Modern society is characterized by rapid development in all spheres, but some aspects still cause debate. The right to life is a fundamental human right, without which all other rights and freedoms are meaningless. However, the problem of abortion is still relevant, especially in Texas, the United States of America, where the issue of legalization is quite acute. This is since the State and international law have not yet found an unambiguous answer to it. To determine the exact attitude of the public to this problem, it is necessary to refer not only to the scientific literature but also to study media sources. It is often in them that people’s opinions about current problems in society are more fully defined.
- How the right to legal abortion in Texas can change women’s lives?
- What is the attitude of people and media toward the law?
This issue is of particular importance because everyone has the right to choose. This right also includes the decision to leave a child or terminate the pregnancy. However, the state authorities continue to restrict this right of the female population. The birth of an unwanted child can have great social consequences for society. This is due to the fact that a pregnant woman cannot have enough money to support a new family member and, for example, can leave the child in the care of social services, which can be a traumatic experience. Many women resort to the help of underground medicine, which can even end in death.
Media is an integral part of modern society, forming and transmitting people’s opinions about current issues. That is why the second question of the study examines how views about the new law convey the opinions of the population. Future research proves that the attitude towards this innovation is more negative. Thus, the mass media has helped to become a useful platform for spreading awareness about this problem. These actions may contribute to the formation of various movements that may contribute to changing the abortion law in the State of Texas.
This paper used the following structure to address the stated research question. First, the introduction section served to discuss the study purpose, the problem, and the objectives of the research. The literature review section summarized the findings of prior studies in the context of the research questions. The methodology section presented a general research design and methods of data collection and analysis. The analysis and findings sections presented key outcomes and implications of the study. The conclusion served for the summarization of responses to the key study questions.
A literary review showed that the state social insurance Medicaid has an effect on abortions only in cases of rape, incest, and threats to the mother’s life. In other cases, women are required to pay for the procedure themselves. In contrast to all previously adopted laws, Texas has assigned the functions of supervising compliance with the ban to citizens. That is, those who have information about the implementation of abortions or about assistance in their implementation can sue the person or organization involved while receiving remuneration. The court can prohibit the execution of laws by officials, but the court cannot prohibit citizens from executing the law, such as the legislative conflict. The US Supreme Court could block the Texas law, but the innovative approach of Texans and the conservative composition of the body led to the refusal of the Supreme Court to deal with this issue.
This section summarizes the findings of the previous studies in the context of women’s rights to get an abortion procedure and examination of media outlets. Moreover, a study of literary and media sources showed that most people remained dissatisfied with the new decision of the state government. The usefulness of the media as a tool for shaping public opinion is due to the fact that they have a direct impact on emotions and feelings. Furthermore, their influence is manifested in the impact of repeating certain information.
Therefore, many activists emphasize that termination of an unwanted pregnancy is one of the medical factors negatively affecting the reproductive health of the female population of the country. However, the introduction of restrictions on this procedure is a restriction on the rights of pregnant women. Moreover, Texas “rewards anyone who helps to prosecute successfully anyone helping a woman to break the law with a reward of $10 000” (Tanne, 2021, p. 1). This is directly related to such areas of interest as health and psychological situation. On the other hand, the pro-life movement underlines that the law ensures the protection of the future life of another person. For this reason, people who support abortion believe that a woman’s constitutional right to privacy does not give her the freedom to decide on an abortion procedure.
Specific methods are used to structure and analyze existing information and are selected depending on the purpose of the study. The method of qualitative data analysis was chosen for this work. This kind of research aims to obtain detailed information about the subject of the study. Unlike quantitative methods, they focus not on statistical measurements but on understanding, explaining, and interpreting data based on experience and help form the research’s goals and objectives. In a qualitative study, data analysis occurs during the direct conduct of the study. To build more effective judgments, the author should be guided by the initial empirical data.
To find the necessary literature, the Google Scholar platform was chosen, which allows you to find the necessary sources in accordance with a certain time interval. Works released over the past five years were used for the work. To search for the necessary research, keywords such as “the right to abortion”, “abortion in the United States of America”, “the right to abortion in Texas”, “useful properties of abortion”, “media about the termination of pregnancy”, “how the legalization of abortion has affected women’s lives” were used.
After the conduction of literary research some useful evidence were found about the abortion rights for women in Texas. White et al. (2021) wrote that “on May 19, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 (SB 8) into law” (p.1). This law prohibits abortion upon identification of fetal cardiac activity and enables anyone to claim abortion service providers and others involved who help and facilitate a woman receiving abortion.
Analysis of literature and media sources has shown that this problem has been widely discussed by the media. The source The Texas Tribune states that “abortion rights advocates have promised to challenge the new law, which they consider one of the most extreme nationwide and the strictest in Texas since the landmark Roe v. Wade decision” (para. 5). O’Brien (2021) in her article tells about the attitude of famous media figures to the new law. Thus, the author emphasizes that Whoopi Goldberg accused the state of punishing women and called this measure insane. The advantage of this law is that it “allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone else who helps a woman obtain an abortion – including those who give a woman a ride to a clinic or provide financial assistance to obtain an abortion” (Mccammon, 2021, para. 2). This opens up the possibility of hope that soon women will be given a chance to defend their rights and achieve the legalization of abortion procedures, with substantial evidence that thereby termination of pregnancy can lead to negative consequences.
