Featured image: Images by Gayatri Malhotra from Unsplash. Edited in Affinity Photo.
Double click or tap any English word in this post to open its definition in a new window (external).
4 for Now
I know it’s New Year’s Eve here in the US, but remind me—are we going into 2022 or 1973? With the cases seen by the Supreme Court recently (Texas and Mississippi), it’s hard to tell.
Language used in Texas’ Senate Bill 8 says the abortion ban would be enforced by private citizens, who can sue anyone involved in “aiding and abetting” an abortion.
“Aiding and abetting.” That’s legal speak for helping a criminal. In 2022 (or whatever year we’re entering), potentially life-saving healthcare is considered a crime. Did you know abortion wasn’t even illegal until the 1800s?
Rebutting Arguments Against Abortion Rights
Much of the US’s anti-abortion legislation is based on the idea that people seeking abortions can’t know what’s at stake in deciding whether to bear a child. The Turnaway Study disproved this, finding “when people assess what will happen in their lives if they have to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, they are quite often proven right.”
More than 95% of the women in the study who received an abortion and did an interview five years later reported that “it had been the right choice for them.”
In a 2007 abortion-case ruling, former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that “severe depression and loss of esteem can follow” an abortion. But again, in the study, the women who were denied abortions had worse mental health than those who received them in the short term. In the long term, there were no differences between the groups. Other studies have shown this as well [PDF].
The women in the study who received their desired abortions also reported better physical health and financial wellbeing than those denied abortions.
Pregnancies killed 329 times as many pregnant people as abortion did in 2018. According to the New Yorker’s Turnaway Study article, “maternal mortality has been rising in the U.S.—it’s now more than twice as high as it was in 1987.” It’s important to add it “has risen even more steeply for Black women, due, in part, to racial disparities in prenatal care and the quality of hospitals where women deliver.”
So why isn’t pregnancy illegal? (/Rhetorical) The fact that abortion has majority support among USians is just further proof that lawmakers aren’t acting on our behalves. (Or even out of real caring.)
The Bottom Line on Abortion Rights
Personally, what outweighs all the anti-abortion arguments for me is that a person should be able to choose for themself how to care for their body. What I do with my body is no business of the court, lawmakers, or a stranger from across town who wants to sue if I seek an abortion. Imagine a politician introducing a bill to restrict prostate exams. They’d be shamed into obscurity.
People with uteri are not inherently criminal. We deserve the respect and autonomy other people receive without question. The end.
4 for Later
- Get the facts on abortion from Amnesty International and some stats from Guttmacher Institute to inform yourself. Find out how abortion access is restricted from NARAL Pro-Choice America.
- Show your support by sharing Liberate Abortion’s pre-made images for social media, or by donating to the National Network of Abortion Funds, who are working to improve resources for abortion access in the US.
- If you live near a clinic (and are able), join or start a clinic escort service to help ensure folks who seek abortions can do so safely. (Search clinic locations at ProChoice.org.)
- Check out the ACLU’s list for more actions you can take to support reproductive freedom. [This is a new link. The original seems to have disappeared behind a 403 error.]