National Commentary

Abortion is Healthcare, Whether You Like It or Not

We live in a country that does not offer universal healthcare, that does not guarantee paid maternity leave, where Black women are over three times more likely to die during or after pregnancy than white women.


In 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.


Last Monday, Politico obtained a leaked draft suggesting that the Supreme Court is prepared to overturn this landmark decision.


Abortion is healthcare. It should not be something “political” yet the people making the decisions about the bodies of those with uteruses are often not the people it will affect directly. Banning abortion will not stop abortions from happening but it will make them significantly more dangerous.


I’m 23 years old. I graduated college a year ago and have been in my career less than a year. I live alone in a studio apartment. If I found out I was pregnant tomorrow, I don’t know what I would do. I suppose it would depend on the circumstances but ultimately I would want to have options and the choice should be mine to make.


Women are constantly shamed for their bodies and sexuality. If they have sex, they are seen as promiscuous and if they don’t then they are seen as prudish. Vasectomies are not only much easier to have done than hysterectomies, but they are also reversible. However, the discourse online always falls back to put the blame on the person with a uterus. In order to have a hysterectomy done, many doctors require consent from a person’s husband despite the fact that there are no state mandates requiring spousal consent for the procedure.


Leila Cohan’s tweet puts it perfectly, “If it was about babies, we’d have excellent and free universal maternal care. You wouldn’t be charged a cent to give birth, no matter how complicated your delivery was. If it was about babies, we’d have months and months of paternal leave, for everyone.”


I will believe you are “pro-life” when you start caring about the children kept in cages at our border. I will believe it when you recognize the disproportionate rate that Black people are murdered by police and the people meant to protect us. You are not “pro-life,” you are pro-forced birth and anti-choice.


Another viral post from last week was from Jason Selvig on Twitter where he approaches a group of women holding a sign that says “choose adoption.” He asked them all how many children they have adopted. Most of them attempted to avoid the question in some way and it was ultimately found out that none of them had. I also found much of the language used in their responses to be quite telling. One of them answered by saying “I have two of my own.” To me, this makes it sound as if she would not view a child who was not biologically hers to truly be her child. Another said she was unable to adopt, yet never stated what the reason why was. Who knows, maybe if paternal leave and healthcare were more readily available in our country she would have been able to.


The way we speak about this issue is also important. It is not only women who will be impacted by this. Not every person who has a uterus is a woman and those marginalized groups would likely be even more impacted by the decision if and when it goes through.


Social media users are currently encouraging a nationwide strike that began on Mother’s Day. According to the official website, this strike is calling for participants to “cease all economic activity, such as, working, attending school, shopping, going to the movies, transactional recreation, etc.”


While some of these options may not work for all people, I encourage you to do what you can— whether that’s donating your time and resources, boycotting or just spreading the word.


In 1975, women in Iceland went on strike “to demonstrate the indispensable work of women for Iceland’s economy and society” and to “protest wage discrepancy and unfair employment practices” and “did not go to their paid jobs and did not do any housework or child-rearing” for the day. The government soon passed a law guaranteeing equal pay.


The immediate goals of this strike include enacting The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) and ending the filibuster. Short term goals include federally codifying Roe v Wade into law. And long term goals include term limits for Supreme Court Justices, limiting the number of Supreme Court Justices a single administration can appoint.


I encourage you to participate in any way you can. More information can be found at mothersdaystrike.com, including mutual aid resources, trusted organizations and more ways to get involved.


This small space isn’t nearly big enough for me to express all of my feelings. Be aware of what is happening around you because you never know what laws they will come for next.