Proposed Texas abortion ban sparks debate for students, staff

Protesters have responded enthusiastically in opposition to the proposed abortion ban in the state of Texas. “I disagree 100% [with the abortion ban],” junior Alisha Khan said. “Abortion is a woman’s choice and no one else’s. It is completely unfair to deny them the choice to do what they want with their body.” Photo courtesy of Becker1999 & Wikimedia Commons.

On September 1st, the state of Texas issued a law that prohibits abortions after six weeks of pregnancy or once a heartbeat is detected. This law allows for anyone involved in the abortion — the women, doctors, and even transportation staff — to be sued by any outsider for a financial reward of $10K. This abortion ban would also extend to victims of rape or incest. The laws continue to stay prevalent by sparking lawsuits from the Satanic Temple — who contend that the ban is a violation of religious freedom — as well as from the Center of Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood  Federation of America, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the ACLU of Texas among other organizations fighting the ban. Most recently, the Supreme Court has decided that the laws in Texas will remain in effect until at least November 1st, when cases will be brought forward.

This act has sparked conversation in legislators across the nation as well as in students at East. In a poll conducted for this report, more than half of those polled (64.1%) indicated unequivocally that abortion should not be illegal, while an additional quarter of those polled (24.8%) said that abortion should be controlled under certain circumstances. Only a little more than 10% (11.1%) said that abortion should be illegal.

Senior Abby Winograd said that the outlawing of abortion won’t stop abortions from being performed in America.

“By installing this ban, it will not stop abortions, it will only stop safe abortions. It is just taking that safe option or choice away from women,” Winograd said. 

Meanwhile, junior Alisha Khan said that what is happening in Texas will have long-ranging consequences across the rest of the nation. 

“I think it’s causing a lot of unrest between states and throughout the country as a whole. It’s not a secret that the US has its very conservative parts and its very liberal parts,” Khan said. “Debate on abortion is not a new topic, but the fact that it has, in such a progressive time, been made illegal is a huge setback for women’s rights, which is not okay.”

According to freshman Adrian Castillo, no matter your own personal belief on this ban, it could restrict the lives of families and friends that you know.

“If I ever have a family member or friend get pregnant and they aren’t able to get an abortion, because a law prohibits it, that would enrage me because they should have the choice,” Castillo said.

AP Government teacher and Political Action Club sponsor Tyler Van Landeghem said that the political news coming out of Texas and other conservative or “red” states is not entirely surprising. 

“It is not unusual for a southern state like Texas to limit access to abortion. So I was not surprised,” Van Landeghem said. “As a government person, the way the law works is bizarre. I looked into how the law will work and thought that there is no way that this is constitutional. However, I would need to consult a constitutional scholar or lawyer to confirm that perspective.” 

Upon hearing about the possibility of the ban and doing some research into the implications of it, junior Emily York said that she could support the laws passed in Texas.

“While it isn’t a choice I would ever willingly make, I think that’s the point. It’s everyone’s individual opinion and choice and everyone’s right to have that for themselves. I think there could be limits but not a full ban on free will,” York said. “I can already see it affecting the country on a personal and social level. Even those under the age of 18 are creating conversations and providing awareness in schools.”

Some citizens, even though they may identify or sympathize with more conservative values, may still be challenged to accept a complete ban on abortion. The news continues to challenge the perspectives of even the staunchest of conservatives, one could imagine.

Sophomore Teenage Republican President and Vice President of the Political Action Club Tyler Boecker indicated that he hasn’t fully settled upon a response to the news.

To what extent should abortion be illegal?

Poll based on a cross-section of approximately 600 students

“While it isn’t a choice I would ever willingly make, I think that’s the point. It’s everyone’s individual opinion and choice and everyone’s right to have that for themselves. I think there could be limits but not a full ban on free will.”

junior Emily York

“A full ban on abortion is extreme even for those who lean right,” Boecker added. “But it is not out of the blue for Texas. I felt it was good and that it would reduce the number of abortions. However, I thought it was very poorly written in that it forced citizens to report abortions instead of having the government do it.”

The passage of the bill continues to be developing news.

“There are two ways this could go,” Van Landeghem added.  “If it works and the Supreme Court does not overturn it, all anti-abortion states will enact a similar law immediately. If it does not work, those same states will find a different approach. States are laboratories of democracy and an experiment in one state can easily come to another state.”

For some students, the news coming out of Texas may seem insignificant. It’s taking place in a state far politically different from Illinois. Meanwhile, over half of East students are not old enough to vote in order to move the needle in one direction or another.

According to School Nurse Diane Pry, students should still take an interest in politics since they will soon be a part of the political experiment itself.

“I really think students should be involved, especially in this kind of topic because women should have a right to their own bodies. Just with everything else, we have a right to our bodies about everything else. Why not abortion?” Pry asked. 

This publication may revisit this story as it continues to develop. 

“This particular issue may not affect you but future issues may,” Van Landeghem said. “We need to watch what happens at the state level of government so we can protect our rights and liberties, and we need to fight for the things that we care about.”

Savina Trujillo is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl. This feature was co-written by Payton McCullum.

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