AUSTIN, Texas — A new Texas law that takes effect Dec. 2 will criminalize the prescription of abortion-inducing drugs for patients beyond seven weeks of pregnancy, reduced from the current 10-week limit.
While anti-abortion groups celebrate this latest implementation of abortion restrictions in Texas, abortion rights advocates like Maleeha Aziz, 28, say it’s devastating. This is a problem that is particularly personal to him. She says she is where she is today because she was able to have an abortion eight years ago.
“I finished college, graduated with honors, got a job I wanted and did well. And I have a family that I chose to have,” Aziz said.
At 20, she was a new immigrant to the United States from Pakistan and about to start college. The last thing she expected was to get pregnant.
“You are navigating a new country, a new culture, a new legal system, everything was new. So, I was scared and definitely had no intentions or plans of being pregnant, raising a child, or becoming a parent. And I knew I wanted to have an abortion. But that took me a while to figure out, and because I was new to the United States, I didn’t understand all of the political debate behind abortion at the time, that’s how it struck me hit. That’s when I was struck to learn about all these hurdles and barriers and the fact that this is actually a political debate,” Aziz said.
As a sexual assault survivor, a surgical abortion didn’t seem like an option.
“Although a surgical abortion is perfectly safe…I just felt like mentally and emotionally I couldn’t handle it because of what happened to me, that’s why medical abortion was my choice,” Aziz said.
Texas already restricts abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant.
“It challenges the basis of Roe v. Wade and shifts the cultural conversation toward the unborn child,” said Kimberlyn Schwartz, director of media and communications at Texas Right to Life.
“Abortion is health care, and our government shouldn’t be dictating how, when, if they can even access that health care,” said Delma Limones, communications manager at Avow Texas.
The law also bans the mail-order sale of abortion drugs, which anti-abortion groups say closes a loophole.
“In order to ensure that we protect unborn children and that abortion advocates in other places do not circumvent our laws, we have decided to enshrine these protections and policies in state law to ensure that these attempts would be thwarted,” says Schwartz.
Aziz says it was another healing attack that made the biggest difference in his life.
“Medical abortion was essential to my health and well-being. I absolutely needed it as an option and trying to get rid of medical abortion is unacceptable,” Aziz said.