Jennifer Sapio, who teaches online at the University of Texas in the department of rhetoric and writing and also at Redwood High School in Marin County, has written an opinion piece about the current issues plaguing Texas.
Her article, “Abortion bans, COVID death, and government neglect: You Californians still want to move to Texas?” talks about abortion bans, COVID-19 deaths, and government neglect amid the pandemic.
In her piece, Sapio talks about the heartbeat bill, which recently came into effect in Texas. The heartbeat bill bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, Houston Chronicle reported.
Sapio believes that with this new law, abortion has been essentially outlawed in Texas. She pointed out that most women do not learn of their pregnancy until around such time and now that there’s a pandemic, there is a delay in getting appointments to seek necessary reproductive health care.
Aside from Sapio, many aired their grievances against the heartbeat bill. On Wednesday, September 1, many University of Texas students went to the Texas Capitol building to stage a protest against the heartbeat bill. The Austin Students for a Democratic Society along with the Feminist Action Project organized the protest.
Sapio later tackled the recently passed bill regarding the elimination of the requirement to have a license or permit to own a weapon in Texas. She shared, “As a teacher in Texas, I am allowed to ban guns in my classroom, except for concealed weapons.”
She gave other examples of when Texans need to have a permit like when they need to dig a pool in their backyard, to operate a plumbing company, to drive, or to cut hair. She then ended this part of her opinion saying, “But to own and operate a firearm? Nah.”
Sapio then continued to opine about wearing masks in schools. She shared that despite the surge in COVID-19 cases in Texas, she cannot require her students to wear a mask to protect themselves or others from the deadly virus.
She noted the mask and vaccine mandate bans by Governor Greg Abbott “even though ‘vaccine passports’ for measles, mumps, and rubella, among other diseases, are still required for children to enter public schools.”
In relation to the title of her opinion piece referencing Californians, she said that over 185,000 Californians left the state and most of them went to Texas. Sapio noted, “And I certainly get why my home city of Austin, specifically, would seem a desirable choice for those leaving the Bay area. Austin’s comparatively affordable housing market and the keep-Austin-weird-liberal-hippie vibe sounds ideal, in theory.”
Sapio said she is curious to see how the influx of new voters will affect the state ballot box, however, she has no intentions to experience that firsthand as she and her family already moved to California.
She said of her decision, “After the way my home state handled the pandemic and the snowpocalypse blackout this winter, it has become abundantly clear that public health and safety — ‘life,’ if you will — is not the primary objective of the people running this state.”
She ended her opinion piece by saying that although she has given up on her “beloved but toxic home state,” the separation was painful.
Also, California was not a miraculous safe haven as her new home was shrouded by smoke a couple of times since they got there. She closed her opinion saying, “It ain’t easy making a new home, wherever you moved during the course of this pandemic. Texan or not, we all need to take care, whether that means staying to fight or fleeing for your life.”