Everything You Need To Know About The Texas Abortion Ban
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Everything You Need To Know About The Texas Abortion Ban

My body, my choice is a lie.

Women's Health

It was 48 years ago when the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a 7-2 decision in the case of Roe v. Wade. This single case granted women in the United States the fundamental right to choose whether or not to have abortions without excessive government restriction. And it was four months ago when Texas state Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that makes abortion procedures illegal six weeks into a pregnancy. Thus, making it one of the nation's strictest abortion measures.

How? Most women don't even know they are pregnant at six weeks.

At the bill signing ceremony, Governor Abbott stated:

"Our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion."

​And recently, SCOTUS ruled in support of the Texas abortion ban.

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The Supreme Court justices once ruled Texas abortion bans as unconstitutional and now, they have ruled Texas's newest abortion ban as constitutional. If this doesn't scream contradictory, I don't know what does. I want to clarify that abortion is not illegal in the state of Texas nor is it illegal nationwide. But abortion is becoming less accessible.

Other states can regulate and limit the use of abortion. States with"trigger laws"or unenforced pre-Roe abortion bans written into their laws include Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah. If Roe v. Wade was overturned, these laws can take immediate effect, making abortion illegal within the first and second trimesters.

What is even scarier is the Supreme Court is scheduled to consider the constitutionality of abortion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. This case concerns a Mississippi law that bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This same case can ultimately upend Roe v. Wade, leaving abortion rights unprotected in 34 states and five U.S. territories.

What The Texas Abortion Ban Means

The Texas abortion ban, also known as Senate Bill 8, almost prohibits abortion completely, as 85 to 90 percent of abortions happen at the sixth week of pregnancy in Texas. The law states if a doctor can detect a heartbeat, then they cannot perform an abortion. The only exception is for women with medical emergencies. However, Whole Woman's Health, a clinic in Texas reports 90 percent of women who come into their clinic are more than six weeks into their pregnancy. This also means that a woman has six weeks from the first day of their last period to end their pregnancy. This leaves women with at least one to two weeks to make a difficult and emotional life decision. But we all know biology doesn't work that way.

What is different about this specific law is the way it is structured. It was designed to make it difficult to fight abortion cases in court. It also incentivizes abortion providers to comply with the law. According to theTexas Tribune, Senate Bill 8 relieves the government from enforcing the law and allows private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps someone get an abortion after a fetal "heartbeat" has been detected.

And here is the plot twist: the law doesn't require the person suing to be someone who is connected to the person who had the abortion or connected to the provider. So, basically, anyone who is anti-abortion can sue anyone who is in support of abortion.

Yes. You read that correctly.

Because of the broad language of the bill, family members, abortion funds, rape crisis counselors and medical professionals could be open to a lawsuit. What this also means if an abortion case is brought to court, and a judge sided with the plaintiff (the person suing), he or she would be awarded at least $10,000 and costs for attorney's fees. While Senate Bill 8 doesn't allow rapists to sue, it shows no mercy to victims of rape or incest.

Women who are victims of rape, sexual assault, and/or incest are equally subjected to this law too. But the problem is most women do not report rape or any type of sexual violence when it happens.

In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Senator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded to Abbot's comments about eliminating rapists and allowing women reasonable time to get an abortion.

"I'm sorry we have to break down Biology 101 on national television, but in case no one has informed him before in his life, six weeks pregnant means two weeks late for your period. And two weeks late on your period ... can happen if you're stressed, if your diet changes, or for really no reason at all. So, you don't have six weeks."

The Texas abortion ban would also require doctors that are sued to report the lawsuit upon renewal of their medical licenses. And 24 hours before the law went into effect in Texas, patients were waiting five to six hours to have their procedures done at one of the Whole Woman's Health Texas locations.

The Supreme Court’s Decision

TheNew York Timesreports the Supreme Court's decision resulted from a 5-4 split vote. In the12-page Supreme Court opinion, it states the application for injunctive relief is denied.

