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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Opinion: Gov. Abbott fights against COVID-19 without women in mind

A+cartoon+black+elephant+head+sits+behind+the+silhouette+of+a+woman.

A cartoon black elephant head sits behind the silhouette of a woman.

On March 22, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order suspending nonessential medical procedures, abortion being one of them. Abbott’s executive order is not only a policy aimed at rationalizing the ban of abortion but it is also blatantly unconstitutional.
The order was initially blocked by United States District Judge Lee Yeakel. Several states, including Alabama, Ohio and Louisiana, have issued similar directives that have all been blocked by judges.
As a result, Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton pushed back and filed for immediate appellate review to reinforce Abbott’s executive order. On April 7, after taking it to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the court upheld the order and directed the district court to vacate that temporary restraining order that temporarily bans “elective abortions.”
While right-winged officials hide behind their preventive face masks, a burning candle and their Bible, it is clear that anti-abortion politicians will stop at nothing to restrict a woman’s bodily autonomy, even if it means exploiting a pandemic costing hundreds of American lives.
The dynamic duo, Abbott and Paxton, insist that patients seeking or receiving abortions reduce personal protective equipment, or PPE, supply, reduce hospital capacity and increase the further spread of the disease.
The argument that abortions are the leading cause in the shortage of PPE is far from compelling, considering equipment for both abortion and COVID-19 patients varies.
An in-clinic abortion typically uses a variety of pain medication, a speculum, thin tube, hand-held suction device and a curette. Whereas, medical workers treating patients with COVID-19 need surgical masks, gowns, face shields, gloves and N95 respirators. The two supply lists have very little in common.
Abbott and his henchman say abortion complications might lead to hospitalization, thus taking a lot of space that could be better used for COVID-19 patients. But the most common symptoms that prompt women to go to a hospital after an abortion are bleeding, pain and nausea.
Abbott then argued that medicated abortions have an 8% incompletion rate before seven weeks. He stated that the FDA requires health providers to have surgical intervention and accessibility to equipment to perform possible blood transfusions and resuscitation.
However, the problem is not abortion in itself, it is the lack of medical equipment provided by the state government to fight this pandemic. Abbott and Paxton are clearly manipulating the effects of COVID-19 to fit their close-minded ideologies.
If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do not know the issues COVID-19 can cause during pregnancy, there should be no reason why a pregnant woman cannot go to an abortion clinic. A pregnant woman may be fearful of catching the virus or infecting her child once it is born.
The order says that this will only delay abortion procedures for a few weeks, but in 2017, Abbott signed several bills, including a bill aimed at banning second-trimester dilation and evacuation abortions. In 2011, he showed immense support for legislation requiring doctors to perform a sonogram on a woman at least 24 hours before they followed suit with their abortion procedure.
The idea of a temporary delay should be alarming because Abbott’s never-ending track record of anti-abortion legislation proves it will not stop there.
While some might believe these are valid reasons for wanting to shut down abortion clinics temporarily, it is still a violation of the 1970 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.
Abbott’s executive order is a direct violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s fundamental right to privacy, and a woman’s right to choose falls within that right to privacy. The due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment protects against state action. A state law that broadly prohibits abortion without respect to the stage of pregnancy or other interests violates that right.
Many people might choose to ignore this approved executive order, but this stepping stone now sets precedence and should alarm everyone. It is important for policymakers to recognize the unconstitutionality of this executive order and do something about it.
Abbott is leading the fight against COVID-19 better than other states, but he is disregarding women’s rights in the process.
– Amira Van Leeuwen is a journalism sophomore

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