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Opinion: Endless Abortion Bans Constitute Class Warfare

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Opinion: Endless Abortion Bans Constitute Class WarfarePhoto by Keith Mellnick.
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The Heartbeat Bill is back. It’s a total failure of a bill, introduced and knocked down three times in the last five years, but Ohio anti-choicers are nothing if not persistent in their misguided approach to changing abortion stats.

The language is the same as it’s been. Once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, abortion is a no-go. Meaning: Ohio families in desperate times will be forced to take desperate measures.

Attacks on abortion access are nothing new in Ohio, and even if it fails again, this is definitely not the last. A 20-week abortion ban was enacted not even a year ago. And, aside from all of the blatant assaults, the legislature has mastered the craft of introducing and passing anti-choice bills that appear to be harmless. A mandatory 24-hour waiting period, complete with brochures on fetal development. Excessive rules and regulations on abortion providers, forcing some to shut down.

The eternal debate has long held two sides: a righteous group with family values and a troop of baby murderers. Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. There are ways to bring down the numbers without stomping on constitutional rights, and it should align well with the principles of anti-choicers: value (and support) families.

Family Leave

Of all the people who seek an abortion, 60 percent already have children. These (largely) working class mothers and their families have a hard time taking time off of work, especially here in Ohio. There’s no mandate for private employers to grant expecting mothers paid maternity leave, and Ohio’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants a paltry six weeks of leave, where for some reason the first two are unpaid.

Once the new child is born, someone needs to stay home. Who’s taking the pay cut for the next two weeks or longer, and what will the family need to sacrifice to make rent, clothe the newborn, pay utilities, buy the formula, etc.?

Affordable Childcare

Say the baby makes it through infancy; the mother didn’t feel the need to dilute the formula to make it last and save money, or had the spare funds to buy a proper crib for safe sleeping. Now the toddler needs a caretaker during the day while everyone is at work.

Let’s go with the same demographic: families with at least one child.

For a married couple, 15 percent of their incomes will be spent on childcare for two children. If they’re in poverty, knock that up 66 percent.

Low-income workers can apply for a voucher program. It covers childcare for children younger than 13 years old, but to qualify, a single parent can’t make more than 130 percent of the poverty level ($26,208). This leaves out working class families who may not be in poverty, but can’t afford the high cost of private childcare.

Livable Minimum Wage

It’s not just high school kids making extra cash; real people work minimum wage or near-minimum wage jobs. Less than half are in the 16- to 24 year-old age range. That translates to Ohio parents trying to support their families on $8.15 an hour, forcing them to either take up two or three jobs or apply for government assistance.

In this poor state of financial security, parents dealing with an unwanted pregnancy are bound by their government to bring another child into the home while gaining zero support on the other side. This is class warfare.

None of this is to say that the well-off and financially secure have no right to an abortion. Motherhood should always be a choice. It’s basic bodily autonomy.

The only other instance where you must surrender bodily autonomy is imprisonment. Dead bodies, before they were dead bodies, had a say. The comatose have assigned powers of attorney. Yet, a pregnant woman with no want for motherhood answers to her government? That is a violation.

But, abortion restrictions as they are now are class warfare in the form of policy. Anyone of means can travel far and wide and get immediate access. They could even stay in Ohio, just for the giggles, and have a short stay in Columbus while they leisurely wait through that mandatory 24-hour waiting period.

Lawmakers: stop the attacks on reproductive rights in the name of “family values.” If you value families, support and trust them.

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