Thoughts on the Recent Overturning of an Abortion-Related Law in Tennessee

By Lorena Grajales, News Editor–

On Wednesday Oct. 14, U.S. Senior District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled the 2015 law that mandated a 48 and 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions unconstitutional. Friedman argued that women did not need the “mental clarity” sought by the lawmakers because 95% of women are already certain about their decision and establishing that waiting period just makes a difficult decision even worse. “Defendants have failed to show that the challenged mandatory waiting period protects fetal life or the health of women in Tennessee. It is apparent that this waiting period unduly burdens women’s right to an abortion and is an affront to their ‘dignity and autonomy,’ ‘personhood’ and ‘destiny,’ and ‘conception of . . . [their] place in society,’” Friedman said.

Personally, I believe a woman’s bodily autonomy should not be up for debate in politics or left in the hands of men. Rules and regulations should not be put in place that are derived from religious beliefs or views nor should they be established to take away from the “freedom” that this country is supposed to offer to its citizens. With the overturning of this law, women in Tennessee will have the option to go through the procedure more safely and without the obstacles put in place to deter them.

Being pro-choice means that regardless of your perspective on abortion, you recognize that it is not your place to force a woman to make decisions over her own body. I still don’t understand the perspective of other women when they say “if I was in that situation, I would choose to keep the baby.” Hearing that, I shake my head because they just unknowingly declared themselves pro-choice. If as a society we were realistically and profoundly worried about keeping all lives protected, we would worry about what happens to those lives after they are born. We would prioritize healthcare, shelter, education, livable wages, food, and more for those lives. But all those things that are meant for an honorable and decent life are up for debate as well. Therefore, it seems to me it’s more about setting policies in place to control women, not because these politicians are actually “pro-life”. I still wonder how there are laws forcing women to go through a full-term pregnancy, but as soon as some men find out they will be fathers, they choose to leave without consequence, never to be part of the child’s life.

At the end of the day, if a stranger getting an abortion for reasons that do not concern anyone else but themselves and their medical professional affects your everyday life so intensely, I’m afraid we are not headed in a unified direction for the good of the country. We never know a woman’s story, her background, her reasons, or her challenges. Igniting hatred will not make her change her mind, it just causes division and selfish politicians to take advantage of that for their own career advantages.

Luckily, Tennessee will now be a safer state for women to make their own decisions without the input of angry mobs and right-stripping laws. I know I’ll be minding my own business, not judging others on their personal journeys, to which they don’t owe me any explanations. With the upcoming election, I hope to see the next four years complemented with protection of basic human rights in all aspects.

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