Texas, front of the fight against abortion

Piotr Smolar

Posted today at 12:19 a.m., updated at 4:24 p.m.

The fan runs empty. The waiting room is empty. The celebrity magazines remain neatly lined up on the coffee table, without curious handprints. “Kate and William, their secret trip to America! “, announces the first. The television is on on a local Texas channel. We hear a talkative woman, wearing a tapered cowboy hat, talking about the “Power of God”, under the grave and approving eye of three acolytes. The show hardly captivates the two nurses behind the wicket, who are completely bored. Behind their backs, entire shelves of yellow and above all blue files, those of abortions performed in these places that have become infrequent.

In Houston, Professor Adebayo Adesomo’s clinic is housed in a group of anonymous offices. Aged 73, this experienced and warm doctor has the particularity of providing three specialties: abortion, childbirth and cosmetic surgery. Work never fails. A message glows on his cell phone; he is expected in the hospital, a baby will be born. Arrived from Nigeria at the age of 21, Adebayo Adesomo rants against the Texan authorities. “This bunch of hooligans who think they’re politicians wants to impose their views on the whole population. This is madness. “ Most of her clientele at the clinic have been missing since Aug. 31, when the new abortion law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, went into effect.

At the entrance of a women's medical center, where it is notably reminded that abortion is still legal in Texas, in Austin, on September 21, 2021

The law in question prohibits abortion (voluntary termination of pregnancy) from the moment the fetal heartbeat can be registered, which lowers the maximum term to six weeks. That is to say an almost general ban, since 85% to 90% of abortions concern a pregnancy that has reached beyond this period.

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A subject of absolute polarization on a national scale

A wind of panic therefore arose across the state. “A lot of minors call me, they are 14 or 15 years old. Their life will be ruined if they have a child at this age. They cry, beg me, but I can do nothing more if their pregnancy is advanced. Most patients go to Oklahoma or Colorado, where clinics are overwhelmed. ”

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On October 6, a federal judge in Austin blocked the application of this law, before an appeals court reinstated it two days later. The doctors are worried, and the women concerned delivered to a kind of dizziness, of weakening uncertainty, while waiting for the remedies to be exhausted. Other republican states are ready to take over, word for word, the legislation in question, in the event of final validation. Thus, Texas finds itself at the forefront of the legal, political and cultural battle between the religious right and the liberals. The first have fueled the ambition for forty years to destroy the pillar of the right to abortion, the decision Supreme Court’s “Roe vs. Wade” (1973). Their goal has never seemed closer.

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