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Health in the Lone Star State: A Hate-Hate Relationship

Robin Alexander

Posted on September 6, 2018 19:04

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I say this with sadness, as I’m an alumna of UT, Austin, but f you’re thinking of going to Texas for an education, THINK TWICE. First, in 2015 the state legislature allowed concealed weapons on all college campuses, classrooms and dorms. Yeah, that’s a thing (other states also allow this, so check carefully). Second, if you happen to need an abortion, you could be fish out of luck.

In 1973 the Supreme Court ruled 7–2 that a right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion, with limitations.

The issue is simple: if you’re against abortion, don’t have one. But so many Americans refuse to keep it simple. That this has a lot to do with religion, I have no doubt.

Texas is primarily Protestant with a sizable evangelical population(64.4%) and a large Catholic minority(21.2%). I recently asked a Southern Baptist Texan how she justifies voting for all things anti-abortion when not all religions share the same view. She sheepishly drawled, “We’re just told to vote our conscience.” Do I detect insufficient backbone to defend her position? This runs counter to my impression of Texas women, but there you are.

It’s no surprise that Texas has one helluva record. In Roe v Wade, “Wade” was the Dallas County DA who lost. The state has gone hog-wild hostile against abortion, especially lately:

·       In 2011 Texas de-funded Planned Parenthood, after which sexually transmitted infection rates, unplanned pregnancies, and maternal death rates sky-rocketed. The de-funding did not reduce the number of abortions performed.

·       In 2014 Texas passed a set of stringent but unnecessary regulations that abortion providers and doctors couldn’t adhere to, forcing them to close. SCOTUS over-turned these laws in 2016, but not before 20 out of 40  providers closed their doors.

·       Since George W., Crisis Pregnancy Centers have been popping up like Lady Bird’s bluebonnets. Typically run by Christians who adhere to a strict socially conservative viewpoint, their purpose is to dissuade women from having abortions. They hold no medical certifications.

Explains journalist Caitlin Bancroft in a 2013 article after she went undercover in one facility: “CPCs are foot soldiers in the war against women.” She reports:

·       Bait: The staff dresses like medical professionals (they aren’t). The buildings look like medical clinics (they aren’t). They list themselves under “abortion” online, and use misleading names that sound like legitimate health care providers.

·       Switch: Women think they’ll receive a full range of reproductive health options, but that’s when the lies, slut-shaming and Jesus-freaking begin. Women are discouraged from choosing abortion, birth control, and if not married – sex. Bancroft was asked about the number of sex partners she’s had, and what her parents would think if they knew she was having pre-marital sex and contemplating abortion.

·       Lies: Bancroft was told that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer and infertility, statements debunked by the Texas Medical Association. She was also told that condoms don’t protect women from pregnancy or STDs, and that IUDs kill.

·       Punchline: Some CPCs offer Bible study sessions, and Texas funds them. I know a yeshiva that could use the money.

There are 4000 of these lovelies across the fruited plains, with plenty in blue states.

As author Rachel Caine once said, “This is Texas. We’re still trying to figure out how to spell tolerance.”

Robin Alexander

Posted on September 6, 2018 19:04

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Source: NYT

Views on abortion were different before Roe v. Wade.

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