Updated: Dec 6, 2022
By McKenzie Ward
Each day, we get closer and closer to making Margaret Atwood’s “A Handmaid’s Tale” reality, and it is beyond terrifying.
On April 7, 2022, 26-year-old Lizelle Herrera was arrested by police for performing a “self-induced abortion,” according to Texas Public Radio. In a statement, the Starr County Sheriff’s department announced that Herrera was charged with murder for “intentionally and knowingly” causing “the death of an individual by self-induced abortion.”
Police held Herrera in custody on a $500,000 bond and on April 9, she was released from custody after an abortion rights advocacy group posted bail on her behalf, according to Texas Public Radio.
Thankfully, the District Attorney, Gocha Allen Ramirez, announced on April 10 that he had filed a motion to dismiss the charges against Herrera.
While Texas does have the most restrictive abortion laws in the country as of Sept. 2021, there is no law covering what Herrera is alleged to have done and Texas state law prohibits her from being charged with homicide for aborting her own pregnancy, according to the Associated Press.
And while the charges against Herrera were eventually dropped, her case is an example of the scary reality of abortion laws and the ability to access abortions in states controlled by Republicans.
On April 14, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis banned abortions after 15 weeks and just two days prior, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill that would make performing an abortion a felony in most cases, according to NPR. In Oklahoma, one may serve up to 10 years in prison for performing an abortion, according to The New York Times.
And while Massachusetts continues to have some of the widest access to abortion in the country, it is still terrifying to hear of states implementing laws to ban or restrict access to abortion.
At the federal level, there has been chatter among Republicans that the Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade, a landmark Supreme Court case from 1973 that constitutionally protects an individual’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.
Roe v. Wade’s fate will be decided in June.
Overturning Roe v. Wade would result in at least 13 states outlawing abortion outright, and many others would likely follow suit, according to Axios.
We cannot let our country rewind the clock 50 years.
We must demand change.
Last October, President Joe Biden’s administration released the National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, which outlines the administration’s policies and goals in these areas, according to The White House.
The administration vowed to protect the constitutional right that those with uteruses have in terms of access to abortion because of Roe v. Wade while also promoting access to reproductive health and rights, both in the United States and abroad.
However, during the president’s State of the Union address on March 1, 2022, Biden only briefly mentioned the topic, and according to Time Magazine, he has yet to say the word “abortion” in any of his speeches as if he is afraid to despite it becoming a central campaign issue as we approach the midterm elections.
Biden needs to be more vocal about his support for preserving the right to an abortion and protecting an individual’s reproductive freedoms because what is happening across our country is terrifying.
Although Biden promised to protect the constitutional right to abortion access, I have yet to see enough from his administration and I am disappointed to say the least.
This November, we will be having midterm elections and abortion will be on the ballot in terms of candidates. Who you vote for will determine whether individuals will have control over their own reproductive destinies.
Your vote is more than just a fill-in box.
Your vote can determine whether others like myself will have the final say over what happens to their bodies.