"The applicants now before us have raised serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law at issues. But their application also presents complex and novel questions antecedent procedural questions on which they have not carried their burden."

The written opinion goes onto explain:

"And it is unclear whether the named defendants in this lawsuit can or will seek to enforce Texas law against the applicants in a manner that might permit our intervention. The state has represented that neither it nor its executive employees possess the authority to enforce the Texas law either directly or indirectly. Nor is it clear whether, under existing precedent, this Court can issue an injunction against state judge asked to decide a lawsuit under Texas's law."

Translation? It means that the case brought before the Supreme Court did not strongly meet the burden requirement so that SCOTUS can intervene.

The dissenting justices also filed opinions. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, "The court's order is stunning. The court has rewarded the state's effort to delay federal review of a plainly unconstitutional statute, enacted in disregard of the court's precedents, through procedural entanglements of the state's own creation." Justice Sotomayor further stated, "The court should not be so content to ignore its constitutional obligations to protect not only the rights of women but also the sanctity of its precedents and of the rule of law."

Chief Justice Roberts wrote, "The statutory scheme before the court is not only unusual but unprecedented. The legislature has imposed a prohibition on abortions after roughly six weeks, and then essentially delegated enforcement of that prohibition to the populace at large. The desired consequence appears to be to insulate the state from responsibility for implementing and enforcing the regulatory regime."

Chief Justice Roberts did not deny the constitutionality of the Texas law either. He explains, "Although the court denies the applicants' request for emergency relief today, the court's order is emphatic in making clear that it cannot be understood as sustaining the constitutionality of the law at issue."

Justice Elena Kagan points out that the court's practice of deciding important issues in rushed decisions is problematic. She states that the court's shadow docket decision-making is "unreasoned, inconsistent, and impossible to defend." For context, shadow docket decision-making is when the court believes an applicant will suffer "irreparable harm" if the request is not immediately granted. This means decisions are at least a paragraph long, unsigned, and without a full briefing or oral arguments.

Can you imagine a court deciding an issue without hearing oral arguments? Because I cannot, but it does happen.

On a positive note, the Supreme Court's ruling is provisional.

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According to theNew York Times, challenges to the new Texas law is pending in the lower federal courts and they are able to work through complex issues of the case. I find it interesting that a 1973 abortion case that protected our abortion rights originated from Texas. Now a 2021 Texas abortion case limits access to abortion. And soon a Mississippi abortion case may overturn the same landmark case.

I asked a friend of mine, a local prosecutor, who wants to remain anonymous, their thoughts on the Texas abortion ban. This is what they had to say, "It's mean-spirited nonsense that should be found unconstitutional." My friend wasn't too sure on the procedural questions that the Supreme Court decided on, but agrees that their recent decision "definitely violates their precedent."

I have so many words, yet no words at all. Throughout our country's history, women have fought for their rights in multiple systems, industries, and spaces. We have fought for equality and our voices to be heard. And now in 2021, we are still being told what we can and cannot do with our bodies not only by men but by a system that does not understand the biology of a woman's body or respect a woman's bodily autonomy.

In the words of Tupac Shakur, "Since a man can't make one, he has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one."

Featured image by Getty Images

Five Things To Know Before Becoming A Dog Mom

This post is in partnership with Blue Buffalo.

So you’re thinking about becoming a dog mom? We love that for you! Having a happy, furry friend to greet you at the door each day, cuddle up on the couch with, and keep you in touch with the great outdoors is one of life’s greatest joys. And that’s before we get into all the cute puppy outfits there are to buy! But there are some key and non-negotiable things to know and consider before saying yes to bringing home a fur baby.

If having a pet is new to you, then naturally you might have tons of questions not only about how this new responsibility will transform your lifestyle, but also about how best to nurture your four-legged friend. Few things compare to the joy and companionship that a dog’s loyalty and love bring, but learning how to nurture and train them is a learning curve that requires equal parts preparation and patience. Once you find your rhythm, you and your furry new boo will form a bond that will add the brightest spark to your life.

