Photographer John Marino, taken from Creative Commons

PCC students reacted with outrage at a new Texas abortion ban prohibits medical professionals from performing an abortion at six weeks when the supposed fetal heartbeat can be detected.

“I am definitely pro-choice. I think all women deserve the right to have control on what to do with their body. If the right of abortion were taken away from us, it’s scary because we are then out of control of ourselves,” freshman Annalisa Moreno said.

The new law uses the term fetal heartbeat as a way to determine that the fetus can be carried to term because of it’s cardiac activity. Medical professionals say that this is misleading because at six weeks the fetus has yet to develop a heart.

“At six weeks of gestation, those valves don’t exist. The flickering that we’re seeing on the ultrasound that early in the development of the pregnancy is actually electrical activity, and the sound that you ‘hear’ is actually manufactured by the ultrasound machine,” Dr. Nisha Verma said in an interview with NPR.

Despite the law undermining Roe v. Wade, which ensures the woman’s right to choose without excessive government restriction, The Supreme Court ruled to not block the law from going into effect.

Dr. Jennifer Kern stated in an interview with NPR that a fetus is a term that refers to a “well-formed baby” when in reality at six weeks it is still an embryo.

“I think it could just be a way for the law to seem fair by giving possible future parents a chance to get an abortion. However, in reality, it’s during a time period that is pretty dry when it comes to getting an abortion. It seems unfair to set it during a time where very few are even aware that they’re pregnant,” freshman Kai Lopez said.

The law does not protect victims of rape and the termination of pregnancy due to medical conditions is very narrow and up to the discretion of a medical professional, which may vary.

“Imagine how hard it would be for these victims to have to bear the baby of their assaulter. To go through the long hard process of a pregnancy against their will after they were just forced into sex against their will. We should start dealing with the assaulter who did the deed, instead of punishing a woman for what was out of her control,” Moreno said.

The American Psychological Association released a statement of concern regarding the mental health of women who are unable to obtain an abortion from an unwanted pregnancy, stating that their scientific research indicates several mental health concerns for those who are denied access to a safe abortion. The APA also says that the law will “most likely affect low-income women, women of color, and sexual and gender minorities, as well as those who live in rural or medically underserved areas.”

“Some groups of people aren’t given the proper education to know how to prevent a pregnancy. So when you add that with being forced to have the baby, it is not setting up the mom or child and whoever else may be involved for success,” Lopez said.

The Justice Department filed yesterday in an attempt to block the abortion ban by asking a federal judge to rule against it. Currently the law is still in effect and will allow any private citizen to sue anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion after six weeks.

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