My home state for seven generations, Texas, has done a lot of wacky things but the new assault on women tops the list.
Women in Texas can no longer get safe abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, which we all know is well before many women know they are pregnant. This is the strictest abortion ban in the country and provides no exceptions for rape.
The law also allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone else who helps a woman obtain an abortion, including those who do as little as provide a ride to a clinic or lend a helping hand financially.
It’s obvious this is bad for anyone who is pro-choice. But that’s not why I am mad.
I’m steamy angry because this law puts all the responsibility for pregnancy (news flash! It takes two!) and child-raising on women. There is not one shred of accountability for fathers. Zip, zero.
And while Texas’ legislators have the audacity to take away women’s rights to control their own bodies, they don’t have the decency to step up and help women and children in even the smallest ways.
Food for thought:
- Texas lags behind other states in collection of child support. Only 60% of legally owed child support is actually paid nationally but Texas doesn’t even get that far. Good news! We do have a database of top offenders, although having gone through this process myself I can tell you that no single mother has the time to jump through all the bureaucratic hoops to get their dead beat other on this list.
- Texas ranks last in the U.S. in healthcare and affordability. Largely this is because we don’t like to accept “free” money from the federal government and so we snubbed our noses at Medicaid funds that were readily available. (Of course we know how great going it on our own is because we did so well last winter when our power grid shut down. But what’s a few dead adults?)
- Texas ranks #35 in K-12 education. We are failing to graduate one out of five students.
- Child care costs are out of sight because we do not provide reasonable assistance. In order to meet the federal recommendation for the percentage of child care costs to income ratio, a family with ONE INFANT in Texas needs to make $140,000 per year. Laughable.
- One in seven Texans goes hungry today. The new fancy word for this is food insecurity but it hurts all the same.
- Nearly six out of ten minimum wage workers in Texas is a woman. She makes $7.25 per hour and there is absolutely no way to support herself and a child on this income working 40 hours a week. (So don’t tell me it’s about pulling yourself up by the bootstraps.) Additionally, women in Texas make 81 cents to every dollar working the same jobs that men work.
- Unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is inaccessible to 62 percent of working people in Texas. Without leave and without child care or a responsible father just how is a woman supposed to support her family?
The list of inequities continues but the message is clear: this law is a misogynistic, mean-spirited attack on women without regard to the lives of women, babies and children. Every woman, including pro-life advocates, should be concerned.
– Susan Jones Knape