An Applicant Does Not Have to Be a Rocket Scientist!
Today is December 30, 2020, and there are just a few more days left to finalize college applications. How exciting!
As we live and breathe, students are staring at 15–20 college applications, and confronted with the daunting task of writing 2–3 required college essays per application. This adds up to a total of 60 essays.
CALM DOWN and BREATHE! You do not have to be a genius to write the college essay. #TRUE
Colleges Pose Similar Essay Prompts
Let’s face it kids, we are not reinventing the wheel with college essay prompts. At the end of the day, the wording of the essay questions may vary from college to college, however, the same question is being asked. #TRUE
Since we will not be reinventing the wheel, if an applicant applies to 20 colleges, 60 different essays need not be written. They just need to be ‘tweaked’ to conform to a specific college essay prompt.
Essay Prompt Examples from Duke University and Princeton University
Below are required essay prompts from both Duke and Princeton Admissions. Even though worded slightly differently, the essay prompts pose the same question to the applicant.
Duke University Undergraduate Admissions poses the following required essay prompt for all 2020–21 applicants: essay prompt: Please share with us why you consider Duke a good match for you. Is there something in particular about Duke’s academic or other offerings that attract you? (200 words maximum).
Princeton University Undergraduate Admissions poses the following required essays prompts for A.B. Degree Applicants or Those Who are Undecided: As a research institution that also prides itself on its liberal arts curriculum, Princeton allows students to explore areas across the humanities and the arts, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. What academic areas most pique your curiosity, and how do the programs offered at Princeton suit your particular interests? (Please respond in about 250 words.) Princeton poses the following required essay prompt for B.S.E. (‘Bachelor Science Engineering) Degree Applicants: Please describe why you are interested in studying engineering at Princeton. Include any of your experiences in, or exposure to engineering, and how you think the programs offered at the University suit your particular interests. (Please respond in about 250 words.)
The general essay response would be the same to both colleges. However, each essay response would be tailored to the specific college academic program, courses, and campus community.
The Dean of Undergraduate Admissions is Your Audience
College essays are written for an audience of one person, the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions.
The Essays are the vehicle to show your love for the college and is the student’s personal letter, albeit self-portrait to the Dean. In a meaningful, direct manner, an applicant must communicate to the Dean throughout the required and supplemental essays who they are as a person. The student must describe how participation in extraordinary activities created a unique person who overcame challenges to pursue innovative concepts and ideas that impacted their community and beyond.
The Essay is how an applicant shouts aloud to the Dean to #PICKME #COLLEGEACCEPTANCE!
College Essay Advisors
I always recommend high school students work with a college essay advisor. You do not have to be a genius to write a college essay, however, you need to know ‘how’ to write the essay. There is a certain way of writing the essays, to pique the attention of the Dean. The Advisor does not write the essay for the student but can provide priceless guidance as to how the essay should read to garner the attention of the Dean.
According to Lauren Chattman, an accomplished author, columnist, and college essay advisor, ‘essays are where the student is permitted to boast about themselves and their legitimate accomplishments to effectively increase their chances of admission to top institutions’. Chattman further states that “the key to successful college essays is where the student utilizes a specific writing style to sincerely convey in their own words why they are unique and how they would contribute to the Dean’s College Community.’
#WISEWORDS: Read the prompts and provide a response in your own words.
Even though New Year’s Eve is tomorrow, where are you going? We are still fighting COVID, so this is the time to focus on finalizing college applications. Check each college application deadline!!
For additional insight on the college admissions process, please check out my book on Amazon!
Oh yeah baby! Santa Claus is comin’ to your COVID Town!
But wait! Don’t get your balls, I mean bells all jiggly just yet!
It is true. Santa is brilliant and has a few magical powers tucked away. Ask Mrs. Claus. She hates when Mom’s jump on Santa’s lap to get their Candy Canes.
All jokin’ aside, Santa was ahead of his time by powering up his sleigh with reindeer. A true forward thinker. Even Elon Musk can’t figure out how to pull Santa’s sleigh with Reindeer.
Too bad Santa never figured out how to stop the reindeer from shiattin’ all over the world when they make their Christmas ‘present drops’.
Unfortunately, despite Santa’s enviable characteristics, he is at a high-risk for complications from COVID.
Elf Chat Rooms
To aid in my investigative research on Santa, I have infiltrated Elf Chat Rooms on the internet. Those Elves are such yentas! Oy vey! Do they have the gift of gab!
Word in these chat rooms, is that the Elves, Santa, Mrs. Claus and the Reindeer have been isolating in the North Pole for two years now.
Last year, Due to COVID Lockdowns, they never left the North Pole. However, this year, Santa has proclaimed ‘there will be no Christmas closures due to COVID’. The Elves have been working in the Santa Factory shoulder to shoulder all year building and constructing toys for all the children of the World.
Largest Employer of Elves
The Elves have been working for Santa for generations, and if something were to happen to Santa, they would be on the unemployment line.
Just think for a moment. Santa is the largest and only, employer of Elves. Custom toy making is a lost art. Elves make toys with their little elf hands. This is an extremely time consuming process. If Santa got COVID, who would provide room, board, medical and dental coverage to thousands of elves? You can be sure: NOT CHINA.
Santa is currently under the care of North Pole renown physician and Elf, Dr. Gerald Jerome (a.k.a “Jerry Jerry”). Just A bit concerning…Jerry Jerry is not the brightest light on the Christmas Tree or Menorah for that matter.
I know, it is very rare that you hear of an elf who becomes a physician. The last thing any Elf parent wants is for their Elf Child to become a Doctor.
Dr. Jerry Jerry hailed from a long line of elves who were master toy makers. Unfortunately, Jerry Jerry built toy airplanes that always crashed. He was thrown out of the Elf Academy. Keep in mind, very few Elves fail at toy building. His mother and father were plotzing ; they shrieked “who fails out of Elf Academy?”
In fact, his mother cried ‘this is a shonda’ (a Yiddish definition: ‘shameful’).
So, the next best thing was to become a doctor. Oy vey.
Go figure…years later, Dr. Jerry Jerry became the ‘Head Physician’ to Santa Claus.
Santa’s COVID Risk Factors
Borderline Diabetic; Santa sneaks candy when Mrs. Claus not watching.
Smokes a Corn Cob Pipe when Mrs. Claus not watching.
Dr. Jerry Jerry recently held a press conference at the Elf Union Headquarters in the North Pole and confirmed that Santa and Mrs. Claus have been fully vaccinated and received their boosters.
The Elves already knew that. You see, Santa required mandatory COVID vaccines for all Elves. If they did not comply by September 1 of this year, an elf would be thrown out of Santa’s Village on their pointy ear.
Santa’s COVID Protocols
To put the ho ho ho back into Christmas, Santa and his Doctor have established Christmas Protocols.
According to the Elf Chat Rooms, this is going to be a very different Christmas.
Remember, the intent is to keep Santa healthy.
Mask Protocols Outdoors
Santa travels on an ‘open-air’ sled. Santa, Reindeer, and Elves do not have to wear a mask outdoors on the sled.
Vaccination Protocols for Delivering Presents
Santa is only permitted to enter a home and slide down the chimney where every family member is fully vaccinated.
Santa will not slide down your chimney if you are not vaccinated.
Santa knows who is naughty or nice.
Santa knows who is naughty and has a fake VAX Card.
Santa is not petty. He will still leave presents for children whose parents chose not to get vaccinated. Check your back door Christmas morning.
These are tough times for Santa. He is a World traveler. He has never encountered any problems entering a country. Not even a Wall can stop him.
