May 19, 2022

The Gun and Abortion Laws in Texas: A Brief History

It’s been a year since the most recent United States presidential election, but it feels like decades. The country is still in shock over how everything went down. One of the big debates (if not THE big debate) that emerged during this time was gun control and abortion laws. With Texas being one of the most populous states in America, many people are wondering what has happened with their gun and abortion laws? Let’s take a closer look at both issues!

With a population of 27.9 million people in 2016, Texas is the second most populous state in the United States and has maintained this position since 2002 when Texas surpassed New York in numbers. [1] Of these millions, approximately 3 million have been identified as women between the age of 15-44. In 2016 alone, over half a million women sought out an abortion.

Texas has been upholding the idea that “all men are created equal” since 1836 when they officially gained their independence from Mexico and became a state of the United States of America. This phrase is demonstrated throughout Texas history and specifically in reference to gun control. For example, Texas was one of the first states to adopt concealed carry laws in 1995.  However, this does not mean that all Texans have easy access to a firearm. In fact, as of January 1st 2017, there are over 900,000 people who have been issued a license but still do not actually own a firearm.

In recent years, Texas has been facing an increased amount of gun violence throughout various cities. For example, in 2016 alone there were over 3,000 people murdered by firearms.  This is a staggering number for a country that already has roughly 33% of the world’s civilian-owned guns while only making up 4.43% of the world’s population. The main issue with gun violence in Texas is that it needs to be paired with an increase in firearm laws and regulations.

 

The history of abortion laws in the US has been an interesting one, specifically because the legality of abortion has shifted multiple times throughout American history. For example, before Roe v. Wade , states were allowed to make their own decisions on if abortion was legal. This resulted in many states having strict and prohibitive abortion laws, including Texas which made it illegal in most cases with exceptions only for the life of the mother or if she had been raped.

In more recent history, there have been an increased amount of efforts to restrict abortion rights for women in America. One of these efforts has been a movement towards fetal burial laws which would require that any tissue from an abortion or miscarriage be either buried or cremated. In Texas, this law went into effect on December 19th 2016 and was supported by the state’s Health and Human Services Commission who claimed it would have “enhanced protection of the health and safety of the public.”  One problem that these laws create is that they are potentially unconstitutional because they could be considered a violation of privacy. Another potential issue with this law is if miscarriages were also required to be buried or cremated which would make it more expensive for women who are struggling financially.

While not directly related to gun control, there has been a lot of discourse regarding the future of reproductive rights for women in America. For example, Texas is one of six states that require abortions be administered at 20 weeks or later and also requires that all procedures take place in an ambulatory surgical center.  At this time, due to the recent election, there are many changes that could be made to legislation regarding reproductive rights.

The great state of Texas should continue to uphold its motto of “friendship” towards both the United States and other countries around the world. One way they can do this is by following their own laws on gun control. For example, they have already