As a mother and woman living in the United States, I understand the dynamics that it takes to bring a child into this world. I am fortunate to have an amazing support system within my family that makes it even possible. But not every woman has the resources or even wants to have children so they opt for abortion. Conservative-stacked courts and lawmakers are trying to take that choice away.
In December, the Supreme Court heard arguments for one of the most significant abortion cases in decades. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health centers on a Mississippi law that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This comes just months after the highest court in the land allowed the strictest abortion measure in the country to remain in place — one with a bounty hunter provision — and have Texans battle it out in the lower courts.
Countering 50 years of precedence, it’s clear the court with new Trump appointees is allowing states to take away our constitutional right to abortion access and decimate women’s rights.
In August, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 into law, which prohibits abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy and has only a limited and ill-defined exception for a medical emergency. This law will also allow private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone else who aids or abets an abortion. Right now, health care providers are suing to block the law and abortions in Texas have come to a virtual halt.
To make matters worse, this law makes no exceptions for people who are victims of rape or incest. It will cause serious harm to sexual assault survivors in the state. Most victims of rape and abuse don’t realize they are pregnant until after 6 weeks.
According to a study at the National Library of Medicine, the national rape-related pregnancy among adult women is an estimated 32,101 pregnancies each year. A total 32.4% of these victims did not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered their second trimester. With the new law in place, once these survivors come forward and realize they don’t have any options, they will again have their agency stripped from them and suffer feeling usafe, unheard and lacking control.
Being forced to carry a pregnancy to term can be harmful financially, psychologically and physically. The right to have an abortion is a part of women’s liberty, equality and economic security. Every woman should have access to abortion when she needs it. It’s immoral that a woman’s ability to access abortion will now depend on the state she lives in and it’s counter to our constitution.
One anti-choice senator, Steve Daines said: “The Senate remains the firewall for protecting life against the radical Left’s pro-abortion agenda. I’m going to do all I can to ensure we stand up for the most vulnerable and prevent any tax dollars going to the abortion industry.”
The irony is that while legislators like him want to force women to have children, they punish those same children by rallying against policies that would actually allow them equal opportunity beyond the womb.
The Build Back Better Act, for example, includes policies that impact many aspects of family life and our most vulnerable communities, including income, housing, health care, preschool, education and more. This act also includes an extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit that puts money in families’ pockets monthly, paid family and medical leave, and funding to help families pay the rent.
But Daines refuses to support the bill and called these policies that actually go towards helping children a “reckless tax and spending spree.” If Senator Daines really cared about our most vulnerable then he would reconsider his stance by prioritizing policies that help children, not that strip women of their rights and proper healthcare.
The hope of many women is that the U.S. Supreme Court will protect our Constitution and ensure the promise of Roe v. Wade remains a reality for every woman in this country. It shouldn’t be politics that drives important medical decisions for women’s health. All legislators need to support policies that make the lives of women and families better.