The radical Texas anti-abortion law has unintentionally drawn a fat red target on Latina women. And that means women everywhere are outraged. Today, signed and passed into law today by governor Rick Perry, is Texas's SB5, described as "inhumane to all women" according to writers at the Guardian.
The new bill will first ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. But that isn't even the worst of it. The bill specifically mandates that clinics that perform abortions must upgrade their facilities and be classified as ambulatory surgical centers, which means money, paperwork, and drowning already-overwhelmed clinics in the bureaucratic process that is public health. Among other things, doctors will also be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. In a state like Texas, that's a challenge in itself.
Ultimately, these new requirements will cause the closure of 37 of the state's 42 abortion clinics, essentially using local government and regional legal loopholes to ban abortion in the state of Texas.
Despite Senator Wendy Davis's bid to block the bill with an almost 11-hour filibuster and the outrage of reproductive rights organizations where more than a thousand pro-choice and anti-abortion demonstrators packed the state capitol, Texas passed one of the most stringent abortion bills in the United States, making Texas the focus of nationwide abortion-rights activism.
Underneath the clearly massive issue that is the legal right to women's choice, Latina women will be disproportionately affected by the new legislation. Due to religious and traditional culture, Latin American women are the ethnic group in Texas with the highest teen pregnancy rates, the most likely to be uninsured, and the hardest hit by the wage gap. Simply put, the bill is designed to start off on the wrong foot.
In response, it's fairly easy to predict the result. Women will be forced to put their health in jeopardy because it will cause a new kind of desperation for "undesirables," i.e., the women who already live on the fringes. Women will travel to Mexico for the abortion pill, or find unregulated, potentially dangerous, underground, and illegal services to get the job done themselves.
But all hope is not yet lost. "The next battle is going to be a court challenge. Immediately. Without question," said Democratic state Senator Royce West to the Huffington Post. "As soon as it's signed by the governor, it's going to be challenged." Thankfully, this means that the voice of women in Texas may yet still be heard on the national stage.