But COVID, this is another story. Santa is not getting any younger. We need to ensure that future generations of children will enjoy the rituals we all love to share.
Please Get Fully Vaccinated.
Please Get your Booster Shots.
Please Wear a Mask.
Oh, and please practice social distancing. Except when you are standing under the mistletoe, are fully vaccinated, got a booster, and had a negative COVID test. Then, by all means, kiss that person!
The Hibachi restaurant in Lahaina, Maui is dining at its finest! Home of “Mo’ Butter Mo’ Better.”
Shhh… it is the secret ingredient.
When you dine at a Hibachi restaurant, the host smushes you into a table that seats upwards of twelve people. Did I mention this is indoor dining only?
Back in the day before COVID, you would always have to share a hibachi table with peeps called strangers.
I barely remember those pre-COVID days, but if my mind serves me correctly, we would just sit down, and simply ‘grin and bear it.’
In those days, my greatest fear was the stranger who sat next to me who was either too loud, too drunk, elbowed me too much, spat food when they spoke, had not so subtle fahrt slippage, or all of the above.
Kinda kills the ambiance of fine dining. Don’t ya think?
At a minimum, if I knew the person sitting next to me, I could make a big stink and complain.
By the way, I wonder…can you get COVID through a fahrt?
On second thought, perhaps this was not the best dining choice during COVID.
Whatever. The salted butter sprinkled with salt and a side of grilled shrimp is to die for girlfriends!
Love Thy Table-Neighbor
I know, you are thinking, ‘she is such a biatch!’ Excuse me sistah! Oh my, what short memories you have. Perhaps even worse than mine!
There is COVID in Hawaii. And even though there may not be COVID in Florida, Arizona or Texas, I do not need to be literally sittin’ on top of a stranger. Then again, if my table neighbor is gorgeous and super-hot…there is always an exception to every rule! Shhhh. don’t tell my husband.
The big question of the evening: Would we be lucky and get a table alone, or would we have to dine with strangers?
No more guessin’! We were escorted to the table, which was empty. Hallelujah! Alone at last!
And then… came the other family.
Oy. A million meshuga (Yiddish for crazy) thoughts were racing through my rather unstable mind. This family could be from Mars for all I knew. Actually, I could deal with a family from Mars. Mars instituted mandatory COVID vaccinations.
A family from Mississippi Arizona, South Dakota, not sure. Red States, conspiracy theories, vax chips implanted in your body…yada yada yada.
But really. Humor me. Just imagine, we actually had to share a table with strangers! We have never, ever done that during COVID! Shiat!
My word! What was a girl to do? Where could I run? The good news was that the restaurant stuck us with only one family.
Phew, what a relief. I suppose due to COVID, we did not get a third family literally thrown in our laps!
As it was, we were literally sitting on top of each other. No joke. However, I had to laugh because I believed the air I was breathing was laden with COVID spikes, and they were infiltrating every orifice of my body.
Rather than totally lose my mind, I needed to put my thinkin’ cap on. What would my Spiritual Advisor Dr. Fauci tell me to do?
Like duh! He would have told me not eat indoors at a restaurant. Hmmm. He sounds like my ‘ole big mama!
If he only knew the COVID mess I got myself into. Where was the social distancing? Where was my mask?
And then, I did what any COVID paranoid lunatic would do: I moved my chair and table setting to the very end of the table. My plate was hanging off the table. A useless effort to maintain a teeny-tiny bit of air space between myself and the stranger next door.
Rest assured it would have been easier to just sit away from the table facing the corner.
I was plotzing. FYI, Yiddish word for ‘collapsing or fainting.’ The translation: Sistahs, I thought I was gonna die! It was over; yep, right there in the hibachi restaurant. Sayonara folks.
Why the worry? First of all, no one wore a mask at the table. Why should we? We had to show our I.D. and vaccine card.
But wait. This is COVID. Where is this family from? Mississippi? Did they really get vaccinated? Was their VAX Card legal? How can I find out this information?
You know it sistahs! I looked over this family with a keen eye. Oh please. I was in stealth mode. I was not blatant. You know me… I am the most subtle person ever! Just like a bull in a China shop! But I had to be careful. If they were from Texas, were they packin’ a pistol? I just did not know.
At a Hibachi restaurant, it is the luck of the draw who is your Chef.
And we scored big.
The Chef, who happens to be a part-time comedian and part-time knife magician, finally came on stage to his grill.
He brought the hibachi ingredients: about five pounds of salted butter and three pounds of salt. Grilled salted butter with a dash of shrimp, steak, chicken, and vegetables was the cuisine for the evening.
The Chef entertained us with a show of flippin’ and spinnin’ sharp knives. One false move, and adios to your table neighbor. At least that would have created more space at the table.
Mo’ Butter is Mo’ Better!
What can I say, I love hibachi! I love grilled butter sautéed with salt, and a hint of shrimp, steak, lobster or chicken. I loved grilled butter with a side of garlic and a hint of fried rice.
The dinner was great, as always. I suppose due to COVID, the Chef did not throw shrimp at us to catch with our mouths. Too bad. I loved watching someone get shrimp thrown in their eye!
Maui is a natural oasis. Beautiful flowers. Spectacular waterfalls. Breathtaking sunsets.
Our arrival to Maui was flawless. Airplane was right on time. Rental car was brand new. Drive to Hotel was fast. Arrived several hours early to hotel check-in, and the room was ready. Incredible.
Oh, and that room! High floor, sweeping ocean views, more square footage than a NYC apartment!
Late lunch was delicious. Pool side was heaven.
What more could a girl ask for? Oy. As the mamas say at the Mahjong table, don’t ask.
Somethin’ was rotten in Maui… at least in the master bedroom of this magnificent condo.
I noticed a ‘smell’ wafting from the master bedroom. Definitely not Chanel No. 5.
At first, we could not place that smell. Oh, and by the by, yes, I have a terrible stomach. However, I can assure you I was not the culprit of that odor!
In truth, we just unpacked from a long flight, and at first sniff, the odor had a hint of ‘smelly feet.’ I literally was smelling ‘gently worn’ socks. Not long snorts, just a quick sniff.
You know it sistahs, just what you want to do upon your arrival in Maui.
Well, no one had smelly feet or socks or shoes. What a relief. Right?
I poo-pooed the smell (no pun intended). Thought we just needed to open the sliding glass doors to let in fresh air.
Several hours transpired, and a reasonable person would have believed the master bedroom was successfully ‘aired out.’
Well…oh my gawd girlfriends. Don’t get me started! Then again, y’all know me.
I am not one to complain, but it would have been nice to have a hot shower. Not too much to ask for. Like, hello, this mama does not prefer, but wants, a hot shower.
Do you kinda get the feelin’ this hotel condo was all downhill from this point?
After I took my cold shower, I went into the bedroom to dress for dinner. And I was overwhelmed with a sickening odor. Damn! What was that smell?!
Clearly, airing out the room did not work.
I simply could not define that odor! What was it? Really smelled like sweaty feet; but was not. Oh, I know! Schweatty balls! That’s it! The room smelled like a locker room! Ah ha!
And so began the calls to the Front Desk, Housekeeping, and…the Hotel Manager.
The Front Desk
And the call went like this: ‘Hello, I have two issues. First, no hot water in my shower.’ The front desk person, politely apologized, and said ‘there is a problem with the hot water heaters. All of them.’
Well then, okey dokey. The solution: Grin and bear it. But really, she gave a little ‘chuckle,’ said ‘they were being fixed, and hoped to be repaired by the next day.’
Then I said, ‘My second issue is that my bedroom smells like smelly feet and schweatty balls; it really does.’
