The reproductive rollbacks in the US continue apace with the news that the town of Waskom in east Texas has banned abortion, thanks to the intervention of five white men on the city council.
What with sustained abortion sanctions passing through federal courts at an alarming rate, and funding for women’s healthcare being deliberately eroded under the US administration, the last thing women in America need right now is any more men making harmful decisions about their reproductive rights.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what went down in Waskom, a small town in East Texas, after an all-male council passed a resolution banning most abortion procedures.
Though the town, which borders Louisiana and has a tiny population of just over 2,000 people, has no abortion clinics available, that didn’t stop five white men from signing a city ordinance outlawing abortion, with exceptions for rape, incest and the health of a pregnant woman.
In a move that eerily echoed the exclusively white, male group of Republican politicians who passed an almost blanket ban on abortion in Alabama last month, the white, all-male city council of Waskom voted unanimously to pass the measure, declaring itself the state’s first “sanctuary city for the unborn.”
The Waskom measure, which calls abortion providers “criminal organisations”, and laws that permit abortion “unconstitutional usurpations of judicial power … and are null and void in the City of Waskom,” was widely celebrated by the community and anti-choice activists who wanted to prevent a clinic being opened within the city’s limits.
Like so many of the abortion restrictions that have swept across the US this year, councillors have passed the city ordinance in the hope that it might challenge the landmark 1973 Roe vs Wade ruling in the Supreme Court, which which defends a woman’s right to an abortion.
Only this week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill which prohibits any taxpayer money from going to abortion providers, while a staggering 30 states have introduced some form of abortion restriction this year. Last month, the states of Georgia and Ohio have made it illegal to obtain an abortion once a “fetal heartbeat” has been detected, while Alabama implemented the strictest abortion ban in the nation in May, outlawing the procedure in almost all cases except when a woman’s life is in danger.
Despite the ban, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas executive director Aimee Arrambide, remained defiant that abortion still remains legal in Texas.
“We will not be intimidated,” she said in a statement. “At a time when the fundamental freedoms under (Roe v. Wade) are under attack, we recommit ourselves to expanding and protecting these rights for all Texans.”