New Abortion Laws in Texas: Is Nebraska Next?


Bella Watson

Gov. Pete Ricketts suggested that Nebraska policymakers implement similar legislation following the new Texas law. Photo courtesy of Lincoln Journal Star.

On Sept. 1, Texas enacted a new law banning most abortions effective immediately. The law bans all women from having abortions once a heartbeat can be heard, which is typically around the six-week mark and does not exempt victims of rape or incest. Texas’s new abortion law also includes nonviable pregnancies. The new legislation also rewards citizens for reporting abortions and acting against the institutions performing the medical procedure.

Since the passing of this bill, there have been a total of seven other states who claim they are working to join Texas in its new laws. Nebraska is one of them, and Gov. Pete Ricketts has made statements online that are in the support of Texas.

“I am pleased to see the law has taken effect in Texas, and we’ll be watching closely as we pull together our legislative plans with pro-life leaders here in Nebraska,” Ricketts said on his Twitter account on Sept. 2.

What our nation’s lawmakers are failing to realize is that these bans will not diminish the number of abortions that are happening. Women will continue to receive abortions, but without the security of seeing a qualified doctor in a medical facility. While it is no one’s business, especially someone who does not even have a uterus, a majority of women receiving abortions are doing so for their own well-being.

The law states that abortions are unethical once the fetus has a heartbeat, which is roughly around the sixth week of a woman’s pregnancy. At six weeks, a woman is most likely showing little to no signs of pregnancy, and a bump is usually not yet visible. The sixth week of pregnancy, if using the timeline used in the new Texas law, is only two weeks after a missed period.

Two weeks after a missed period, many women, especially those who have not been pregnant before, are just discovering that they are pregnant. The six-week timeline gives a woman nearly no time to have a safe abortion.

Women will now be forced to carry a child who is not compatible with life to term, even if the birth puts their own lives at risk. Children sexually assaulted are now forced to give birth to a child they had no control over creating. Victims of incest have no choice but to be pregnant with the child of their abuser.

When asked how cases of sexual assault and incest would be handled, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott responded that he will be “getting rid of rape.” The Texan offered no explanation as to how Texas would be fighting sexual assault or handling perpetrators, but insisted that it will no longer be an issue in their state.

It baffles me to watch my rights slowly slip away. As a woman, I feel as though the only human who deserves any say in my body is me. I do not believe that cisgender men who have lived privileged lives understand the strenuous circumstances that cause women to have abortions. Politicians speak about abortion like women are these demonized creatures who want to “kill babies” even though a fetus could not sustain on its own until the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy.

The pro-life movement also seems as though they are only pro-life for the unborn, because there is no talk about how Texas is going to help the 51,000 children in their foster care system. The Texas Tribune has called the number of children in their foster care system a “crisis,” but no plans of action have been put in place to find these children homes or safe temporary placement. Instead, they are more worried about dictating the choices a woman can make regarding her own body.

Women seeking abortions are not the monstrous villains that they have been made out to be. They are mothers, sisters, professors and so much more than their medical history.