If you ask any member of the canine crew you know, they’ll tell you they don't play about their babies! They’ll also probably give you a laundry list of things they wish they knew before bringing their new dog home for the first time. If you’re thinking about opening your doors to a new pup, there are a few things to prepare and assess. With the help of Blue Buffalo, a natural pet food brand trusted by millions of pet parents, we’ve rounded up five key things to know before joining the dog mom club.

1. Staying Active Is Key: Let’s keep it real — we all have days where we want nothing more than a 24-hour Netflix binge fest from the comfort of our couch. That’s especially true on a day where the weather is trash. We feel you on that. However, dog moms should make it a point to keep their pups active each day. Influencer Dynasti Hunt considers her Goldendoodle Aiden part of the family, and she loves to find creative ways to keep him moving rain or shine. “Aiden and I have realized the importance of staying active at home, even when the weather is bad outside,” says Dynasti, who loves spontaneous yoga and dance sessions with her adorable doggie.

2. Keep An Eye On Their Diets: Just like humans, our pals have to maintain a healthy, balanced diet in order to live long and quality lives. You might find it easy to tell what’s healthy to eat for yourself, but it can be a bit trickier to know the difference when it comes to pet food. Just because you see a product label with the words vegetarian, grain-free, or certified organic doesn’t automatically mean it’s the healthiest for your buddy at this particular stage in their life. Finding a trusted pet food brand like Blue Buffalo is key. They offer recipes for specific breed sizes, life stages, needs and preferences — this definitely comes in handy for picky eaters or dietary restrictions. For example, Aiden Da Doodle is allergic to chicken-based products, and thankfully BLUE allows Dynasti to choose from a variety of products that are formulated without chicken.

3: Use Treats Creatively: Are doggie treats the golden ticket to getting your pooch to act right? Yes, but they’re also good for so much more. Treats are great tools for positive reinforcement, whether you’re trying to potty train a young puppy or get them to learn tricks. Influencer Sauve Xavier, an Instagram comedian, who has gained over a million Instagram followers for his hilarious videos with his Dobermans Knox and Bear, says he plans clever scavenger hunts around his house as an incentive to keep his dogs active and challenged. Using BLUE Treats made with healthy ingredients, he’s able to dish out rewards without feeling guilty. Take it from the guy who can actually get his dog to help with chores.

4. Know That Planning Ahead Is Everything: If you are a first-time dog mom or thinking about becoming one, keeping your buddy on a schedule is going to be key. For example, potty-training puppies need to be walked every few hours so that you can keep the habit of going outside in and the possibility of them peeing on your precious rugs out. Most pets also need to be fed twice a day (morning and night.) What does this spell? Sacrifice. You’ll need to be present and arrive home in time to keep your dog’s routine going. So know that you won’t be able to indulge in spontaneous plans the way you might have before. This is most certainly a lifestyle change if you’re used to coming and going as you please, but the reward of raising a well-behaved pup is well worth it. You might also want to think about how you can recruit your partner, roommate, friends, or family to share in the responsibilities for those days when life happens and you’re ever in need of a little dog sitting help. You can also search the web for hired help if you’re in a pinch. Remember — it takes a village to raise a child (even a barking one)! Pro tip: Download the Buddies by Blue Buffalo app to get advice and tricks and plan for your pet parenthood adventures ahead.

5. Research Dog-Friendly Activities in Your Area: As you move about through life, you’ll find yourself looking for more and more dog-friendly places to go and things to do beyond just the local dog parks. Round up a list of bars, breweries, brunch spots, and shopping centers that welcome pups into their establishments. This will allow you to make the most of your days while being able to bring your pup along for the ride. It’ll also create opportunities for you to meet up with other dog moms and dads and arrange future play dates (or real dates with a fellow dog parent? Who knows)!

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