conflated with two completely different issues. People who do not advocate for abortion and other reproductive rights legislation are declaring “my body, my choice” as if their choice to refuse vaccination, mask-wearing and taking the precautions needed to protect our community from the Covid-19 pandemic is oppression and unconstitutional.

Anti-reproductive rights politicians are using the phrase as a shield to spread misinformation and to feed on the public fear of “tyrannizing efforts to violate personal liberty” with safety mandates while they continue to openly oppose and vote against equitable reproductive health care access.

Last week Texas passed SB8, the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation. It bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, which is well before many women even know they are pregnant. The law allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone else who helps a person obtain an abortion, including those who give a woman a ride to a clinic or provide them financial assistance.

Citizens who bring these suits don’t need to show any connection to those they are suing, and the law actually incentivizes them to sue, with the prospect of $10,000 if they win their case.

There are no exceptions for rape or incest.

The Supreme Court of the United States made no attempt to block this law, causing the greatest threat to the landmark decision Roe v. Wade, which is protected by the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has banned mask and vaccine mandates in honor of “personal choice,” celebrates a win when policy directly attacks a woman’s decision to bear and raise a child, without any regard for how that might affect them physically, emotionally and financially.

Marginalized communities continue to suffer the most from these laws.

Abbott is not alone in the epitome of false solidarity with “the right to make one’s own personal medical decisions.” He hypocritically hides behind this phrase and contributes to the spread of Covid-19.

I’ve seen that rhetoric right here in Hawaii.

Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood on Beretania Street in Honolulu. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2019

I am not a medical doctor, but I am an organizer who successfully led action to pass Act 3 last April, greatly expanding access to equitable abortion care in Hawaii for those who need it.

The greatest thing I’ve learned about being a lobbyist is to listen to those who are immersed in the experience, study and work of an issue. They are the experts and in order to effectively move forward, we need to make space to learn from them and follow their lead.

Medical experts have reiterated time and again that the vaccine alone is not the answer but to consistently follow all of the general safety precautions. Ambivalence about the vaccine is okay and people are allowed to feel different ways about things, but that doesn’t discard the consequences of people’s inaction to help mitigate the spread and number of current hospitalizations.

For reference, reproductive rights activists will never tell you how to feel about abortion. The point of their advocacy is that no matter how you feel about it, if someone getting an abortion doesn’t have an effect on your life, you have no right to control their decision to get an abortion.

Covid-19, on the other hand, is a highly transmissible and deadly virus that has altered all of our lives whether we have contracted it or not. Medical experts have proven vaccination is effective at reducing severe symptoms, thus lowering hospitalizations, relieving clinician burnout and so on. The experts’ informed plea to the public is that we must take initiative now before things get worse — because they will get worse if we do not take accountability for how our actions affect other peoples’ safety and lives.

Be aware that these two situations are not interchangeable. It’s not “My Body, My Choice” if that choice harms other people. Personal decisions that have public repercussions are public health issues that require collective action.

Everyone’s personal choice to take the recommended safety precautions is imperative for the eradication or alleviation of Covid-19.

Everyone’s personal choice in family planning is their own.

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About the Author

Alani Bagcal

Alani Bagcal lives in Honolulu. Reproductive rights sparked her political awakening and her career.

Latest Comments (0)

Religion need not be cited.  Common sense is only needed.  Where did you and everyone else come from?  How is our mankind continued?  Should anyone be concerned of its continued existence?  Everyone came from the womb of a women.  It must have a beginning and a start for anything.  Even our universe.  It must be human because not one expert can be found to say that a fetus is not human.  Millions can be found to say it is human.  Killing a human is homicide.    

daniwitz · 1 year ago

It's your and your baby's bodies, plural. Pope says it's murder if not a medical necessity. Choice occurs as the act of coitus is initiated, setting into (presumably loving) motion the possible, and often even likely, generation of a new fellow human being. Don't mix up the power to kill easily with the right to do so. While wiggling out of natural consequences is a human inclination, it should not be done at the expense of a child's life. Join with a father in marriage first, then take actions leading to conception. The rare exceptions, tragic remedial abortion to resolve situations of rape, incest, or medical necessity, should not set the norm for our ethical action norms.

Haleiwa_Dad · 1 year ago

Its indisputable that the Texas abortion statute violates Supreme Court precedents, namely Roe v. Wade. According to the Court’s abortion cases, a state may not place an "undue burden" on the pregnant individual’s choice to have an abortion until the point of "viability" —around twenty-four weeks. The statute does not authorize a state official to enforce it. Instead, the threat of enforcement comes from "any person, other than" a state official.The Court’s majority said that the providers had raised "serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law," and that it was denying their application not based on any conclusion about the law’s constitutionality but because it "presents complex and novel antecedent procedural questions." It remains unclear who, if anyone, is a proper defendant to sue to challenge this law, and thus whether the suit itself could be heard in federal court.Consider private citizens who are not themselves injured parties might be given the incentive to sue other private parties for, say, violating civil rights, polluting the environment, committing sexual assault—or even not wearing masks, social distancing, or getting vaccinated.

LoloErudite · 1 year ago

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