The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Dyer examines Texas abortion roadblocks

“We give them more than a choice – we give them a chance.”

At a forum titled “Access Denied II: The State of Women in Texas,” which took place on Wednesday in the Women’s Center, Gretchen Dyer stated this phrase as she explained the work that the nonprofit organization she works for, Texas Equal Access Fund, does for women across the state of Texas.

Specifically, this fund works to promote equal access to abortion for all women, yet directly targets the poor and disadvantaged, who nearly always have more trouble fulfilling their need for an abortion.

She began by describing a typical client named Caroline, a 17-year-old resident of Rowlett, Texas. Caroline, the daughter of a single mom who was both mentally and physically disabled, found out she was pregnant, yet did not have the means or method to get an abortion.àCaroline knew that Texas law would not allow her to get an abortion without parental consent, but she also knew that her mother’s fragile state is incapable of handling such drastic news, and Caroline feared her mother might commit suicide after hearing the news.

As Caroline sought the help of the Texas Equal Access Fund, she became aware that she needed to speak before a judge and receive a judicial bypass, allowing her to receive her abortion. Unfortunately, the cost still lingered in the air.

While Caroline will most likely receive her judicial bypass and go through with the abortion with some monetary support from the Texas Equal Access Fund, hundreds of other women in Texas find it tougher and tougher to get an abortion.Since Roe vs. Wade, abortion has been a fully legal process, yet anti-abortion groups have taken measures to ensure that access will be denied to anyone other than upper-middle class white females.

Numerous restrictive laws have been formulated to obstruct the road to abortion, including the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal Medicaid funds to be used by the states to pay for abortions, and numerous laws that make it more difficult for abortion clinics to stay in business, forcing them to pass on the increase in cost to their clients.à

While the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex houses the largest number of abortion clinics than any other metroplex location, Texas laws, dubbed “trap laws,” are targeted specifically at abortion providers “to complicate and obstruct the process.”à

Examples of unnecessary “trap laws” include many specifications, such as the width of doorways and halls in the clinics, the distance between the table from the recliner in recovery rooms, the 24-hour waiting periods, the length of time the paperwork needs to stay on file, up to five years in some cases, and the social barriers of the fear and stigma surrounding abortion.

Dyer believes that the true problem with the restricted access to abortion rests in Margaret Sanger’s original quote stated in 1916, “No women is free who cannot control her own body.”

Therefore, the reason abortion is critical is that when women are unable to control the number of kids they have, they can no longer control anything else in their lives, such as their health and their economic standing.à Dyer said that since “they have no option” they are kept “in subordination and second class citizenship.” The bottom line is that “abortion is a fundamental human right” bearing power over all other rights.

As the forum came to a close, Dyer ended with numerous examples of patients she has come into contact with. For example, Rosaria, a mentally handicapped 8-year-old who was raped by a family member and had no mental capacity to consent to an abortion, received no assistance from the state of Texas and without the help of the Texas Equal Access Fund would have been in a grave condition.à

Though this story and the others she told may seem extreme, Dyer said they are normal occurrences.

Dyer challenged the group to consider all of the voices in our society, including the poor and disadvantaged women, and make equal access, not only of abortion but of all rights, a goal for everyone’s lives in the future.

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