And the reply? Silence at first. Sistahs, think for a moment…how does a hotel employee respond to this select choice of words that I used to characterize this problem?
Surely, the front desk person thought I was out-of-my-mind.
Pardon Moi. Girlfriends, am I asking too much? A mama is entitled to a hot shower, and a room free from eau de parfum schweatty balls.
Oy vey. Clearly, that conversation was goin’ nowhere. I requested to speak to the Hotel Manager.
Hold your hats, we be goin’ for a ride!
The Hotel Manager
Poor guy. He never had a chance. I had him at ‘hello.’
Ask yourself: Was he blindsided by my call? Probably.
Did this Manager believe my accusation that the room smelled like schweatty balls? I don’t know. Although, he did laugh and remember the SNL skit! He said he would examine the matter. Not the balls, the odor.
Face to Face Meeting
As a skilled attorney, I prefer to discuss topics such as schweatty balls face to face. Once again, no pun intended.
I schlepped my skinny arse to the front desk, and asked to speak to my new friend, Manager Number 1. Oh, there will be another Manager that got pulled into this drama.
The housekeeping inspection confirmed the room smelled. What a relief! See… I told the truth!
But where was the smell coming from? The carpet? The armoire? The bed? The Manager winced at the bed option, which I agree is kinda gross.
Now it is Manager Number One’s turn to tell the truth. Or at least to start revealing some truthful details. Apparently, the condo sustained ‘some water damage’ from the Epic Storm that slammed Maui a few days prior to our arrival. The wall-to-wall carpeting in the Master Bedroom ‘got a little wet.’
The Manager deemed it best to clean the rug to get rid of the schweatty balls odor. Ok, maybe that will work. I am ‘up’ for that.
Masking the Problem
The rug was cleaned with a ‘cleaner/deodorizer/schweatty balls remover’ when we were at dinner.
Talk about making a bad situation worse.
The moldy carpeting was now doused with chemicals. And again, not smellin’ like a bouquet of roses. I wanted to go to bed with not a COVID mask, but with a gas mask.
Here we go. Manager Number One is not working the next day. Meet Manager Number Two. He had a great idea…change your room.
Sistahs, this hot mama is on a very high floor. The only room available is on the third floor.
The nerve! I shan’t stay on a low floor.
Finally The Truth!
Once again, I schlepped to the front desk to talk to Manager Number Two.
Poor guy. My sharp cross-examination skills had him confess to the real issue. When the epic storm hit Maui, the room we were assigned at check-in, was not secured for the storm. At that time, the room was vacant, and the sliding glass doors were not locked. The master bedroom was soaked from the storm.
Last Ditch Effort
Other than ripping out the carpet, Manager Two worked with Hotel Engineers to dry out the rug and eradicate the odor.
Mission accomplished! Finally, I can breathe. Not perfect, but no mo’ schweatty balls and smelly feet!
Bless the Concierge. They keep leaving me messages. They want to welcome me back to the hotel and to stop by their desk to pick up their complimentary beach bag.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury; you are tasked with the responsibility to determine whether the Texas Heartbeat Act SB 8 is unconstitutional and therefore must be struck down.
The Texas Heartbeat Act SB 8 was argued before the United States Supreme Court on November 1, 2021. The Supreme Court Justices focused solely on the legal procedural issues of this case and did not address the factual issues that address the long standing Constitutional Right to Abortion as set forth in the landmark decision Roe v. Wade.
Thus, the scope of your deliberation is limited to determine whether Texas deprived citizens their Constitutional Right to an Abortion by drafting a law that precludes Federal and State judicial review of the constitutionality of the statute.
The effect is stunning: Texas SB 8 silences a woman’s Constitutional Right to Abortion and prevents her from having her rightful ‘day in court’.
In addition, as you will learn, this so-called ‘law’ deputizes people to become Abortion Bounty Hunters to literally accuse anyone of assisting a woman carry-out her Constitutional Right to Abortion. Which ironically, the Court did not address.
FYI, ignoring issues does not make them go away. But the Justices know that.
Realistically ladies and gentlemen, the Supreme Court appears to be on its way to extinguishing the Constitutional Right to Abortion and Reproductive Health Care for Women that was established in Roe v Wade. Thus, the monumental task of upholding Supreme Court precedent case law rests on your shoulders.
As you hear the facts of this case, I am certain you will conclude that Texas SB 8 in its entirety is unconstitutional and must be struck down. The Supreme Court is having a difficult time garnering a majority vote on this matter, so maybe you can ‘help’ them see the proverbial light and uphold their own precedent. Accomplish what the Supreme Court ought to do NOW.
What is next for women? What other rights can and will be silenced?
The Facts of the Case
Elected officials of the great state of Texas enacted the law SB 8 to prevent women from obtaining an abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy.
There are no ‘exceptions’ to this law. It does not matter if the pregnancy resulted from:
SB 8 is a ban on abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy.
However, the ban on abortion was not the question before the United States Supreme Court. Surprising…right?
No, not really.
Wait a minute. You ask yourself… “Why didn’t the Supreme Court determine whether SB 8 violates the constitutionally protected right to abortion?” The answer is simple. Well, not so simple.
The Court knew they would hear oral arguments on December 1, 2021, notably the Mississippi case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Dobbs case will determine whether the Court will uphold Roe v. Wade.
Until the Court renders that decision, the 50 year-old constitutionally protected right to abortion will continue to precariously dangle by a thread.
The Issue of the Case
The Supreme Court deemed the only justiciable issue before them was whether anyone can sue to stop the enforcement of Texas SB 8. Indeed, a curious question to a non-attorney. Nevertheless, a deeply concerning legal procedural question.
SB 8 Evades Judicial Review
Ladies and gentlemen, I am confident you are confused. Yes, you are correct in thinking that the purpose of this law is to ban abortion. However, that is not why the law was written and enacted. The purpose of Texas SB 8 was insidious at the outset: it was written to specifically evade any judicial review.
What does judicial review mean? Exactly what it says. Courts are empowered to review the lawfulness of a Federal or State statute. In this case, the drafters of SB 8 intentionally wrote this legislation to be beyond reproach; essentially bulletproof to any judicial review.
SB 8, not only enforced a ban on abortion, but legislated that no person, no entity, can sue the State of Texas to argue the lawfulness of this law.
This is the perplexing part of SB 8. Generally, when a person alleges they suffer an injury from a Federal or State statute, that person will sue the entity (the Federal, State or Local Government) that enacted said legislation. The relief sought would be to invalidate the law considered to be unconstitutional or invalid; to stopenforcement of the law.
However, Texas claims SB 8 is not enforced by any State official. Thus, opponents of this law who seek to stop enforcement of it have a real problem determining the correct named party/defendant to sue.
For the pregnant woman from Texas who is prevented from getting an abortion due to SB 8, who does she sue? What party does she name, to argue that the law is denying her constitutional right to an abortion? The answer is… I do not know. And neither did the Supreme Court Justices when they heard oral arguments in this matter.
The unmitigated gall of these so-called Texas ‘legislators,’ who allegedly represent the interests of their constituents. They drafted and enacted a law that prevents the very people who elected them from legally challenging this abortion ban.
Texas Asserts They Do Not Enforce SB 8
Wait a minute…just what did the drafters of SB 8 do? According to SB 8, Texas Governmental Officials do not enforce SB 8. Funny, that is what the State of Texas asserts.
Ask yourself: Well, if the State does not enforce this law, then who enforces SB 8 in Texas?
Pursuant to the law, this legislation deputizes anyone who is not a State Official to enforce SB 8.
