North Texas Daily

Leaving Texas isn’t a solution to political problems

Leaving Texas isn’t a solution to political problems

Leaving Texas isn’t a solution to political problems
July 29
11:00 2022

After a long history of gerrymandering, transgender rights violations, catastrophic electricity failures and overall governmental incompetence, the recent law banning abortion has left-leaning Texans wondering if they’re better off moving to a blue state. 

The answer is no. Admittedly, Texas’ sociopolitical climate is precarious, but the consequences of a mass exodus of abortion rights supporters would be even more disastrous. 

Packing up and leaving for another state isn’t an easy feat. It requires time, financial means and is a privilege not every Texan has. Low-income Americans are affected the most by abortion restrictions because they are five times more likely to have unplanned pregnancies, according to Brookings Institution. Even before Roe v. Wade was overturned, Medicaid didn’t cover abortions, limiting low-income Americans’ access to the medical procedure. Today, half of Americans who opt to abort are lower-income, according to Guttmacher Institute.

Currently, there are no legal limitations on traveling to different states to get abortions, but a trip’s financial burden limits its accessibility. Moving out of Texas is only a plausible solution for those least affected by discriminatory policies. The truly vulnerable are left to fend for themselves. It doesn’t solve the problem — it just pushes it out of a Texas emigrant’s mind. 

Do the work instead of standing by when an unjust law doesn’t affect you and running when it does. Not just protesting for a few months until burnout sets in and not just posting black squares on Instagram in solidarity. Get informed and involved with mutual aid organizations in your community. Texans must work together and be patient because results are seldom instantaneous. Roe v. Wade didn’t get overturned in one night— it took years of teamwork and deliberation.

Alliance Defending Freedom, a right-wing Christian legal group, helped create the 2018 Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks. The only abortion clinic in Mississippi sued the state health officer of the Mississippi Department of Health and resulted in the landmark decision last month overruling Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The Trump-appointed judges that voted to overrule were handpicked for appointment by ADF’s ally, a conservative and libertarian organization called the Federalist Society. The process took four years but the damage done was severe. 

A drain in left-leaning Texans would just push Texas further right. There would be no one to vote or advocate for the left-wing policies. Protests would be vacant and mutual aid organizations would be devoid of organizers and volunteers. Only 39 percent of Texans identify as Republican, which is about the same number of Texans who identify as Democrat, according to Pew Research Center. If even a fraction of Texas Democrats left the state, Texas Republicans would have a more overwhelming majority. Consider what the Texas government would do if their opposition simply packed up and left. 

Some companies are even moving employees out of Texas because of the new abortion restrictions, including Californian software company Salesforce. A mass exodus of businesses would damage the economy and could force Texas to loosen restrictions on abortion, but that’s unlikely to happen. Texas has a population growth rate of 15 percent, twice the nation’s rate, according to the Texas Demographic Center at the University of Texas-San Antonio. Corporations come here for less regulation and fewer taxes. It’s unlikely the majority of them would sacrifice that because of oppressive abortion laws. Leaving Texas would have little impact on the sociopolitical atmosphere of the state. Fleeing out of righteous frustration would be pointless.

Some could argue people shouldn’t continue to reside in a place where they aren’t satisfied just because their neighbors don’t have the same privilege. Honestly, is it righteous anger driving away Texans, or is it self-preservation? If it’s the latter, claim it. Though, they won’t find a safe haven in blue states because the problem lies at a federal level. It was the Supreme Court that decided abortion is not a constitutional right. Now, each American’s right to abortion depends on the whims of their semi-permanent state governments. Unless they are codified in federal law, abortion rights are not guaranteed in any state.

Fleeing Texans often head to blue states like California and Colorado, according to a relocation report by Texas Realtors. Despite the states being Democrat-led, they both have active alt-right movements. Colorado even has more hate groups per capita than Texas, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. What should citizens do if far-right activism penetrates the state governments of Colorado or California? Run to the next state?

Texas is home to millions of people. No one should have to abandon everything they’ve known because of anti-abortion laws. This isn’t the time to run it’s time to fight and create change.

Featured Illustration by Erika Sevilla

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Hana Musa

Hana Musa

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