Are women stupid? New Texas abortion bill treats them that way

Abortion rights supporters demonstrate outside the Capitol in Austin where Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a restrictive bill on abortion.
(Jay Janner / Austin American-Statesman / MCT)

Did you know that if you get pregnant, you can give the baby up for adoption?

Oh, you did?

Because in Texas, there’s a new proposal on the table, Senate Bill 42, that would require pregnant women to take an adoption education course before signing up for an abortion. This three-hour class would be in addition to other dubious tactics, recently signed into law, that restrict access and deter women from their constitutional right to an abortion. As if making the decision to get an abortion weren’t hard enough, traumatic even. Now a pregnant woman wishing to terminate her pregnancy has to waste more time getting schooled on the obvious. It’s insulting.

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Writing about SB 42, Jezebel’s Erin Gloria Ryan snarks that “all of this raises very important questions. First: Do Texas conservatives think women are stupid? That they don’t know what pregnancy is? That they don’t know what abortion is? That they’re not aware that adoption exists? That they’re too dumb to understand that while adoption is an alternative to motherhood, it is not an alternative to pregnancy?”


Opponents of abortion tend to view women who choose to terminate their pregnancies as unsavory and immoral. Perhaps sometimes there’s more sympathy for victims of rape and incest.

But the women that critics never seem to address are the ones who make a family decision with their partners to get an abortion. Take, for example, Judy Nicastro, who shared her heartbreaking story of getting an abortion at 23 weeks in a New York Times Op-Ed last month.

In her 20th week of pregnancy, an ultrasound revealed that one of her babies (she was expecting twins) would be born with significant defects.

After 10 more days of tests and meetings, we were in the 23rd week and had to make a decision. My husband is more conservative than I am. He also is a Catholic. I am an old-school liberal, and I am not religious. But from the start, and through this ordeal, we were in complete agreement. We desperately wanted this child and would do whatever we could to save him, if his hernia was fixable and he could have a good quality of life.

Once we had all the data, we met with a nurse, a surgeon and a pediatrician at the hospital. The surgeon said our boy had a hole in his diaphragm. Only one lung chamber had formed, and it was only 20 percent complete. If our boy survived birth, he would be on oxygen and other life supports for a long time. The thought of hearing him gasp for air and linger in pain was our nightmare.

Do you think Nicastro would have benefited from an adoption education? Do you think she deserved to agonize any longer about an already difficult decision?


If anyone needs to get schooled, it’s the lawmakers who are putting obstacles in the way of women’s rights and health and who aren’t looking at the big picture.

“I share my story in the hope that our leaders will be more responsible and compassionate when they weigh what it means to truly value the lives of women and children,” Nicastro wrote.

But since we can’t require that shortsighted lawmakers attend a humanity education course, The Times’ editorial board writes that on abortion and preserving Roe vs. Wade, “courts and legislatures must be vigilant in assuring that a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion is neither thwarted nor denied.”



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