Nationwide abortion bans limit human rights

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Alyssa Bass

Over the past few months, the conversation about abortion and abortion access has been abuzz with talk of all kinds, from completely criminalizing the procedure to amending state constitutions so they grant easier access.

What kind of world do we live in where access to simple medical procedures is limited and even prohibited? American citizens can safely go to the doctor for an appendectomy, but their access to abortions is becoming more and more limited.

Why? Why can I not visit my local healthcare professional and discuss this procedure, let alone go through with one? Why are there no extenuating circumstances, at least?

It seems that we are choosing battles that have already been fought and won to debate about instead of focusing on the bigger, more important issues that plague our country. We are simply distracting ourselves from the present by attempting to change the past.

Maybe discussing these tired issues is just a metaphor for our current state of government. We are reverting to antiqued policies and strategies when there is so much more we can do not only to correct leadership but also to improve the daily lives of regular citizens. We have no business messing around in the 1970s attempting to “fix” healthcare.

With the passing of a very restrictive abortion ban in Alabama recently, women’s reproductive rights and access to healthcare are steadily being stripped away. Other states are on the bandwagon, many banning abortions once the fetal heartbeat is detected, a mere six weeks in.

The Alabama law not only prohibits abortions, but it also does not include any exceptions in which a rape or incest victim may terminate her unwanted pregnancy. As a cherry on top, Alabama doctors found conducting this procedure can be sent to prison for up to 99 years.

This legislation does nothing to protect the reproductive rights of American citizens. If a person needs an abortion, they will not be able to have a safe procedure. They will turn to the back alley “doctors” who will perform the procedure no matter what and with few steps to ensure the mother’s safety.

Thus, restricting and prohibiting access to abortions will not prevent people from getting them. These people will only continue to do it, and they will do it without the protection of their government.

This conversation mimics the conversation had when discussing the legalization of recreational drugs. If the government will provide access to these things, people will be able to safely conduct the behavior instead of risking harm to themselves.

Pro-life activists oftentimes do not take into consideration the lives of the mothers. If an expecting person’s life is in danger, why can’t they terminate their pregnancy? Why must that person risk losing their life for a child they may not want?

According to the New York Times, “bills limiting abortion introduced in states this year far outnumbered abortion rights measures.” We should be making efforts to improve the healthcare and reproductive rights of an oppressed minority instead of continuing to exclude them from the conversation.

Straight white men have no place making decisions for any person with a uterus who can carry a child. Women in all shapes and forms are calling out from the shadows and demanding their voices be heard, but cis men with a semblance of power refuse to listen.

It’s no wonder there have been rallies and marches almost daily since the first bill was signed a few months ago. The dangerous political climate is scaring previously quiet voters into activism for fear of losing their most basic human rights.

There are state leaders who have publicly stated their refusal to sign any anti-abortion bill they read. Democratic Wisconsin governor Tony Evers said in a tweet: “We shouldn’t be limiting the right for women to make their own healthcare decisions.”

Leaders in Vermont wish to amend the state constitution to “declare ‘personal reproductive autonomy’ to be a fundamental right,” according to the New York Times. The only way reproductive rights can be salvaged is by stating explicitly in legislature the rights that will be upheld. There can be no talk of “healthcare rights” or “safe sex” in new bills, for legislators will surely find a loophole.

If this issue finds its way into the Supreme Court’s lap, the battle will be hard fought by the conservative majority. I can guarantee that the 2020 presidential campaigns will be highlighted by the candidates’ stance on abortion.  

No matter your views on abortion, you should be concerned by the control men are attempting to hold over women. Pro-choice is pro-life.