Last weekend Patrick, some of our friends, and myself attended the Bans Off Our Bodies Women’s March in Los Angeles to rage against the leaked intention to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that allowed people legally obtain an abortion. There is a part of me that is shocked that in the 21st century I am sitting here typing this, and there is another part of me that after witnessing the last several years, I’m not surprised, and am reminded that 50 years really isn’t very long.
While Patrick and I snapped plenty of pictures at the rally, we failed to get any pictures of myself, well, the front of me at least. Patrick got one of me from the back, so, yeah, that’s me in the cowboy hat and tie-dye, look, it was warm and I wanted to be comfy. I chose to reuse my sign from the 2019 Women’s March (as it honestly seemed to apply even more so now than it did before), which is doubled sided, and reads “What Wave of Feminism are We On? I’ve Lost Count” on the other side.
So, hi, yes, if you’re new, I’m pro-choice. While I may be interested in the past, it largely is an aesthetic thing. I have a degree in history, so I know that the past was not all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows (and, yes I did just make a Leslie Gore reference). I do not feel like I was born in the wrong era. I do not wish I could live in the past. For those who are turned off by this…I beg that you continue to read, because like any good researcher, I’m about to drop some facts on y’all.
First, let’s talk about two of the Supreme Court Justices. During their confirmation hearings, under oath, both Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh accepted the legality of Roe v. Wade. Gorsuch said “I would tell you that Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court. It has been reaffirmed” going on to say that Roe v. Wade “is the law of the land. I accept the law of the land.” Kavanaugh stated that “the Supreme Court has recognized the right to abortion since the 1973 Roe v. Wade case. It has reaffirmed it many times.” So if these two were to vote to reverse Roe v. Wade, it would showcase that they lied under oath. Additionally, this small group of people do not even represent what Americans actually think about abortion. The truth is, according to Pew Research, the majority of Americans say abortion should be legal.
Banning abortion does not result in less abortions, what it does result in is people losing their lives. States that have severe laws restricting access to abortion have higher mortality rates for those giving birth. So “pro-life” is a lie, because people die as a result of not being able to obtain one.
To those who say “There is always adoption!” First, you fail to recognize the mortality issue, that many can lose their lives during pregnancy or giving birth. If you say that the life of the mother should be an exception consider what percentage of someone possibly dying from giving birth is okay for you? Ten percent? Fifty percent? Any percentage? Second, abortions also cover the removal of a non-viable fetus. So just imagine the trauma associated with wanting a child, hearing will be stillborn, but being forced to carry it to term. Third, you fail to recognize the issues with the adoption and foster care systems. As of 2020, there were just under 500,000 youths in the foster care system. Additionally, not all within the system get adopted. Around 20,000 age out of the system each year, and within four years of aging out, half do not have any earnings, and those who do make any money have an average yearly income of only $7,500. Furthermore, within the same four year time frame, one in four of those who age out will become homeless. All of this in a country where homeless has risen in recent years, and states choosing to make cuts on welfare programs, like food assistance.
If you want to say “Oh, cases of rape and incest are an exception” you fail to recognize the issues with rape and the justice system. Not all people are comfortable coming forward with rape, and not all are listened to or believed. In fact, there has nearly always been a massive backlog of rape test kits. How long is a person forced to be pregnant while a test kit sits in limbo? What happens if someone isn’t believed? You are really going to force them to carry a rapist’s child?
Want to use your religion as your excuse? Well, you simply cannot impose your religious beliefs on others. Your religion says you can’t have an abortion? Okay. You can’t have one, but you cannot apply that to others. It would be similar to America banning divorce or the consumption of certain foods simply because a religion says it’s not okay.
Criminalizing abortion (going as far as to charge those who have them with murder, as some states are wanting to do) will also result in every miscarriage becoming a crime scene. Imagine wanting a baby, planning for a baby, maybe you even have a name picked out and the nursery completed, and then you have a miscarriage. Imagine it’s something like tripping down the stairs. One of the worst days of your life will become even more horrific because you could be charged with murder, causing trauma on top of trauma.
Also, if you still want to say “Oh, but a fetus is a child!” then next time you’re pregnant and do your taxes, try to claim that fetus as a dependent. Guess what? You can’t. The government does not recognize a fetus as a person. Also, if you’re going to say a fetus is a child, then have fun telling them their “birthday” is the day they were conceived.
So let’s talk about things that actually are pro-life. Common sense gun laws, universal healthcare, parental leave, clean air, clean water, housing, proper funding for education (including after school and free food programs), supporting science, proper sex education (studies show states that push abstinence-only sex ed have higher teen pregnancies), supporting the LGBTQ+ community (suicide rates are higher among LBGTQ+), supporting our veterans on their arrival home (like the LGBTQ+ community, vets also have a higher than average suicide rate), and food assistance. Speaking of food assistance, often the states that rally against abortion are also actively cutting food assistance programs. If you think that certain people aren’t worthy of things like healthcare, housing, food, etc., then you are not pro-life, you are pro-birth, your caring for that fetus ends the second they no longer meet your level of acceptance.
On another incredibly fucked up note that furthers the notion of being nothing more than a walking womb…did you know that in Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas one cannot obtain a divorce while pregnant!? Could you imagine being married to an abuser, they rape you (although in many states, marital rape isn’t considered a thing, which is a whole other issue in itself) and you get pregnant, and even if you decide to keep the child, you want to get a divorce to get away from them, and you can’t?!