The least hostile to life governor – Trinitonian
When millions of Texans cast their ballots on Nov. 8, Greg Abbott should pray voters don’t look too closely at his “pro-life” label. He endlessly touts empty platitudes like declaring January 22 as the day of sanctity of human life or using the term “devastated“ to describe abortion. He even signed a bill banning six-week abortions a month before Roe v. Wade was lifted at all.
However, there is something Abbott cares about more than the sanctity of life: the gun lobby. When it comes to guns, he’ll find every reason to kneecap. Pointing to violence in cities with strict gun regulations like Chicago with strict gun regulations, he tactically avoids the fact that illegal guns can quite easily come from states where such things are not illegal. He opposes even regulation so lukewarm that guns would be as hard to come by as alcohol.
When it comes to gun control, Abbott and other Republicans tend to point to the constitutional right to bear arms. Indeed, the Second Amendment letter, written by a group of white supremacists who had previously only seen muskets and other antiquated firearms, suggests that allowing anyone to own military-grade guns is a good idea. However, I don’t care and I think it’s a bad idea that is definitely at odds with upholding the sanctity of life.
My opinion may be controversial, but the numbers support it. The US has more civilian firearms than any other country in the world, which is why the US has a higher gun fatality rate per 100,000 people than any other nation with a comparable income and population. The US was ranked No. 32 in the world by the same amount in 2019. Still, Abbott won’t hear it.
Abbott’s stance remains even when confronted with the pleas of parents whose children were killed in Uvalde by a person using guns he legally purchased in Texas. In fact, Abbott and other Republicans not only tend to ignore such requests, but typically make it even easier to acquire guns after shootings.
With that in mind, I want to come back to Abbott’s pro-life label. While I am vehemently in favor of abortion rights, it is unfair to say that there are no good reasons to object. However, when Abbott not only does nothing in the face of an epidemic of preventable gun deaths, but actively aggravates the epidemic through his policies, you begin to see his true colors.
If it’s not about the sanctity of life, why would Abbott want to ban abortion? Well, I can’t pretend to see inside his head, but a page on his website celebrating Trump’s reversal of a policy ensuring employers include contraceptives in their healthcare plans might provide some insight. Texas doesn’t have the best track record for contraceptive access, but this is a rare instance where Abbott has publicly celebrated increasing restrictions on birth control access. Abbott claims that the reversal and his support for it stemmed from employers’ freedom of religion, but that argument is flimsy because contraception is vital to people who can’t afford children. I would argue there is a better explanation.
When abortion is illegal and contraception is difficult to access, a wealthy pregnant person can circumvent the law. However, a poor person has one option and that is to give birth and be forced to take on an enormous financial burden. That means they have to work more with less bargaining power and spend more money on things that the rich sell. Since many of these wealthy people are Abbott’s donors and allies, that is his incentive.
In short, Abbott’s interests probably lie not in preserving the sanctity of life but in enhancing his power and that of his political allies, regardless of the cost in human lives. His positions are commonplace in the GOP, meaning this isn’t an issue that can only be resolved by voting. Organization, mutual aid, and sharing resources with those who need abortions are all necessary, but many of us still have the ability to choose. So if you’re standing in line on November 8th, it’s important to remember where Greg Abbott’s interests really lie.