Trigger Warning: This article lightly discusses rape, which may be triggering for some readers. If you or someone you know is dealing with sexual assault, there are resources that can help. To reach the Sexual Abuse Hotline, U.S. readers can call 1-800-656-4673 and U.K readers can dial 0800 0288 022.
This past week, Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, signed a bill that would ban abortions after only 6 weeks, with no exceptions for rape. This newly-formed law, titled the Heartbeat Bill, makes it nearly impossible to have an abortion under any circumstance. 6 weeks is roughly how long it takes to realize your period is overdue, let alone get tested, and schedule an appointment to have the abortion procedure. This isn’t the first heartbeat bill to be signed. At least 8 similar bills have been passed nationwide in states like Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, and Kentucky. With that being said, not a single one has been put into effect due to the fact they directly contradict the Roe v. Wade law. Signed in 1973, this law makes getting an abortion a constitutional right. So what sets this heartbeat bill apart? Greg Abbot’s bill allows anyone in the US to sue medical professionals who perform abortions, including those who don’t live in Texas or have any relation to the doctors there. This separates the State from the law, making it much harder for abortion advocates to sue and get the bill repealed.
The Health Importance of Legalized Abortion
One of the most important things to note about this law is that regardless of whether or not abortion is legal, people need to, and will get, abortions. What legalized abortion does is offer a safe and sterile way to do so. According to the National Library of Medicine, in 1955, prior to the legalization of abortion, it was estimated between 200,000 and 1,200,000 people had illegally induced abortions. However, the higher number was said to have been more probable. The fact remains that people will go to great lengths to have an abortion in times of desperation, oftentimes resorting to medication, chemicals, or other injurous methods to prevent having the baby. Moreover, the National Library of Medicine also stated that illegal abortion can be up to 30% more fatal than legal abortion. These statistics show us just how important legalized abortion is for the health and safety of all Americans. There is nothing pro-life about allowing citizens to risk death just to prevent having to give birth.
Stopping Abortion At Its Source
Nearly 50% of abortion procedures are given to those under the federal poverty line and 12% of abortion patients were under 19. Oftentimes, those in the lower class don’t have access to adequate safe-sex education, contraceptive, sexual health clinics, and other vital resources to preventing pregnancy. While the U.S. can’t eliminate cases of rape or incest, it can fund programming for youth about how to practice safe-sex, which in turn would lower the need of abortions in the first place.
How You Can Help
This is a legal issue that relies heavily on what happens in court, as opposed to the actions civilians could take; however, there are several ways to get involved. If you’re from outside the United States, you could donate to organizations like Planned Parenthood, which directly helps those needing abortions, birth control, and safe-sex education. If you reside in the U.S. contact your local Planned Parenthood or sexual health clinic to find out how you can get involved! Volunteering, protesting, signing petitions, signing petitions and making phone calls are all great first steps. As always, advocacy is crucial for resolution. Spreading awareness about what is going on in Texas is a fantastic way to get more people involved. In a situation like this: the more, the merrier.
Abortion is vital to American safety and the legalization of it is a major asset for keeping the U.S. healthy. Whether you agree or disagree with the concept of abortion, having it as a legal option gives people much-needed security and without it, entire communities are put at risk. We need to keep abortion legal, for our country, for everyone.
For the third time in some people’s university careers, lecturers and support staff at a number of UK universities are going on strike. They are striking due to issues around casualisation (a large percentage of staff are on zero-hour contracts, and are working second jobs to keep afloat), pension changes, low pay and high workload. Many students are against the strikes, as we miss out on contact hours, meetings, lectures, seminars and assignments that we technically pay for.
First of all, what is a strike? A strike occurs when a workforce is unhappy with the way they are treated by an employer (in this case, the University itself), so they withdraw their labour, and stop working altogether in protest of conditions. The most famous strike is likely the miners strike of 1984, in which the miners union protested mass closures of mines. The miners withdrew their labour and threw the country into turmoil, as there was now no one mining for coal (which the country relied on at the time). A picket line is something commonly associated with a strike. A picket line is a physical line that staff will stand on (usually outside of their place of work), which they will not cross to go into work, and will encourage others to also not cross.
It is important to remember that those who choose to strike don’t get paid for their time doing so, and many run the risk of damaging their careers, as employers obviously don’t care for people who strike.
You might be thinking, why do strikes affect me? I’m not a miner, or a factory worker, or a lecturer! The thing is, strikes affect everyone. University staff striking affects the students who are missing out on contact hours, the families of the striking staff who are going without pay, the parents of students who are paying for university, the university itself and many other companies who work with the university to provide a service or run events.
However, the most important thing about striking, in my opinion, is whether you support them or not. Here are some things you can do if you support the strikes:
And if you don’t support the strikes (which is completely within your rights, please don’t let another person shame you or put you down for not supporting something!):