By Joel D. Joseph
Mexico is 83% Catholic, yet the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that women have a constitutional right to an abortion. According to most polls, the majority of Americans are pro-choice. Only about 20% of Americans are opposed to all abortions, yet in Texas, the Texas legislature recently banned all abortions after six weeks. At six weeks most women do not even know that they are pregnant. The U.S. Supreme Court needs to roll back the regressive action of Texas and Mississippi and to make it clear that Roe v. Wade is still good law.
In September of this year, the Mexican Supreme Court unanimously struck down a law from the State of Coahuila that penalized doctors and pregnant women for having or performing an abortion with one to three years of prison. Mexico's highest court declared the criminalization of abortion in general to be unconstitutional. "Never again must a woman or a person capable of gestating be criminally judged," said Justice LuÃ s MarÃ a Aguilar, who wrote the decision. "Today the threat of prison and the stigma that weighs on people who freely decide to interrupt their pregnancy are removed."
In their concurring opinions, other members of the court were surprisingly frank about the grounds for their decision. "[T]he reasons that lead a woman to abort, the conditions of secrecy and insalubrity some are forced into, the consequences for their physical and mental health... produce unimaginable human suffering, especially for women who live in economic and social marginalization," wrote the president of the court, Justice Arturo ZaldÃ var. "It is a crime that, in practice, punishes poverty."
According to Justice Margarita RÃ os-Farjat, an "excess of sophistry" has confused the real issue for women facing the decision of whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. "As she is 'morally bad,' she deserves to go to prison; if it's not because she is bad or ignorant, then it's because she was irresponsible or as they say she didn't take care of herself," she noted. "Because however much desperation or desolation she may feel, she has to hold out. Did she not? Then she's promiscuous and irresponsible: prison... Nobody gets pregnant, in the use of her autonomy, only to then abort."
Coahuila, whose law originated the ruling, may soon become a destination for women just across the border in Texas fleeing draconian new abortion restrictions in the United States.
All the Excesses Live in Texas
Texas only values unborn life. Once you are born, Texas will leave you in a ditch. It has the highest number of executions of any state. The Palestine Herald Press in Palestine, Texas, reports that Texas leads the nation in child poverty, with 1.5 million kids below the poverty line.
Abortion is permitted in Texas after six weeks only when a woman is facing a life-threatening or disabling medical emergency linked to her pregnancy. The law makes no exceptions for nonviable pregnancies in which the fetus has no chance of survival, or for rape or incest. The Texas law deputizes private citizens even those with no connection to the patient, doctor or health center to sue anyone who performs an abortion once cardiac activity can be detected in the embryo. This can occur as early as two weeks after a missed period, when most women do not know they are pregnant. Anyone who "aids and abets" the procedure can also be sued, and the law promises plaintiffs $10,000 and legal fees if they win the lawsuit.
A few weeks after Texas adopted the most restrictive abortion law in the nation, Dr. Andrea Palmer delivered shocking news to a Fort Worth patient who was midway through her pregnancy. The fetus had a rare neural-tube defect. The brain would not develop, and the infant would die at birth or shortly afterward. Carrying the pregnancy to term would be emotionally grueling and would also raise the mother's risk of blood clots and severe postpartum bleeding, the doctor warned. But the patient was past six weeks' gestation, and under the new law, an abortion was not an option in Texas because the woman was not immediately facing a life-threatening medical crisis or risk of permanent disability. "So we look at them like a ticking time bomb and wait for the complications to develop," Dr. Palmer said of her patients. In that case, the woman had the means to travel, and she obtained an abortion in another state, an option unavailable to many low-income and working-class women.
The U.S. Courts Keep Texas Law for the Time Being
The U.S. Supreme Court late Wednesday night refused to block the Texas law that amounts to a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. The vote was 5-4, with three Trump-appointed justices joining two other conservative justices. Dissenting were conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and the court's three liberal justices.
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