Today marks the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a significant and controversial court decision regarding abortion. There have been record attacks against sexual and reproductive freedoms in our country, so it is that much more important that we stand up and be heard.
Why is this important, you ask? Well, there are many reasons.
Reproductive freedom and religious freedom are interconnected. We are a country that prides itself on accepting many and varied religious (and non-religious) belief systems. Read this by Nancy K. Kaufman for more on this topic.
Abortion rates are higher in places where there are more restrictions in place.
There are still many who do not believe in providing accurate, fact-based sexual and reproductive health information to our country’s youth. For instance, take this recent CDC report about how one third of teenage moms didn’t think they could get pregnant. The US still has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world. While anti-choicers would rather see motherhood and adoption as viable options, there are roadblocks to those choices as well. For instance, there are still many barriers in place for same sex couples who want to adopt. Apparently, same sex relationships are more problematic to some than the idea of children without loving homes.
Many politicians are pushing for cutting services and programs that help families in need. How can they call themselves pro-life and pro-family when they are turning their backs on people in need? Maternity leave is dismal in the US, and we do not get to enjoy the kind of post-partum support that other countries enjoy (Health Visitors in the UK, Plunket in New Zealand, Early Childhood Australia). American midwives and other birth attendants can and do provide these services, but are often vilified in our medical system.
About 61% of abortions are obtained by women who are already mothers. It is offensive to say that these women are not smart enough or capable of making their own choices. They’re already raising families, and only they know what their individual circumstances are like and what has brought them to this place.
Making abortion illegal will not eliminate the procedure. Women with means will continue to obtain them safely; however, marginalized women will be left on their own, often to tragic consequences. Legal abortion means safe abortion that help keep women healthy.
Patients, in discussion with their loved ones and medical providers, should be the ones making their health decisions; not governments and politicians.