Ladies and gentlemen, kindly pause for a moment. Ask yourself: Do you really think the State of Texas is not enforcing SB 8?
Please, follow along with me. Banning all abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy is cruel and unusual punishment to women. And as bad as that is, the insidious component of this law is the deputizing of private citizens to be knighted ‘Abortion Bounty Hunters,’ to hunt down and accuse any person who participated in the procurement of an abortion.
The Abortion Bounty Hunters
Incredulous as this sounds, it is worse than you can imagine. To reiterate, the State of Texas has turned plain ‘ole folk into Abortion Bounty Hunters, to prey on anyone who seeks to get an abortion. Oh, and the bounty is up to $10,000. A rather profitable endeavor to be an Abortion Bounty Hunter.
Keep in mind y’all, Texas says they do not enforce this law.
It does not matter that the deputized citizen/bounty hunter, who becomes a plaintiff in a future civil suit to claim the reward, was not directly injured by the person they are suing. Which is odd, because in the real world of civil litigation, a plaintiff must allege he/she sustained some injury caused by the defendant.
Then again, this is Texas. Clearly, they just make up their own rules.
Seriously ladies and gentlemen. SB 8 appoints private citizens to become bounty hunters to sniff out abortion in Texas. It is clear these bounty hunters are acting as an arm of the State of Texas, and this ‘bounty hunter’ will become eventual plaintiffs against their prey to recover the cash reward, the bounty, for enforcing the law.
According to Justice Clarence Thomas, ‘SB 8 plaintiffs are acting in concert with Texas to enforce this law.’ To clarify ladies and gentlemen, this means that the great state of Texas is enforcing this law.
Sorry Texas, your government is enforcing this law. But y’all already know that. Shame on Texas. They can’t hide behind their bounty hunters and proclaim they do not enforce the law.
Aiders and Abettors of Abortion
The following are just a few of the people who can be sued for ‘aiding and abetting’ the procurement of an abortion and be liable for payment of the cash reward:
The husband/partner who drove a woman to an abortion clinic/private physician.
The cab/uber driver who drove a woman to an abortion clinic/private physician
The nurse who assisted in the abortion.
The Doctor who performed the abortion.
The woman who received the abortion.
A shocking list of ‘so-called’ aiders and abettors. These people are your sister, mother, brother, father, uncle, grandma, grandpa, doctor; get the picture?
Right Leaning Justices
Apparently, some Supreme Court Justices were more concerned about a State appointing Bounty Hunters to enforce their laws, as opposed to banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
The Supreme Court is supposed to be ‘apolitical.’ However, this Court is clearly aligned along partisan lines, which is a no-no. The Justices who were appointed by Republican Presidents, do publicly espouse conservative political views. Yes, these ‘right leaning Justices,’ who now comprise the Majority rule of this Court, are not ‘fans’ of Roe, and have expressed a willingness to dilute that Landmark Decision.
Once again, that is no excuse to not address this Texas ban on abortion.
Women Have Constitutional Rights
Clearly, the majority of the Justices are aligned with Texas in this matter. Did these Justices forget that the very Court they sit on has ruled that a Pregnant Woman has Constitutional Rights, but the unborn fetus does not?
A fetus at 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 15 weeks, and 23 weeks is not recognized by this Court to have any Constitutional Rights.Roe v Wade determined the viability of a fetus at 24 weeks; the RIGHTS OF THE PREGNANT WOMAN MUST BE BALANCED WITH STATE RIGHTS.
Oh, don’t you love selective memory.
However, are you really surprised? I am not. Let’s be serious. Texas clearly does not care about the health, safety and welfare of a woman. Because if they actually did care about a woman, they would not have enacted SB 8.
And why should the Justices address the abortion component of SB 8 now? No matter that all abortions in Texas have come to a screeching halt due to this law. No matter that women are suffering. No balancing of a pregnant woman’s rights with that of the State. This is just another news cycle, hoped to be forgotten.
The pain and suffering experienced by thousands of Pregnant Texas Women who are unlawfully denied their right to an abortion will not be forgotten. As of this writing, 62% of Americans polled support Roe. The Court cannot turn a deaf ear on the ‘pulse’ of the Majority of Americans.
The Justices are working on their own timetable: they heard the Mississippi case on December 1 and will continue to erode at the Court’s rule of law by not upholding precedent.
Great message from the Court: Screw you Texas Women.
Legalization of Bounty Hunters
Justice Kavanaugh, in his infinite wisdom, pondered what would happen if the court upheld SB 8 and thus permitted the State to use bounty hunters to limit other Constitutional Rights.
I ask you: At this moment in time and history, what is more important than a woman’s Constitutional Right to Abortion and to Reproductive Care?
Well, Justice Kavanaugh was more concerned about the potential restriction of the Second Amendment. Really? Bless his heart.
Guns? What do they have to do with Abortion Rights?
Oh, and yet, this case gets better. The Firearms Policy Coalition, submitted an amicus brief and was very concerned that ‘Blue States’ (i.e. California, New York) will act just like Texas and create unlawful procedures and penalties to enforce a law that is blatantly unconstitutional. Mind you, they were not talking about the Texas ban on abortion being unconstitutional.
My word! Heavens to Betsy! This coalition was sickened at the mere thought of liberal states banning the sale and ownership of handguns and appoint bounty hunters to hunt down gun-totin’ people. Can you imagine?
Of course, Kavanaugh agreed with this amicus brief and envisioned the ownership or sale of a handgun would be illegal in States like New York and California, if the court upheld SB 8. Oh, my word! Don’t you love the ‘tit-for-tat’ game?
Children of the Court, oh, I mean Justices, stay focused on the Abortion component of SB 8, not the procedural smoke screen.
Reap What You Sow
You betcha Kavanaugh! Your worst nightmare came true! Bravo to Governor Gavin Newsome of California. Newsome just proposed a gun law that would be modeled on the Texas one. Sucks when you have to take your own medicine.
In simple English, SB 8 is a nasty law. It completely ignores established Constitutional Law, exempts itself from any Judicial Review, and deputizes citizens to become Abortion Bounty Hunters to enforce a law that in fact violates Constitutional Rights. Not to mention it silences women’s rights.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, consider this thought: If women are stripped of their Constitutional Right to Abortion and Reproductive Rights, what is the next right women will lose? The right to vote? What about rights that are not protected by the Constitution? What if a State wants to enact a law that prevents women from attending college or driving an automobile?
I betcha did not think women could be stripped of those rights. If it happens in other countries where women’s rights are restricted, why not here?
If SB 8 is constitutional, a State is empowered to enact any law that is not subject to judicial review. Frightening to say the least. What is to become of the good ‘ole U.S. of A.?
The Supreme Court, as a result of its inaction to declare SB 8 unconstitutional, has caused this matter to spiral out-of-control. The Conservative Justices, by their own doing, are making this Court impotent.
The Constitution is a living document. The ‘Founding Fathers,’ the Men (no women) who wore the wigs, were actually forward thinking human beings. They purposefully drafted the Constitution to grow with our nation, not against it. They founded this country to not be ruled by the absolute power of one ruler; they wanted to spread power among different ‘branches’ of government for ‘checks and balances;’ and they wanted to separate Church and State.
The Supreme Court is a separate and distinct arm of government. It should unequivocally not be political. In modern times, it should rise above all the bullshit that occurs in Washington and this Country.
You guessed it! We are goin’ to Maui! Like OMG! So exciting!
It has been so long since we have been on a real familyvacation!
