OPINION: Heartbeat Protection Act is harmful to women

Senate Bill 300 robs women of the ability to make what is often an important healthcare decision. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/ FLICKR

Gov. Ron DeSantis approved Senate Bill 300, preventing access to most types of abortion after six weeks, on April 13.  

This bill, also known as the “Heartbeat Protection Act,” was passed under the guise of saving children, but it will do more to humiliate and control women, and it should be overturned. 

Many women don’t even find out they are pregnant by six weeks and even fewer have the time to access a safe abortion before the pregnancy gets to that point, as the bill requires them to make two different appointments with a physician at least 24 hours apart. One in three women confirm their pregnancies after the six week mark, according to a 2021 study by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF.)

The effects of S.B. 300 will hit college-age women particularly hard, as they accounted for over half of all abortions performed in the U.S. in 2020, according to the CDC. Younger women are also more likely to detect their pregnancies after the six week cutoff, according to research by USCF.

“I think it is being portrayed to be an issue of morality, when it is not. It’s an issue of control. If the concern was their well-being, they would invest in nonprofits catered to children and after school hours in lower income communities,” said USF junior political science major Sky Jensing in an April 12 article from The Oracle. 

The bill claims to offer a few exceptions. Women seeking an abortion in the case of rape, incest or human trafficking are allowed to receive one up until 15 weeks into the pregnancy. However, they must provide a police report, medical records or other documentation proving that their pregnancy falls into one of these exceptions. 

Not only is this a gross invasion of privacy, but it has been proven that survivors of these types of abuse have an extremely hard time reporting it and being taken seriously. 

Out of every 1,000 sexual assaults, only 310 are reported to police and only 50 of those perpetrators will even be arrested, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network on their website. Many victims don’t report due to fear of retaliation. Others don’t believe the police will help or that it is important enough to report. 

Forcing women to open up about their trauma to receive an abortion is cruel. It strips women of their dignity and may even put them in danger. 

Politicians should not have the right to control what healthcare women are or are not able to access. S.B. 300 needs to be overturned because it prevents women from access to safe, private healthcare.