Therefore, many studies confirm the theory of the harmful effects of abortion. Goodwin and Chemerinsky emphasize that “49% of pregnancies in the United States are unintended” (p. 1190).The Guardian (2018) states that “according to the latest UN global estimates, 303,000 women a year die in childbirth” (para. 1). Women who have not given birth to children before are at greater risk from the consequences of abortion. During a woman’s pregnancy, the body is being reshaped, and with an artificial termination of pregnancy, the reverse process may not occur immediately.
The period of such a woman giving birth can take three or four months, and when the fetus is removed from an unborn woman, the period may take about a year or even more. Moreover, the severe consequences of abortion of a psychological nature are no less threatening to a woman’s health than physical ones. Often, a woman, especially after the first artificial termination of pregnancy, is faced with a lack of appetite, despair, guilt, apathy, and prolonged depression. Many people have a terrible sleep, accompanied by nightmares, and sometimes there is alcohol addiction.
Even though there are different opinions about abortion, both supporters and opponents recognize murder as ethically unacceptable. When taking into consideration the Texas law, people are fighting against it by creating different campaigns. Therefore, McLean and Tymulis (2021) show that “to support the ban, a pro-life group named ‘Texas Right to Life’ has set up an anonymous tipline website for others to report suspected offenders and those involved with the process” (para. 3). The main point of view of abortion advocates is protecting women as a moral subject, that is, their right to make a choice. The restriction of the rights of the female sex to dispose of their health is a violation of their constitutional rights following the legislation of the United States of America.
Supporters of the ban believe that the right of an unborn child to exist prevails over the right of a woman to dispose of her body. Thereby enabling a pregnant woman to have an abortion, the state allows such a serious crime as murder (White et al., 2021a). Lawyers of this procedure contrast two basic human rights – freedom of conscience against the right to life. However, many studies prove that the fetus is not yet human in its development and cannot have its own rights.
In modern society, there are two positions in relation to this problem. There are people who support the “Pro-choice” movement for the legalization of abortions and those who demand their complete or partial prohibition of “Pro-life”. Media sources show that opponents of abortion believe that artificial abortion contradicts the principles of protection of motherhood and childhood. Moreover, many consider it as an interruption of the process of biological formation of a new person. This movement sees its main task as the introduction by the state of ensuring the protection of human life within the framework of national policy and laws (Pfeffer-Gillet, 2021). Furthermore, it is believed that it is impossible to protect the material and life situation of one person by depriving another human being of the right to life. Moreover, religion also appears to be an opponent of abortion. Its main postulates equate abortion with murder.
Supporters of legal termination of pregnancy see in it the right to choose, the right to dispose of their body, the right to family planning. Thus, it is considered that this is an entirely humane, legal, and safe abortion. Supporters of the legalization of abortion defend the possibility of a woman to decide on abortion due to certain life circumstances; in cases where there are medical contraindications. For example, when pregnancy and childbirth pose a real threat to the mother’s life or when pregnancy occurs against her will due to rape or incest.
The need to resort to abortion may also arise as a result of the discovery of the pathology of the child. Adoption issues are always a separate big and serious topic (White et al., 2016). Supporters of the movement believe that pregnancy is a normal physiological process, and abortion is one of the medical operations where a medical specialist and a patient solve all problems. The strong position here is that they can be considered a person and have the right to life only when they can live outside the mother’s body. The right to decide childbirth should remain with a woman, not with the government or politicians of her country.
In conclusion, it is vital to mention again the details of the law adopted regarding the abortion procedure in the United States. Instead of requiring the State to prosecute its violators, it gives the right to any private individuals to file civil lawsuits against medical institutions that perform abortions, doctors, or other persons who in one way or another helped in terminating a pregnancy. However, the women themselves who wished to have an abortion are not threatened with criminal prosecution. If the guilt of the violators is proved, they will be fined in the amount of ten thousand US dollars.
The role of the media in modern society has reached a fairly high level. Moreover, a media study has shown that people and public figures respond negatively to the new law in Texas. Many believe that these actions restrict the rights of women. Therefore, the study showed that information technologies play a significant role in shaping public opinion and are an effective way to convey people’s views. Thus, it can also be added that the media are a successful tool for spreading awareness about the problem of prohibitions on abortion.
Ford, L. (2018). Why do women still die giving birth?. The Guardian. Web.
Goodwin, M. B., & Chemerinsky, E. (2017). Abortion: A woman’s private choice. Texas Law Review, 95, 1189-1247. Web.
Mccammon, S. (2021). What the Texas abortion ban does – and what it means for other states. NPR. Web.
McLean, I., & Tymulis, D. (2021). People are fighting Texas’ abortion laws by spamming the anti-abortion tip line website in masterful ways. Bored Panda. Web.
Najmabadi, S. (2021). Gov. Greg Abbott signs into law one of nation’s strictest abortion measures, banning procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The Texas Tribune. Web.
O’Brien, C. (2021). Liberal “view” hosts rail against Texas abortion law: “It’s insane”. Fox News. Web.
Pfeffer-Gillet, A. (2021). Civil disobedience in the face of Texas’s abortion ban. SSRN 3919868. Web.
Tanne, J. H. (2021). Texas promises $10 000 for people who enforce the state’s new limit on abortions. BMJ. Web.
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White, K., Potter, J. E., Stevenson, A. J., Fuentes, L., Hopkins, K., & Grossman, D. (2016). Women’s knowledge of and support for abortion restrictions in Texas: findings from a statewide representative survey. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 48(4), 189-197.
White, K., Sierra, G., Dixon, L., Sepper, E., & Moayedi, G. (2021). Texas senate bill 8: Medical and legal implications. Research Brief, Texas Policy Evaluation Project, University of Texas at Austin.