Excuse me? So sorry, I believe I did not hear y’all correctly. Living in a pandemic lockdown with your family is NOT a vacation. At least it was not for me; the laundry, the meals, the toilet washing, the scrubbing of the shower walls with a mop… ah, the good ‘ole family bonding days.
Oy vey! Dahling, don’t get me started.
Surprised I am taking a vacation? Like duh, I know there is still a pandemic. I know the COVID numbers are rising all over the country.
But wait. When I was in Arizona for Thanksgiving, there was no pandemic. So odd. Right? Scouts honor. No one wore a mask; masks were not required to do anything. Didn’t even have to show a vaccine card to dine inside a restaurant. They are so lucky.
As a matter of fact, when I did wear a mask inside a restaurant, I could swear I saw someone go for their gun. Well, you know, Arizona is an ‘open carry’ state. Talk about feelin’ like the odd one out. Not because I did not carry a gun, but because I wore a mask. It was like I was from Mars or something.
Well, not Mars, just drove in from Los Angeles.
It is amazing how COVID is only in certain areas, of certain states in this country, not to mention the rest of the world. Arizona must be protected by a dome, like the ones you see in movie or a tv show. I just don’t know.
COVID Dice Roll
As the first round of COVID vaccines were rolling out this year, we were dreamin’ of Maui.
Planning a COVID vacation is akin to askin’ yourself, “do I feel lucky today?” Sure, in February, I kinda felt COVID lucky.
I just received my second COVID shot, and life was starting to look pretty, pretty, pretty good.
I thought COVID would be in my rear-view mirror by December. Yes, I thought the pandemic would be over soon. Hey, can’t a mama dream?
So, I threw caution to the win, and rolled the COVID dice. I am such the risk taker. Always seeking adventure!
I did what any fully vaccinated person would do…plan a trip to Hawaii! And no, I did not buy COVID trip insurance; COVID was supposed to be over in a few months.
Wait a second. I betcha an unvaccinated person in a place where there was ‘no COVID’, was planning the same trip! So cool!
In February, even though travel to Hawaii was closed to tourists, I was not the only person who had the brilliant idea to go to Hawaii in December.
Goodness, gracious! Many hotels were almost fully booked. In fact, Christmas week was sold-out. Hello, this was only February.
The race was on! I rented a condo; bought plane tickets; and rented a car. And by the by, I nearly fainted when I learned the cost of a rental car. I could buy a new car for that price. Sure, the car rental companies all cried the COVID song. Boo hoo. Low inventory; shortage of cars. Yeah, right. Cry me a river Avis.
By May, the entire family was fully vaccinated. Thank you Pfizer. Life was good. We could all breathe a sigh of relief.
And then came the Variants, christened with Greek names. Delta and now Omicron, a new one that you can catch a second time. COVID is really akin to shiat on a shoe. It just doesn’t go away.
The thought that COVID was over, was just a tease. Oy! All I could think about was whether the Hawaii trip was on or off? Did Hawaii ever re-open to tourists? And of course, damn. I did not buy trip insurance.
But wait… then came the third shot — the booster! Life was good again!
Huzzah! The Hawaii trip was back on! Well…it was never off. But, in the wonderful world of COVID, one never knows when a Country closes these days.
COVID vacations are so much fun! Have you ever tried one? They are the new ‘rave’. Everybody is just dying to take a COVID trip. Frankly, just talk of this leaves me breathless.
COVID Travel Plans
Travelling to Hawaii is like travelling to another country. Apparently, Hawaii does have COVID cases. It is not immune to COVID like Arizona or Florida. To step foot in Hawaii you either show proof of a legitimate COVID Vaccine Card, or you must quarantine for a 10-day mandatory period.
You know it sistah! I opted to enroll my family in the Safe Hawaii Travel Program and uploaded our vaccine cards to receive a QR code on our phones to show at the airport.
In addition to packing bathing suits and flip flops, I packed heavy duty masks for the plane, and regular masks for every-day wear. I know, such a forward thinker.
It never fails. There are always a few people that just won’t wear their mask in an airport. Hmmm. Are these mask-less people trying to make a point? Is there a specific reason they choose to defy a governmental order that was issued for health and safety purposes?
Oh, I know… they must be immune to COVID. No, I don’t think so. Do they have a health problem that prohibits them from wearing a mask? No, I don’t think so. And no, I did not see them pulling along an oxygen tank. Also, no cane or walker.
Are they making a political statement? I don’t know. Does COVID only infect people who hold specific religious or political beliefs? I don’t think so.
I think COVID is a non-denominational, non-partisan virus that gladly welcomes everyone to their petri-dish Kingdom.
My point: I hope that person is not getting on my plane. But of course, he did.
“My weaknesses have always been food and men, in that order.” Wise words from Dolly Parton.
I am not a food critic. Although, I do like food. And I do enjoy dining at a great restaurant. Prospect Gourmand in Beverly Hills is that restaurant.
A restaurant is as good as the sum of all its parts: The Chef, The Hostess, the Server, and last, but not least, the Cuisine.
Wait…there is more. There are the intangible qualities that make you savor every morsel of food, which makes you want to go back every weekend, every month, every year. It is that special restaurant that makes you feel a part of their ‘family.’
Prospect Gourmand, located on Robertson Drive in Beverly Hills is that Restaurant. Chancey and Isaac Gamboa are the owners of Prospect Gourmand, a niche restaurant that prides itself on farm to table food. Gourmand relies on local farmer’s markets for the fresh ingredients that are the foundation of Chef Isaac’s eclectic menu.
Chef Isaac and Chancey are a husband and wife team who have been cultivating their restaurant in Beverly Hills for over seven years, while simultaneously raising their four children. The Chef is a California Boy; Chancey emigrated from Cambodia. The Chef attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts — Las Vegasand trained under a Michelin Star Chef in San Francisco. Chancey’s family owned several donut shops.
Beverly Hills may be a global destination for luxury retail therapy and Hollywood Star Gazing. But, for Chef Isaac and Chancey, Beverly Hills is simply called ‘home’ to their restaurant and family.
At the beginning of 2020, Prospect Gourmand moved from La Cienega Drive to its current location on Robertson. As we all know, moving a restaurant immediately prior to the start of the pandemic, was not good timing.
The two pandemic lockdowns in Los Angeles, forced many restaurants to permanently close. Like so many other restaurants, Chef Isaac and Chancey experienced profound professional and personal financial hardship. Rather than permanently close their doors, they made the decision to convert their kitchen to a ‘take-out only business’ and prepare meals for the First Responders who worked throughout the Community.
During the early days of the first lockdown, Gourmand created their own version of an outdoor market, and sold fresh produce and other food staples on their storefront sidewalk. In fact, Chef Isaac baked daily bread, which became a coveted market item.
Generosity of Customers and Strangers
The sidewalk market and take-out business allowed Gourmand to literally ‘stay afloat’
Loyal customers of Gourmand reciprocated ‘in-kind’ the appreciation they held for Chef Isaac and Chancey’s self-less efforts. Generous customers purchased restaurant gift cards under the guise ‘they would be used when dining resumed in Los Angeles.’ To this day, many gift cards purchased during the pandemic have yet to be redeemed.
Prospect Gourmand warms the heart and feeds your soul. Oh, and by the way, I love Chef Isaac’s Lobster Tacos!
A Woman’s Constitutional Right to Choose: Roe v Wade
In truth, I realized that most people do not know and/or understand the legal meaning of Roe v. Wade. Oh yes, we all know that on a macro-level, it affords a woman the Constitutional Right to choose to have an abortion. However, that is a very broad understanding of Roe.
