The new anti-abortion law is even alienating some Texas pro-lifers: report
Texas' draconian new anti-abortion law is not only drawing vehement criticism from abortion rights activists, but also, from some critics of abortion —including conservative columnist Mona Charen (who believes the law hurts the "pro-life" cause) and the Wall Street Journal's right-wing editorial board. And according to The Atlantic's Olga Khazan, even some Texans who oppose abortion believe the law goes too far.
Khazan, in an article published by The Atlantic this week, explains, "Since September 1, about 6 million Texans of childbearing age have been living under one of the strictest abortion laws in the developed world. Texas Republicans wrote the law in part to score points with the state's staunch opponents of abortion rights. But this time, they might have gone too far: Even some people who support certain abortion restrictions, or would not themselves get an abortion, have concerns about the law."
To gauge how popular or unpopular the law is, Khazan recently visited the Dallas area and interviewed "two dozen Texans between the ages of 18 and 29."
Khazan reports, "My subjects were a mix of college students, college graduates, and people who do not have college degrees. About half were people of color, and a handful were men…. The impression I got is that abortion, per se, is not very popular. Many women said they would not have one if they got pregnant right now…. Still, not a single person I interviewed liked the new law."
Texas Senate Bill 8 forbids abortions statewide after about six weeks, or after a fetal heartbeat is detected — and as critics of the law have been pointing out, many women don't know they are pregnant that soon in a pregnancy. The law doesn't make an exception for rape or incest, and it allows people to five a civil lawsuit against anyone who "aids or abets" an abortion.
One of Khazan's interviewees in the Dallas area, a female abortion opponent named Zuleima, believes the law should make an exception for rape. Another female interviewee, Yasmine, told Khazan that rape victims who are forced to go through with a pregnancy can develop a "hatred for the baby."
"These sentiments jibe with national polling, which suggests that many Americans inhabit an ambiguous middle ground regarding abortion," Khazan notes. "They don't love the practice, but don't want it forbidden either. About half of Americans say having an abortion is morally wrong, but about 60% nevertheless say the Supreme Court should not overturn Roe v. Wade and that abortion should be legal in all or most cases."
In an article published by The Atlantic on September 2, Never Trump conservative David Frum warned others on the right that the Texas law may backfire and inspire independents, moderates and swing voters to vote against Republicans. And Khazan, similarly, believes that "Texas Republicans are playing a dangerous political game, potentially moving moderate Texans closer to the pro-abortion-rights camp and the Democrats."
"The new law could motivate women who are not strong Democrats or Republicans and who live in the suburbs, where elections tend to be decided," Khazan notes. "About a quarter of Americans consider abortion to be a key voting issue. And Texas is a very young state: By 2022, a third of its voters will be younger than 30. Although under-30 voter turnout in Texas is still low, it has ticked upward in recent elections."
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