A Facebook post that compared gun laws to anti-abortion legislation went viral over the weekend. A user wondered what it would look like to "treat every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who want to get an abortion" and envisioned a world in which a person has to wait 48 hours, receive a note of permission from a doctor, and watch a video about the havoc guns can wreak in order to purchase a firearm. It goes on to propose that we "close down all but one gun shop in every state and make him travel hundreds of miles, take time off work, and stay overnight in a strange town to get a gun." More than 88,000 people shared the post. Even Daily Show host Trevor Noah participated in the imaginative exercise on Monday, suggesting that Republicans "bring some more of that pro-life passion in being more, well, pro-life."
But the post is more than just a modest proposal. For millions of women, state-mandated counseling and a dwindling number of abortion providers are devastating realities. In Utah, women must complete an in-person "counseling" session and wait three days in order to have the procedure. Twenty-eight states require that providers give women seeking abortions a document that explains how a fetus they do not want would develop in utero. In Indiana, abortion providers are required to tell women that "personhood begins at conception." No such law necessitates that firearm retailers advise prospective customers that guns kill.
To better illustrate these disparities, we took a closer look at Texas—home to some of the strictest anti-abortion legislation in the nation and over 900,000 concealed handgun license holders. Below, a study in heartbreaking contrasts:
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