An attorney would define Roe as The landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Case that afforded constitutional protections for women to choose to have an abortion prior to the viability of a fetus.
Why did I decide to write about Roe v Wade? To define legal terms as ‘viability of a fetus,’ explain how the Constitutional Right to Privacy affords a pregnant woman the right to choose, and the timetable the Supreme Court set forth to delineate when a woman can lawfully obtain an abortion, if she chooses, in this country.
Fragility of Roe v Wade
On September 1, 2021, the State of Texas enacted SB 8, The Texas Heartbeat Act, which bans abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy, with no exceptions.
The State of Texas unequivocally limited women’s rights upon the enactment of SB 8, which is in direct contravention of established Constitutional law, Roe v Wade.
To all the non-lawyers out there: The Constitution and Supreme Court Decisions take precedent over conflicting federal and state laws.
Stop the Presses! I thought the United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade ruled that a woman has a right to choose to obtain an abortion prior to the viability of a fetus.
I am confident that you all, just like me, do not understand how Texas can blatantly disregard the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade and ban abortion in their state.
However, before we talk in depth about the ‘Constitutionality’ of SB 8 (which will be addressed in another article), we all need to understand Roe v. Wade and how that case legalized abortion in the United States.
Facts of Roe v Wade
Does anyone know the underlying facts of Roe v Wade? I am confident that most Americans do not. Roe was first litigated in 1971… 50 years ago. Jane Roe lived in Texas, was a single, pregnant woman who brought a class action lawsuit to challenge the Texas criminal abortion laws. Texas in 1971 made it a crime to obtain an abortion, with the sole exception that an abortion could save the mother’s life.
Jane Roe wanted to terminate her pregnancy for the following personal reasons:
‘She was unmarried and pregnant.
She wanted to terminate her pregnancy via abortion by a licensed, experienced physician in Texas.
She was precluded from obtaining a legal abortion in Texas, because her life ‘did not appear to be threatened by the continuation of her pregnancy.’
She could not afford to travel to another state to obtain a legal abortion.
She asserted in her lawsuit the Texas abortion statutes were vague and violated her Constitutional Right to Privacy.’
The Right to Abortion is NOT Absolute
Jane Roe argued before the US Supreme Court, “a woman’s right to an abortion is absolute and that she is entitled to terminate her pregnancy at whatever time, in whatever way, and for whatever reason she alone chooses.”
What most Americans do not realize, is that the Supreme Court did not agree with Jane Roe’s argument that a woman’s right to abortion is absolute; and disagreed with the notion that a woman is entitled to terminate her pregnancy at any time.
Justice Blackmun’s Supreme Court Majority Opinion
The Honorable Justice Blackmun wrote the Majority Opinion for Roe. The majority opinion is the legal decision rendered by a majority (more than half) of the Supreme Court Justices and explains the reasoning behind the court’s decision on a legal and factual basis.
In the Majority Opinion, Justice Blackmun was cognizant of the differing opinions towards abortion in 1973 and in my opinion, addressed the issue of abortion with great sensitivity and compassion towards all Americans.
The issue of abortion was a ‘hot button topic’ in 1973 and seems even more divisive in 2021. Justice Blackmun’s Majority Opinion articulated a comprehensive review of the history of abortion from ancient Greece and Roman times to present day in the United States.
I believe, the most important part of Justice Blackmun’s majority opinion, was how the Court determined the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, the ‘Right to Privacy’, afforded a pregnant woman the right to choose to have an abortion. However, the court determined this is not an absolute right to abortion. Here is the BUT: The State can regulate abortion vis-à-vis showing a Compelling Interest to protect the health of the mother and fetus; then there is the AND: the abortion must occur prior to the viability of the fetus.
Easy to understand that Roe gives a woman the ‘right to choose to have an abortion,’ but yet it comes with caveats, that we will discuss.
The Issue Decided by the Supreme Court
For all you non-lawyers: Every legal matter that is litigated in court, always has a question, an issue to be decided by the Court.
The issue before the Court in Roe: Whether the U.S. Constitution protects a pregnant woman’s personal liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive State regulation.
In Roe, the Supreme Court ruled that a woman has the qualified right to terminate her own pregnancy. Please note the italicized words qualified and absolute. These words are critical to understanding the ruling in this case.
The Court determined the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which affords the Right to Privacy against State action, also grants a woman’s qualified right to terminate her pregnancy.
In plain English, the Constitution gave Jane Roe personal liberty protections to fight the Texas ban on abortion; and the Supreme Court granted her a qualified right to get an abortion.
However, in constitutional matters such as the Right to Privacy, the Court will look to balance the State’s interests against that of a Woman’s control over her pregnancy. Yes, balance means reviewing the facts; assessing factors that would determine ‘fairness’ to all parties.
A Woman’s Qualified Right to Get an Abortion
The Court considered whether the following factors would unduly harm a woman who is prohibited by State law from ending her pregnancy:
‘Medical Harm to the woman.
The social stigma of being an unwed mother.
The eventual birth of an unwanted child may bring psychological harm on the family.
The financial, economic stress.’
In this regard, the Court would ask a woman who sought to obtain an abortion, whether the State’s ban on abortion is detrimental and causes irreparable, undue harm to the health and well-being of a woman who is forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy?
The State’s Compelling State Interests to Regulate Abortion
Did you wonder why a State aggressively opposes abortion? In Roe, the State of Texas alleged they have an interest to protect the health of the mother and the fetus.
The Court in Roe determined that a woman has certain fundamental constitutionally protect rights, and when she seeks to obtain an abortion, the State may limit these rights by asserting a compelling state interest.
Remember: The Supreme Court REGULATED a woman’s right to abortion to effectively balance a woman’s privacy rights with that of the State’s interests.
Compelling State Interest Factors
According to Roe, at some point during the term of a pregnancy, the State interests become dominant for the following reasons:
To protect the Health of both the woman and the fetus.
To uphold Medical Standards.
To Safeguard Prenatal Life.
In addition, the State argued in Roe that the woman’s Right to Privacy is NOT ABSOLUTE throughout the entire pregnancy.
The Supreme Court: The Qualified Right to Terminate a Pregnancy
What does a qualified right to terminate a pregnancy mean? Exactly what it says. No American citizen can just ‘go and get an abortion.’ The Supreme in this case, set up ‘guard rails’ to define:
The Viability of a Fetus. and
Provide a Timeline for the Regulation of Abortion via ‘Trimesters.’
The Viability of a Fetus
The viability of a fetus is a long debated topic. The court concluded, based on historical, religious, and medical facts, that viability occurs when the fetus can survive outside of the mother’s womb at 24 weeks of gestation.
The Court: The Rights of a Pregnant Woman Must Be Balanced with State Rights
As previously discussed, the Court sought to balance the Fourteenth Amendment’s Right to Privacy and State Interests. This was accomplished by the Court identifying three trimesters of pregnancy; each comprised of twelve weeks.
First Trimester: ‘Approximately’ prior to the end of the first trimester, A state cannot regulate abortion. Exception: A state can require the medical procedure be performed by a licensed physician in a medical clinic, office, hospital.
Second Trimester: A state may regulate abortion to promote its interest in the maternal health.
Third Trimester: A state may ban abortion. ‘Considered to be the stage before fetal viability, the State has a compelling interest in protecting the potential human life; however, may proscribe abortion for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.’
The Majority Opinion of Roe v. Wade
As I previously mentioned, Justice Blackmun, who wrote the Majority Opinion, cited the common law. The common law is based on the history of social customs, traditions, and judicial review, and not on statutory law.
