Gender identity relates to the social and culture aspects of society. Each axis of identity gender, race or class, can be analyzed through systems of oppression and privilege.
The new Texas law is the highlight of a continued legal battle, the outcome of which is unknown.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed the legislation known as the “fetal heartbeat” bill into law in May. It bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks. Many women would not even realize they are pregnant that soon. Additionally, there are absolutely no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
Lily Alvarado, a gender and women’s studies major at SUNY Plattsburgh, explained the negative impacts this law has on certain people.
“My opinion on the Texas law is that it’s really shameful because it hurts a lot of women, especially working class women of color,” Alvarado said.
According to TexasTribune.org, This law effectively ends Roe v. Wade protections in the state. Legal action can be taken against anyone who performs or induces abortion, knowingly engages in conduct that aids the action or intends to engage in the action. This means that the medical practitioner, as well as the driver, could be sued.
“This law is problematic because the majority of women don’t know they are pregnant by six weeks, it doesn’t give people an option to have an abortion, there are finanical repercussion and women will end up giving birth to a child they do not want,” said Dr. Connie Oxford, a SUNY Plattsburgh gender and women’s studies professor.
The law facilitates a system in which community members are actively encouraged to report and sue suspects breaking the law.
“It encourages people to take the law into their own hands,” Dr. Oxford said.
Cutting off the medical resources needed for abortion leaves women with a restricted access to healthcare.
Why support a system that lets people who do not represent women make decisions about their bodies? In systems of privilege, like the government, the majority are white men. This dominance creates a real and dangerous authority. Overextending power can foster a sense of fear and hostility within the afflicted group. It is important to understand that social norms are what create differences in gender. It is easier to neglect gender struggles from a privileged perspective.
“It is a common conception that this issue is men versus women; however, there are men who are feminist and trying to overturn this law. It is anti-choice versus choice,” Dr. Oxford said.
Alvarado sees contradiction in the way Texas is handling COVID-19 public health crisis versus abortion.
“I think it is a bit hypocritical because I know in Texas public schools they’re not mandating masks and a lot of people are still getting COVID and getting hospitalized. It’s like you claim that you care about lives and you’re pro-life, yet you are letting kids go to school without a mask,” Alvarado said.
This Texas abortion law is problematic because it encourages people to take the law into their own hands, creates feelings of hostility and limits choices.