U.S. Supreme Court Has America Antsy 

Katherine Holloway, Staff Writer

Abortion access for all! (Credit: @acluofiowa on Instagram)

For years the topic of abortion has been highly controversial and is usually due to religious beliefs, feelings towards sexual permissiveness, or disregard of women’s rights. In May of 2021, Texas passed a law called “The Texas Heartbeat Act” which states that abortion is not allowed after the detection of a fetus’s heartbeat. This means that if someone is six weeks pregnant, they cannot have an abortion in Texas because that is when a fetal heartbeat is usually first detected. The law has no exceptions to rape, sexual abuse, or incest.  

This law impacts not only female adults in need of abortions but also teenagers. According to World Population Review, every year, around 35,000 women in Texas get pregnant before the age of 20, and teenage pregnancies are practically impossible to terminate due to this new law. Texas has allowed a judicial bypass within the state which allows a minor to get an abortion without the consent of their guardians. However, it is not logistically feasible due to the short timetable. Between even realizing the potential of pregnancy, taking a pregnancy test, getting through the judicial bypass process, and on top of that, the state’s 24-hour waiting period before the expiration of the six-week mark is nearly impossible.  

The Texas abortion law differs from other states’ attempts to restrict abortions. There is an enforcement mechanism that allows private citizens to be awarded $10,000 for a successful lawsuit against an abortion provider. The U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing cases challenging Texas’s new abortion law.  

In Georgia, the governor signed a similarly restrictive abortion law in 2019, but the U.S. Supreme Court blocked it as unconstitutional. There are concerns that Georgia lawmakers could now be considering a law with citizen enforcement if the supreme court does not uphold the challenges to the Texas law. There are concerns that laws like Texas’s may be enacted in other states if the Supreme Court does not maintain balance within the states. 

According to the CDC, Georgia teen birth rates have decreased from 52.7 per thousand females aged 15 to 19 in 2005 to 19.7 per thousand in 2019. If Georgia were to enact strict abortion laws similar to Texas, that could reverse the trend.  

 Sarah De Atley, a sophomore at Roswell High School, expresses their feelings and thoughts when asked about their perspective on Texas’s abortion law and teen pregnancy, saying that they “are not a fan of the law” and deem it unfair to those in desperate need of abortions. 

A former student also from Roswell shares her input on the same topics. She explains that she has a couple of friends from college that had unplanned pregnancies and the backstories behind them. “One was sexually assaulted, and the other was in an abusive relationship. They both opted for an abortion.” She expresses that her friends were scared, and their hearts felt torn, but she cannot imagine what it would have been like for them if they were forced to carry to term. She also expresses concern about the more restrictive laws like Texas’ and how they will impact women, especially teens.   

All of the states keep watch of what happens to “The Texas Heartbeat Act” and if the outcome will change how they choose to handle safe abortions. Whether the U.S. Supreme Court declares this law unconstitutional or not could hugely impact women and their rights as human beings.