To quote Justice Blackmun:
“It is thus apparent that the common law, at the time of the adoption of our Constitution, and throughout the major portion of the 19th century, abortion was viewed with less disfavor than under most American statutes currently in effect. Phrasing it another way, a woman enjoyed a substantially broader right to terminate a pregnancy than she does in most States today. At least with respect to the early stage of pregnancy, and very possibly without such a limitation, the opportunity to make this choice was present in this county well into the 19th century. Even later, the law continued for some time to treat less punitively an abortion procured in early pregnancy.”
The above quote is in my opinion, profound. Why did American women have a ‘broader right to abortion’ in the 19th century, than today? It is even more incredulous to comprehend, how in 2021, some States are relentless in their efforts to ban abortion.
Consequence of Overturning Roe v Wade
The effect of overturning the decision in Roe, means that Texas SB 8 would ‘stand’. The Abortion prohibition in Texas would create a domino effect for every State that wants to ban Abortion.
True. Overturning Roe would greenlight a State’s prerogative to enact legislation that would Ban abortion.
Once again, I ask you all to consider the undue hardship and detrimental effect this would have on all women who reside in neighboring states that prohibit abortion. Women would have to travel hundreds of miles (perhaps thousands of miles) to obtain a legal abortion. Women would have to leave their families to travel via plane, bus, car, or train; women would be required to take days off from work and find childcare for other children in the family in their effort to obtain an out-of-state abortion. The financial costs incurred would be an insurmountable obstacle for many women.
Oh, and by the way… a woman’s choice to have an abortion is not a decision that is made with the ‘flick of a switch.’ There is an emotional component that cannot be quantified. A decision to have an abortion is an individualized process, a thought process subjective to each pregnant woman. Obstacles literally thrown in the way of this process not only unduly harm a woman but can result in permanent emotional and physical harm to a woman for the rest of her life.
Keep in mind that Texas is not the only State in the good ‘ole U.S of A. that wants to deny women their Constitutional Right to choose to have an abortion. Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Ohio all want to enact similar heartbeat legislation.
It is clear these States march in solidarity with Texas to disregard established Constitutional protections of the Fourteenth Amendment Right of Privacy granted to all women.
Now. I ask you all to think for just one moment…Roe was first litigated in a Texas courtroom in 1971. It was ultimately argued before the US Supreme Court in 1973. Today is 2021.
Why do we continue to move backward as a nation, and not forward? Why do some folks want to impose more restrictions on choices that affect our own bodies? Keep in mind, that a pregnant woman who chooses to get an abortion does not impact society as a whole. The impact is on her body, her life and her family. Her choice does not affect my life or your life.
Stay tuned… the next article will address the Constitutionality of Texas SB 8.
*This Article Currently Appears in the Tracy Anderson Magazine Fall 2021 Issue
Welcome to the good ‘ole US of A. Land of the free and the brave. And, Texas, the proud owner and divine creator of the Heartbeat Act. Those Texans, so damn creative to come up with legislation that prohibits and criminalizes abortion.
Suppression of Women’s Rights
It is true, Texas stripped women of the right to make decisions that concern their own body. And just like that, with the stroke of a pen, the Heartbeat Act became the law of the land in Texas. Thank you to the Texas State Legislature and Governor Greg Abbott. Y’all give yourselves a high five for reducing women to chattel. For all you non-lawyer folks, chattel means ‘thing’, or ‘property’.
Indeed. Texas women, consider yourselves owned by Texas men.
I am serious. How did these politicians come up with this law? The last time I checked, politicians, lawyers and judges are not physicians. Hmmm. Who are these people to determine the where and when of abortion?
Check your calendars. Is this not the 21st Century?
I ask y’all: Why is there an overwhelming WANT in this country to suppress the rights of women? For that matter, why do our fellow sisters, our brethren, want to suppress our collective rights? Why?
The Heartbeat Act
The Legislative intent of the Heartbeat Act is to block Texas women from obtaining an abortion. Plain and simple.
The state legislators seemingly picked out of ‘thin air’ a cut-off date as early as 6 weeks for Texans to legally obtain abortions. In law, we call that ‘arbitrary and capricious’, because this statute was not rooted in medical science. Again, the intent was to ban abortions because they wanted to.
Definitions of Statute
Let us together, review the statute, to understand the far-reaching implications of this legislative abomination. In order to understand the meaning of the statute, we first must read the “Definitions” section.
When we read statutes, you must first look at the definitions section of the statute which is the road map to decipher the actual law. Sometimes, statutes are written with lots of fancy, schmancy legalese, to confuse the average person. Yes, it is written to confuse YOU.
It is important to note that the Texas Legislators determined the definitions of these words. Not you. Not me.
The Detection of a Fetal Heartbeat
According to the statute, “…The Heartbeat Act was enacted to amend The Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter H”. This statute allegedly protects the health of Texans. Wow. Does it really?
The statute defines words, such as ‘Fetal Heartbeat’, ‘Gestational Age’, ‘Gestational Sac’, Pregnancy’, ‘Unborn Child’, and ‘Cardiac Activity’. That is a lot of medical terminology. To reiterate, I had no idea politicians, lawyers, and Greg Abbott knew so much about medicine. Fascinating, right?
When you put all these definitional words together, the Texas legislature banned abortions as early as six weeks.
A question to every woman who has ever been pregnant: Did you know as early as 6 weeks, that you were pregnant? I for one, did not.
Viability of a Fetus
The Heartbeat Act, has determined that a ‘fetus’ is now ‘viable’ as early as 4 weeks into a pregnancy. Did you know that the viability of a fetus is defined as when a fetus can survive outside of the womb? The landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case Roe v. Wade, recognized fetal viability at 24 to 28 weeks.
In fact, this legislation determined a fetus is viable at 4 weeks, when, the State of Texas claims, a fetal heartbeat can be detected via ultrasound. However, many physicians will assert that at 4 weeks, the ‘fetus’ is an embryo, and a human heart is not developed yet. Thus, it can be argued, that the alleged heartbeat is really an electronic flicker that the ultrasound recorded rather than a human heartbeat.
For purposes of this statute, the ‘fetal’ viability clock starts ticking from the first day of a woman’s last menstrual cycle (also known as ‘period’).
Once again, I ask all women who menstruate: Do you know the last day of your menstrual cycle? I for one, when I had menstrual cycles, never knew the last day.
I ask women who have ever been pregnant: Did you know as early as 4 weeks, which was calculated from the first day from your last menstrual cycle, that you were pregnant? When I was trying to get pregnant, I did not have any idea that I was pregnant at 4, 5, 6, or 7 weeks. Really.
Not surprising that many women do not know they are pregnant. As a matter of fact, the only way you can tell if you are pregnant, is when you ‘skip’ or ‘miss’ a menstrual cycle, which typically occurs 2 weeks after conception. And by the way, many women’s menstrual cycles, are not timely and punctual. They are erratic. Thus, if a woman’s ‘period’ is ‘late’ by a few weeks, not all women would suspect a pregnancy. Under this common scenario, a woman may learn she is 7 or 8 weeks pregnant by taking a pregnancy test at home.
The problem with real life and this statute, is that when a woman finally is examined by a doctor to confirm a pregnancy, she could be 9 weeks pregnant. In Texas, a woman no longer has the right to choose what is right for her and her family.
Compelling State Interest to Protect
Now, the statute cites that Texas has a compelling interest from the outset of a woman’s pregnancy to protect the health of the woman and the life of the unborn child.
Ask yourself: Do they really have a compelling interest to protect the health of the woman and the life of the unborn child?
