Opinion: Stop Reading Lies About Abortion, Start Funding It
Wow, are anti-choicers winning this fight, huh? I have to hand it to them, they’ve developed a multi-pronged attack on reproductive rights that has effectively dismantled all common knowledge, reason and scientific understanding. Then again, I suppose it is an opportune time to bend facts and twist narratives.
In the week or so since Mike “Nine-Bible” DeWine signed the six week ban on abortions, I’ve tried hard to articulate the frustration I feel toward a government bent on limiting my access to healthcare, warping information about my body, and debating what I should or shouldn’t be able to put in or take out of it. Ultimately, I end up coming away from the attempt feeling exhausted. There’s just so much to say.
The intrinsic misogyny that fuels the anti-choice doctrine. The shame reserved specifically for women who have sex without the intention of procreating. The violation of having my body up for debate in the legislature — unauthorized talks about my uterus, my vagina. The convenient, selective amnesia that leaves penises, testicles and sperm out of the conversation. The pained outrage on behalf of non-sentient, avocado-sized embryos and directed at fully developed, autonomous people. The simultaneous indifference toward real tragedies affecting children: infant and maternal mortality, the state of the foster care system, lack of access to healthcare, food insecurity, homelessness.
It’s a punch to the gut to have real issues that need solving, and a legislature with the willingness only to cause more harm. For too long we’ve allowed anti-choicers to run this conversation, lending credibility to their lies by compromising, by trying to understand, by empathizing with the fact that abortion is and always has been an emotional topic.
Well, enough is enough. Enough with the theatrics and the lies. There’s no more room for emotion in this debate — we’ve reached capacity. So, excuse me while I proceed to knock down each of the anti-choice movement’s attempts at emotional and political manipulation.
- Abortion is birth control. Abortion is healthcare. Abortion is responsible. Knowing you don’t have the means — financial, emotional or otherwise — to start or grow a family and proceeding to prevent a birth is called being responsible.
- Abortion is safe, especially prior to 13 weeks, when more than 90 percent of abortions take place. Medication abortions can often be completed at home. Surgical abortions take roughly five minutes and, without sedation, can be done on your lunch break from work. Abortion is 14 times safer than childbirth.
- Adoption is not an alternative to pregnancy, it’s an alternative to parenting. Abortion is the alternative to pregnancy.
- Pregnancy is not a mere “inconvenience,” as I’ve seen many anti-choicers proclaim. Pregnancy is a body- and life-altering event. It can and often does come with a wide range of temporary, long-lasting and sometimes permanent side effects and complications. Calling it an inconvenience is, frankly, offensive.
- Pregnancy is not a punishment for sex, it’s a consequence of sex. Antis essentially claim that having sex that results in pregnancy means you forfeit any say over your body; that’s your punishment. This is moral relativism. It’s the imposition of religious morality onto the masses. There’s no other foundation for this argument.
- This is an extension of number 5: pregnant people are still people, and they still have the same right to bodily autonomy that they had before an egg inside of them was fertilized. No one, fetuses included, can use that pregnant person’s blood, organs, or body to sustain their own life. There’s a reason the right to bodily autonomy outweighs the right to life. Unless we’re ready to put laws in place that mandate organ donation, we’ll remember that. Unfortunately, people will die without livers and kidneys, but that’s the cost of freedom and autonomy.
- Using emotion-laden words and phrases such as “killing babies,” “murder,” and “infanticide” cheapens and distorts this conversation. We’re talking about non-sentient embryos and a medical procedure.
- Later abortions (after 20 weeks) are a result of one of three things: unimaginable health complications preventing the conclusion of the pregnancy; anti-choice policies that have worked to delay what would have been an earlier abortion; or finances. Often, people will spend too much time trying to gather the funds for their abortion, and as the procedure costs more the later it is done, they’re caught in a cycle of constantly coming up short. This is why abortion funding is necessary.
- Defunding Planned Parenthood, which among other things cheaply provides the means to prevent pregnancy, and subsequently outlawing abortion is called reproductive oppression. Limiting the information provided about sex to religion-based ideas of abstinence is not only proven to be ineffective, but also unethical. People have a right to have all the information and resources they need to make decisions about their bodies.
- Banning abortion will only affect the already most vulnerable populations. People of means will always be able to obtain a safe abortion in another state. People in poverty will risk their lives or even die trying.
Reproductive justice is only truly achieved when people have the right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, to have or not have children, and to parent the children they do have in safe and sustainable communities. Ohio — and many other states — are not working toward this goal but actively against it. Politicians and clergymen are not physicians. The statehouse is not a doctor’s office or a church. It’s past time to fight back.
Help keep abortion accessible by funding it. Women Have Options — Ohio (WHO/O) is currently participating in the National Network of Abortion Funds’ bowl-a-thon. You can help them by donating here.