I’ve struggled to write this article because of the strong emotional reaction it triggers in me. I end up getting angry, frustrated and deeply anxious about the future of this country when trying to put my thoughts in one place about abortion.
Let me start by saying I’m 100% pro-choice. If that’s enough for you to stop reading/following Transatlantic Notes because you disagree (yes, it’s happened), I will just say this to you before you go – if you were ever in a situation where decisions about your body were being made against your wishes, I’d fully support and defend your right to choose what you want for yourself.
And that’s really the basis for my unapologetically pro-choice stance – equality for women also means equality amongst women. There should be no distinction that separates women into those who are free and those who are not. Women aren’t a homogeneous group, we make different choices about our bodies all the time – and those choices, related to pregnancy or not, must never strip us of our rights, or hand over any portion of ownership of our bodies to the government.
The debate around whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice is a very visceral one. I’ve seen deliberations that go back and forth many times over, often ending in scare tactics, deliberate misinformation and personal insult. For me, it all comes down to the fact that reproductive health and personal choice regarding your body should remain in your control and without government or systemic interference. The government has no place in my body, in your body, or anyone else’s body – the very idea that a girl or woman would be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term fills me with dread and fear. It’s an overreach that smacks of totalitarianism.
The U.S. has a disturbing history of trying to control reproductive rights, including removing the ability to conceive. Federally-funded forced sterilization of Native women happened throughout the 20th century. Court sanctioned coerced sterilization of inmates happened in the 2000s. Whether it’s sterilization, abortion, contraceptives, or anything else that comes under the umbrella of reproductive rights, no aspect of it should be restricted or removed or ever handed over to a system of power.
Whatever your beliefs, morals or religious arguments are against abortion, you don’t get to force life choices onto anyone else – nor should you have the government doing your biding.
If the American and I found out we were pregnant, I don’t know if an abortion would be something I’d consider. What I do know is that the cost of pregnancy-related healthcare (with or without insurance) could push us into financial difficulties that may potentially negatively impact us for many years – not to mention the medical dangers related to a geriatric pregnancy or the pre-existing condition that could complicate my own health. “So don’t have children, take precautions”, I hear you say – well, here in Ohio, where I live, they’re proposing a law to restrict/ban insurance coverage for birth control that follows the recent abortion bill. So how exactly do I take personal authority over that? Sure, condoms are available, but I personally want to have responsibility for my own body and not put it in the *hands* of my partner. The American, of course, would always respect me and wear one, if that’s what we agreed to, but not everyone respects that sovereignty.
Bans will not stop access to abortions, they’ll just stop access to safe abortions. And that’s one of the saddest, most contradictory points to this whole debate. Women will put their health at risk, even die as a result of these restrictions – as history has shown us. How do you measure how precious her life was? She has a heartbeat too.
Abortion Bans Are a Health Crisis. For Black Women, They Mean Devastation (Black Enterprise)
The Contraceptive Pill Was A Revolution For Women And Men (The Conversation)