According to the statute, Texas wants the Woman to ‘make an informed choice about whether to continue her pregnancy’, specifically, that ‘the pregnant woman has a compelling interest in knowing the likelihood of her unborn child surviving to full-term birth based on the presence of cardiac activity’. This is ludicrous for the reasons previously set forth. Most women do not know they are pregnant at 6 weeks; for that matter, at this juncture of the pregnancy it is difficult to medically determine whether the embryo will survive full-term.
Quite the contrary, this legislation limits health care to women and the unborn child. The legislation does not take into consideration the health of the woman, nor the health of the fetus.
Misconception of Conception
There is a misconception as to how women view an abortion.
I have never met a woman who was ‘eager’ to have an abortion.
I have never met a woman who used abortion as a form of birth control.
Walk in My Shoes
How do I know this? Walk in my shoes. I had an abortion 23 years ago, almost to the day of writing this article. There. I said it out loud.
I have finally decided to share my life experience, because I believe it unequivocally provides clarity as to why the Texas Statute does not protect a pregnant Woman or the Unborn Child.
Quite the contrary. The Heartbeat Act is cruel and inhumane, because it sets forth specific dates that define in-utero developmental milestones not rooted in medical science and disregards the health, safety and welfare of both mother and unborn child.
The consequences of this ban on abortion are in truth, far more emotionally and physically detrimental than the actual abortion.
In simple terms, the Heartbeat Act is a wolf dressed as a lamb. Governor Abbott and the Texas State Legislature have no interest in protecting the health, safety and welfare of both the woman and unborn child. Rather, this Act promotes their own agenda to ban abortion at the behest of all people.
If I lived in Texas now and chose to have a baby, my pregnancy would be subjected to the Heartbeat Act.
My husband and I are carriers of the Tay-Sachs gene, which is a fatal genetic illness that emerges when a baby is 6 months old. As my doctor told me, babies born with Tay-Sachs are beautiful, have piercing blue-eyes and blond hair. At 6 months of age, all of the motor skills a baby has developed up to that point, such as sitting up, rolling over and crawling come to an absolute, sudden HALT. The baby will go blind, deaf, and experience severe mental retardation. Typically, a Tay-Sachs baby lives between the ages of 4-7. However, due to modern medicine, the child, could ‘live’ longer. Clearly, this would be no ‘life’. It would be torture for the baby/child and mother. The baby would have to be institutionalized. Horrible.
When both prospective mother and father test positive for Tay-Sachs, there is a 1 in 4 chance the baby will be born with the disease. To be clear, for each pregnancy, there is a 25% chance the baby could be born with the disease.
In truth, despite the fact we were both carriers, I did not believe there was a chance that we could possibly have a child diagnosed with that terrible disease. The odds seemed so remote at the time to me. You know, the ‘that will never happen to us’ scenario.
When my doctor confirmed my pregnancy, he discussed 2 tests I could take to determine whether the baby had Tay-Sachs.
Test #1 was a ‘Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)’ performed no earlier than the 10th week of pregnancy. CVS is a prenatal test in which a sample of chorionic villi is removed from the placenta for testing.
Test #2 was an ‘Amniocentesis’ (Amnio) performed no earlier than the 16th week of pregnancy. The Amnio is a procedure in which amniotic fluid is removed from the uterus for testing or treatment.
I elected to take the CVS test because I could get the results earlier in the pregnancy. The sooner to know whether the baby had this fatal disease, the better. Right?
In the 10th week of my pregnancy, I took the CVS test. The test proved to be extremely painful. I actually thought I would pass out during the test. After 2 failed attempts to get a sample, we had to end the test. I physically could not endure the pain.
Thus, I had to wait to take the Amnio. I can assure you, there is a big difference from the 10th to the 16th week of pregnancy. I was now in my second trimester and was sporting a little ‘belly’. Even had a bit of that pregnancy ‘glow’.
In the 16th week of that pregnancy, my doctor performed the Amnio. It takes 2 weeks to get the test results.
In the 18th week of that pregnancy, my doctor personally called me, and told me the baby did have Tay-Sachs. It was as if the world stopped. My doctor was sensitive to my disappointment, shock, and sadness. He proved to be my guardian angel for the next few weeks, months and years.
In addition to my doctor, a counselor from the genetic center at the hospital immediately phoned me, to also give me emotional support and guidance as to ‘next-steps’. According to several of my physicians, including religious advisors, the only option was to have an abortion. If this were Texas, I would not be permitted to choose to have an abortion.
We all concurred it would be cruel and inhumane for this innocent child to suffer from Tay-Sachs.
To make matters worse, we were about to celebrate my first born child’s second birthday.
Literally, the next day, I met the doctor who would perform the abortion. In truth, all I can remember is his smile. Oh, and he promised me that in the future, I will be able to conceive 50 babies. Apparently, late-term abortions are not so easy, and a skilled physician is required to perform this procedure.
I considered myself to be blessed. Even then, despite my heartache and despair, I wondered what less fortunate women would do in my situation.
I had no fear. I put my life in the hands of this experienced physician, who, along with my regular OB-GYN, guided me through this dramatic life experience.
To understand this timeline of events, it is the 18th week of my pregnancy. Within 2 days of learning the fetus I was carrying had the fatal genetic illness Tay-Sachs, I was scheduled for an abortion at an abortion clinic in NYC. If this were Texas, my doctors would be precluded from scheduling an abortion.
In truth, never in my life did I ever entertain the idea of having an abortion. However, never in my life did I ever know that my husband and I would be carriers of a fatal genetic illness. If this were Texas, my husband would have been accused of ‘aiding and abetting’ an abortion and be fined $10,000 for taking me to the clinic. I know. So hard to believe, but that is the Texas law.
Behind the façade of a very tall NYC building, was a non-descript abortion clinic tucked away. Hidden from the world. No signage, no labels. It looked like a business office from the hallway. Why so clandestine?
The year was 1998: At that time, it was common to see anti-abortion activists protest in front of medical facilities where abortions were performed. There were a few instances where these facilities were the target of violence, such as bombings, vandalism and arson. In October 1998, a physician who performed abortions, was specifically targeted and murdered at his home. Clearly, these were turbulent times.
My doctor scheduled this procedure at a clinic, and not in a hospital, for the sole reason that the clinic had up-to-date medical equipment to perform a late-term abortion. My health was a priority, and my doctors wanted me to be able to conceive future children. Again, if this were Texas, this would not be an option.
After the procedure, I awoke in a large room that must have had at least 12 beds for women to recover post-operative. One by one, we woke up. As I lay in my bed, I looked to the left, I looked to the right. Women of all colors, nationalities, and religions were just like me. The only difference was we came from different neighborhoods.
When we were still laying in our respective beds, we all started to talk to each other. This proved to be a life-altering moment for me. First of all, everyone was sad. Not one person was happy. Second, everyone was honest. Of course, we were, we had no choice, we were coming out of anesthesia. Third, everyone had an incredible reason for choosing to have an abortion. And not one reason was for birth control.
In truth, I loved each and every one of those women. This experience is something that I have carried with me for 23 years.
Fortunately, my wonderful doctors gave me the best medical care. And as my doctor promised, once I was fully recovered, I learned I was pregnant. This time, after waiting for the amnio results at 18 weeks, my doctor happily congratulated me that the baby was healthy.
No Badge of Honor
Abortion is a personal, private choice. There is no badge of honor awarded for choosing to have an abortion. Alternatively, a woman should not be shamed to wear a Scarlett letter for choosing to have an abortion.
In truth, no one understands what it means to have an abortion. Unless, of course, you chose to have one.
Please do not limit, restrict or ban my right to an abortion unless you have walked in my shoes.