Texas lawmakers are debating a bill, which, if passed, would not only criminalise abortion but also classify it as a homicide. According to Fox 5, if House Bill 896 gets passed, women in Texas who have abortions could be sentenced to the death penalty. What could possibly be the logic behind such a terrifying bill, which not only curtails women’s reproductive rights, but also practically forces them into raising children against their wishes?

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • A Texas legislation bill seeks to criminalise abortion and classify it as a homicide.
  • Which would mean women who have an abortion in Texas will incur a death penalty.
  • Where is justice in forcing women into enduring pregnancy and ensuing motherhood?
  • Ask a woman why she doesn’t want to have a child, instead of making that decision for her.

Criminalising abortion curtails women’s reproductive rights. It forces them into raising children against their wishes.

State Representative Tony Tinderholt is quoted in the aforementioned article by Fox 5 saying, “I think it’s important to remember that if a drunk driver kills a pregnant woman, they get charged twice. If you murder a pregnant woman, you get charged twice. So I’m not specifically criminalizing women. What I’m doing is equalising the law.”

Perhaps Tinderholt is forgetting one thing in his zeal to equalise the law, that when a pregnant woman dies in an accident or someone kills her, we consider her to be carrying the baby willingly. But when a woman opts for abortion, she doesn’t want to carry the child? However, is there justice in forcing women into enduring pregnancy and ensuing motherhood for the rest of their lives?

Must a woman raise a child she conceived from a rape or even accidentally, in a hostile world that still abhors single mothers and children born out of wedlocks? Must she sideline her career and future for the sake of motherhood in a society which won’t step in to support her? If those who call abortion a moral crime seriously want women to stop opting for abortion, then they need to make this world a hospitable place, first.

Ask a woman why she doesn’t want to have a child. And then instead of making that decision for her, ask yourselves is there anything you can do to change her mind.

Motherhood isn’t for everyone. Even those who want to be mums should have the agency to do it as per their convenience. Calling abortion a homicide is yet another way of strong-arming women into bearing children because it offends you morality if they terminate a pregnancy. That very morality which won’t shy away from putting a woman to death because she would rather not be a mother than being a bad one.

Calling abortion a homicide is yet another way of strong-arming women into bearing children because it offends you morality if they terminate a pregnancy.

When it comes to an abortion, each one of us may have varying views. But we must remember that taking a moral high ground isn’t the solution here. No woman opts for this procedure happily, she has her own reasons and problems. And unless those questioning her decision can do anything for her, they have no right to deprive her of her reproductive rights. Yes, women have wombs, but they also have agency. Just because they are anatomically capable of bearing children doesn’t mean they have to oblige.

Criminalising abortion will only put off women from motherhood, who will begin seeing it as a duty they must do to stay out of jail or worse stay alive. That is not how a woman should see motherhood. That is not why she must have a child.

Picture Credit: livestrong

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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