Enough time has passed in the news cycle for us to begin shifting our attention away from southern state’s attempts to repeal Roe v. Wade and onto the next new tragedy, outrage or viral video moment. However, it’s important to not lose focus. Women, femme-identifying people and folks with vaginas have been fighting for the right to decide what is right for their bodies long before Roe v. Wade, long before the Civil War and into the earliest iterations of the United States of America.
History has excluded women and anyone else who isn’t a wealthy, straight, cisgendered white man, but women have also done a poor job of including non-binary individuals and people of color in the fight for equality. I feel that it’s important to make that note first– we need to fight for everyone’s rights– not just ours, our sisters or the girl that works at your favorite coffee shop down the street. You may not be able to personally experience the struggles that nonbinary, trans, non-wealthy and of-color individuals have to face but there is a lot more to lose for them.
Abortion bans will disproportionately affect low-income families and individuals who either cannot afford the childcare and medical bills that come with pregnancy and they may not be able to afford the travel necessary for a safe abortion in another state. In addition to those struggles, the Hyde Amendment of 1976 blocked federal Medicaid funding for abortions except for in very narrow circumstances– when pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. These new abortion bans don’t even allow for that. People will be forced to carry the results of a traumatic experience or worse– take dire actions to ensure they don’t have a pregnancy come to term.
Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and the many other states that have produced legislation banning abortions have no plans in place for the unwanted children that result in these pregnancies or the possible increased mortality rate. People are more likely to take dire actions such as wire hangers, falls down stairs and many more terrifying ways to DIY a pregnancy termination. Instead of one bundle of cells halted before consciousness begins, we also have dead mommys-to-be on our hands.
The lack of ability to family plan for the future that individuals want to halts their ability to move up throughout social classes. Instead of focusing on saving money, making investments and developing a career, people will be forced to spend that money on a child they didn’t want, making it that much harder to make it to the life they’ve been dreaming about. According to the USDA Cost of Raising a Child Calculator parents making less than $60,000 would spend $12,306 annually keeping one tiny human alive. Kids are cool and all, but they are very expensive and once you have one, your life is no longer just yours. It is extremely unfair to take that choice away from people with vaginas.
It is a basic (or at least should be) human right to let people decide how to live their lives and to make decisions for their bodies and lifestyles. Taking the ability to have options away based on someone else’s religious or moral beliefs is unconstitutional and hideous. The same people making decisions for other people based off of their personal beliefs scream in outrage when someone tries to get them to change theirs. The hypocrisy is dumb-founding and terrifying. We cannot let the opinions of a few affect the lives of the many.
Several more states have begun to add anti-abortion legislation to their dockets and it is important to remember what we are working towards. The right for everyone to make decisions about their own bodies without the interference of the government or other people’s religious and moral beliefs. We may not all agree on issues and topics, but our personal beliefs should never rob someone of their own choices.