June 24th marks a dark day for the people in the United States who have fought hard to prevent their constitutional right to safe and legal abortions from being overturned. Almost 50 years ago, Roe v. Wade commemorated a milestone for the women’s movement in respect of bodily autonomy, liberty, agency, and equality. Now, for almost half of the states, bodies are under strict control of the law again. Without exceptions, and regardless of age, financial status, familiar situation, or the health of either the fetus or the carrier, all unwanted pregnancies must be fulfilled. This major setback in the evolution of emancipation will not save lives, only destroy them.
Perhaps the most used argument in favor of choice is the well-known fact that making abortions illegal does not end the practice. Illegalizing merely sends abortion underground or incites those aborting to self-induce, both of which are extremely dangerous, painful, and often fatal compromises. “Nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe,” the nonprofit organization Our Bodies Ourselves asserts in a 2014 article, “and nearly all unsafe abortions occur in developing countries. In countries where abortions remain unsafe, [the procedure] is a leading cause of maternal mortality.”
The medical complications which occur from unsafe abortions are not only due to the procedure itself, but also because the decision to abort, affected by stigma and fear, is often made in later stages of the pregnancy. “In 1970, one in four abortions in the United States took place at or after 13 weeks gestation. In 2015, 91 percent of abortions were performed within the first trimester, with 65 percent performed at or under eight weeks gestation,” Our Bodies Ourselves writes. Timely abortions reduce the risk of complications.
ABC News reported in April that states which comply to the strictest abortion laws are also the states where it is the hardest to raise a healthy child. For example, “Mississippi has the nation’s largest share of children living in poverty and babies with low birth weights.” Texas, meanwhile, “has the highest rate of women receiving no prenatal care during their first trimester and ranks second worst for the proportion of children in poverty who are uninsured.” States with restrictive abortion laws generally show poorer safety nets, including underfunded foster care, unpaid maternal leave, and improper childcare. The overturning of Roe will subsequently disproportionately affect lower-class people and people of color when compared to upper- and middle-class whites, as they will not have the means to travel to get an abortion in an unprohibiting state or the money to properly receive any of the social care stated above.
These arguments are far from new. The decades have proven that facts and figures are inadequate proof to anyone who considers conception unanimously sacred. The debate is not about human lives; rather, it is about politics and control, another symptom of a crooked system that questions the secularism of a nation. Once again, it’s left versus right, Democrats versus Republicans, liberals versus conservatives. The endless pushing and pulling between the two “fronts” is a battle that should never be fought over the backs of those in need of medical care.
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