Opinions & Editorials

The Law’s flawed but affirmed the right to live

A response to “The horror of Texas’ new abortion law”

By Hunter Ellis, Multimedia Managing Editor

It’s 1948, and countries around the world are reckoning with a tragedy. Just three years earlier, World War II had come to an end after an estimated 40 million people died as a result of a mass genocide.

In the wake of this chapter in history, 48 countries from six continents gathered in Paris to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As decided in Paris, one of these fundamental rights to which every human is entitled is the right to life.

The controversy over the individual’s right to life continues three quarters of a century later — whether it’s the threat to human rights posed by the Taliban in Afghanistan or the debate on abortion here in the U.S. 

Inherently, that’s what the Texas Heartbeat Act is about — the right to life for the unborn child. My colleague Grace Hamilton wrote last week in a piece titled “The horror of Texas’s new abortion law” that the law was instead a bounty, only interested in control over women.

While I agree that the law truly contains some horrible oversights, I believe it’s a step in the right direction in terms of the protection of life itself.

But, before we take steps to prohibit abortion, we should focus on other methods of protecting everyone’s right to life, and we should especially focus on supporting women. 

As Hamilton rightfully points out in her piece, we should spend more money on sex education and birth control.

Many young adults recieve a very limited scope of sex education during school — mostly just abstinence education and training. However, according to many studies, this method has proven ineffective, and it has been for a long time.

A study from the mid-2000s by the Guttmacher Institute noted 75% of people have engaged in premarital sex by age 20. The potential intimacy of sex is degraded as sex becomes more normalized by modern hookup culture.

Given that abstinence training is ineffective, it’s important that our society and our lawmakers prioritize rethinking our sex education and offering free, readily accessible contraceptives. 

In addition, as Hamilton noted, the bill offers no protection for women who are the victims of rape or incest to recieve abortions. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott addressed this concern last week.

“Texas will work tirelessly to make sure we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas,” Abbott said.

While it’s an admirable aspiration, it’s frankly unattainable and unacceptable that women in those situations weren’t considered for exceptions as a part of the law. Until we have a solution to stop all rape, which will likely never happen, it is important to offer women the option of an abortion in these circumstances.

Lastly, Hamilton says in her piece that “they don’t care…,” and lists a number of prevalent issues tied to the fight for every person’s right to life. However, I believe that many do in fact care about each of these issues. 

We should care about fixing the foster care system, which attempts to accommodate around 500,000 children, fails to support hundreds overworked and undertrained caretakers and leaves 20,000 individuals who age out of the system to fend for themselves each year.

We should care about supporting mothers who may have trouble paying for medical bills or financially supporting their child.

We should care about abolishing the death penalty, too, as Ohio Reps. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) and Adam Miller (D-Columbus) proposed to the House this year.

We should ensure that all forms of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide remain illegal across the United States.

Each issue is something that we should care about. If we want to promote a society that values human life, we need to prioritize each one of those issues instead of solely focusing on stopping abortion.

If we want to truly believe in the natural and inalienable right of all humankind to life, I implore us all to shift our focus to making the fight for life universal in its approach. Together, we can work to move forward, creating a new society focused on the importance and inherent dignity of human life.

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