Column: My heartbeat heartbreak


Photo credit: Azel Al-Kadiri

As women, we have a moral obligation to advocate for our reproductive rights. The Heartbeat Act of Texas reminds us that they are not promised. No matter what, remember that it is your body and it is your choice.

By Azel Al-Kadiri, Columnist

On Sept. 1, I lowered my head in agony. A new law was passed in Texas, officially banning abortions after six weeks, a time period in which most pregnant women are unaware if they have conceived. The Heartbeat Act can only be described as an act of war against the reproductive rights of women. Right now, as a young woman, I am confused, devastated and frightened. But above all, I am angry.  

Let’s get one thing straight: abortion is not a black and white issue — it’s a complex shade of gray. To the pro-life advocates, I understand you. I recognize the value of human life and the equality of all people. If a woman does not want to have an abortion she should not have one; it is her body and she deserves the right to choose. 

While I understand that the pro-life coalition contains a diverse group of people, I can’t help but observe that the loudest voices seem to be men. In fact, of the 83 Texas representatives that voted “yes” on the Heartbeat Act, 75 were men. Meaning, the pool of voters on an abortion law was 90% male. Do you see the problem? I will never understand why communities of men are so utterly consumed and obsessed with telling women what to do with their bodies. Are we still saying it’s about a heartbeat? About not wanting to“’kill” human life, really? 

The Heartbeat Act does not only apply to women who don’t want to have children — it applies to all women and girls, including victims of incest and rape. Texas has left no room for ethical and moral exceptions. There is no space for women who have suffered. 

Still, a woman’s reproductive rights should not be questioned based on circumstance. The story behind her conception is irrelevant. She is entitled to an abortion.

The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, responded to the backlash after the law was announced, and said, “Goal number one in the state of Texas is to eliminate rape so that no woman, no person, will be a victim of rape.”

What a lovely sentiment Governor Abbott, good luck arresting every rapist in Texas. In the meantime, women will continue to be sexually assaulted every day and have their lives endangered as regulated and safe abortion clinics are now illegal in the state. 

Instead, Governor Abbot, you got to sign the abortion law. You, a man, and a group of more men who somehow feel that they have the right to dictate what women do with their bodies. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

If that wasn’t enough to worry about there are additional concerns surrounding the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court. This revolutionary decision ensured the Constitution protects a pregnant women’s right to an abortion.

However, with the Supreme Court currently working on other serious reproductive cases in the country, there is a serious possibility that Roe v. Wade could be overturned. Only sending a national echo for increasingly restrictive abortion laws. 

Let’s be clear. This isn’t a Texas issue, it’s an American one. 

Women in the United States should all be scared that in 2021 their reproductive rights are still being challenged so vigorously. The reality of limited abortion access in America is sickening to me. How can a human right be a topic of debate? Why is the debate so often hijacked by the opinions of men? 

Ladies, The Heartbeat Act is a sobering reminder of how much work is still left to be done. It’s our responsibility to speak out and mobilize in support of a women’s right to choose. 

Stand in solidarity with women and help the Texas abortion crisis. If you can, please donate to organizations fighting the state’s abortion ban: Fund Texas Choice, Texas Equal Access Fund, Jane’s Due Process, Whole Woman’s Health and Clinic Access Support Network.