My Body, My choice, My opinion

Woodside females share their reactions to the Texas abortion law.


Zach Gibson/The New York Times

Protesters on both sides of the abortion debate rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016

Jessica Lin, Politics Editor

A wave of emotions ran through Woodside after Governor Greg Abbott signed a law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy in Texas.

Senate Bill 8 was effective on Wednesday, September 1, 2021, and sought to prohibit abortions (not excluding pregnancies resulting from rape or incest) after six weeks, when most females do not yet know they are pregnant. The law also states that the citizens who enforce the law will be awarded $10,000.

“Medically, the fetus is considered not viable until after 20 weeks. So to rush and say, ‘okay, after six weeks, you can’t have an abortion just doesn’t make sense,” Nanette Pasion, the Woodside health aid, said. “Lots of women have other things going on with their lives that may not connect to ‘I might be pregnant.’ There could be so many factors. Most won’t find out until they’re much further along.”

A protestor holds a sign at a protest against Senate Bill 8 along with other pro-choice protestors. (ACLU Texas)

Many, including Woodside English teacher Pirayeh Zargar, believe that forcing women to continue their pregnancies could endanger their health, especially those going through traumatic events such as incest and rape.

“This idea that a child should be born of rape when the mother who is traumatized, who is not ready [to take care of a child]- It’s disgusting,” Zargar said. It’s this idea, ‘let’s limit the choices of the woman or the young girl now.’ She’ll have the child, then maybe the child goes up [for adoption], and it has better chances for [being adopted]. But then you’ve got all these kids that are just left in the system, the system that’s not really there to support them.”

Pasion also believes that implementing this law will possibly harm those seeking an abortion.

“These [laws] aren’t going to prevent abortions. What they’re going to do is prevent safe abortions. People will go through different avenues to eliminate unwanted pregnancies,” Pasion stated. “People are just going to do it in more dangerous and harmful ways.”

Not only do many argue that male lawmakers are controlling women’s rights, as 62% of the United States officeholders are male, but they say many necessities are also constantly denied and or disputed.

“Sadly, this is just the way that so many decisions have been made in America. When you look at birth control, if you go into a nurse’s office, there are condoms galore,” Zargar said. “Yet, it’s very difficult for a young girl to get birth control.”

The subject of the conflict is whether a woman should keep the unborn fetus. The choice, many argue, should be a human right.

Protestors at a Women’s March demonstration in 2020 against then-President Trump’s plan to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, who is pro-life. (Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“Unless anyone’s ever been in that position, no one will ever understand what that person had to go through to make that decision,” Woodside guidance specialist Penny Cifuentes stated. “The fact that you are forcing someone to do something from your religious point of view is unfair. And it’s not [up to] us to judge anyone or tell them what to do from the religious standpoint.”

Cifuentes expanded on the problems she sees with using religion to block abortion rights.

“[It’s] hypocrisy that they continue to say that this is God’s way and bringing in religion. You’re not taking care of your neighbor, the one that’s already here that needs you,” Cifuentes said. “This isn’t about religion because if it were, then they’d be worrying … and making better laws, finding better homes for [babies] and making sure that the system works for them. They’re focusing on unborn fetuses [rather than] the kids that are in the foster system.”

Despite religion being a massive argument for the ban of abortions, thousands of kids are in Texas’s Child Protection System. Texas has over 100,000 homeless students Statewide. As of January 2020, ages 0-17, 47,913  children are in foster care, and 3,378 are waiting for adoptive families in Texas. In 2019 a total of 52,397 are in the child protection system.

Two pro-choice protesters march outside the Texas State Capitol on September 1, in Austin, Texas. Holding The Gadsden flag, depicting a timber rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Beneath the rattlesnake are the words: “Don’t Tread on Me.” Protester on the left holds up the sign “you’re just pro-birth”. (Sergio Flores/GETTY)

Texas is the leading state with the most child deaths concerning COVID-19, primarily due to the lack of mask mandates and COVID-19 safety regulations.  

“I cannot believe that Texas is not enforcing a mask mandate but is enforcing such a controlling law on women’s bodies.” Woodside sophomore Maya Wik said.  “How can you claim to be “pro-life” while simultaneously not… enforcing a mask mandate that could potentially prevent the deaths of thousands?”

But the rawest emotion comes from the young. 

“It doesn’t make sense. The males who are creating these laws are dumb because how would it be if they had daughters? How would they feel? What would happen if they had gotten raped? Now, that would have been a whole story because their daughters deserve justice, right? But what about every single woman, every single girl out here? It doesn’t make sense how they can make laws about our bodies. It’s a human right, not some little argument,” Woodside sophomore Michelle Haro stated.

Roe v. Wade was a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. (Guttmacher Insitute)

Since its implementation, all safe abortions in Texas have stopped. Texas abortion providers are going back to the Supreme Court to expedite a challenge to the law; they argue that the law is taking away women’s rights. Citizens are now unleashing lawsuits against other citizens and doctors, lawsuits that are beyond the control of the anti-abortion movement. Meanwhile, other states such as Florida are considering the bill as well as other states.

“It comes down to having more diverse representation in our government and our laws. It’s been a long time where men had the luxury of deciding what to do with women and their bodies.” Cifuentes concluded. “As long as we continue to push for that, my wish is that we are moving forwards. It’s someone’s body, and it’s their decision.”