Hello, everyone! It’s a terrible time to be a person in the United States, and an especially terrible time to be a person who’s a woman. Yes, we can vote, and have our own bank accounts, and even own property, but who knows how long we can expect to hold on to those rights, since none of them are “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.” Apparently, basing human rights off of whether they were around 247 years ago is the most important criteria for interpreting the American constitution, so you can say goodbye to any rights for women, minorities, children, and anyone else who’s not a property-owning white man, because giving anyone but that select sliver of the population rights isn’t deeply rooted in our Nation’s history and tradition.
I’m honestly still reeling over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Reeling because not only does it not make any legal sense to overturn a right to bodily autonomy that any semi-literate person could find guaranteed in the 9th and 14th Amendments, but because the decision to overturn a 50-year-old precedent protecting the right to a woman’s bodily autonomy was decided with such unflinching cruelty, boldfaced ignorance, and flippant disregard for the norms of a modern democratic society that it beggars belief.
I already wrote an extensive post detailing why the argument in favor of overturning Roe is so batshit insane, so if you’re interested in reading that, please do, or read one of the million other sensible articles explaining why this decision will have such chilling consequences for the United States. Right now I don’t want to talk about the justification of the decision (which is deranged in both its logic and its inconsistency) but what it means for women in a post-Roe America, and how it feels to be a woman of child-bearing age living in this time period.
I’m now living in a world where I am scared to become pregnant. I’ve always wanted to have children, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that becoming pregnant is terrifying. In the best of times, pregnancy is a life-altering condition, causing anything from nausea on the moderate side, to life-threatening conditions like pre-eclampsia or sepsis. And that’s if the fetus even survives until birth – the high frequency of natural miscarriages, unviable fetal abnormalities, and stillbirths means that a live birth is no guarantee. Childbirth has undeniably become less deadly during the advent of modern medicine, but that doesn’t erase the fact that pregnancy is still dangerous for both mother and baby, and with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, will become even more dangerous as it becomes illegal for doctors to remove dead fetuses from a woman’s womb, terminate ectopic pregnancies, or abort unviable fetuses. The consequences of such restrictive anti-abortion laws are evident in harrowing stories from countries like Ireland and Poland, where woman have died from sepsis due to laws that prevent doctors from removing stillborn fetuses from the womb.
Anti-abortion proponents will try to tell us that worrying about dying in pregnancy is hysterical and unfounded. They will point to exemptions in their new trigger bans that allow for abortion in case of “medical emergencies.” But who decides what is a medical emergency, and how effective will these exemptions be when a pregnancy can become life-threatening for the mother in a matter of hours or minutes? Lawmakers who make these laws don’t think about the consequences of these callously made trigger bans. Whether due to ignorance of the realities of pregnancy, or, as I highly suspect, an explicit disregard for the health and safety of women, the Supreme Court, and anti-abortion lawmakers, have turned the United States into a country where the unborn are guaranteed more protection than the living women forced to carry them in their womb. It’s the greatest injustice in the world that men who will never have to risk their lives in pregnancy get to sentence the unwillingly pregnant to death.
So, like I said, I’m scared. I’m scared to get pregnant and die because the baby I’m carrying dies in my womb and my doctors refuse to take it out. The anti-abortion movement says that these laws protect the life of the unborn. They say that pregnant women have no right to take the life of another person, a person who just happens to be living in their body, and gaining sole sustenance from their flesh. They think this a victory for human rights. In reality, they’ve set human rights back 50 years or more. Under the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 14th Amendment, we no longer have the right to control our own bodies. They say that this specific interpretation only applies to abortion, but how can that be? If they can do mental gymnastics to reject bodily autonomy for abortion, why can’t they do the same gymnastics for any other similar right? If they can make you carry a child against your will, they can keep you from carrying one, too. State-sanctioned sterilization of the “unfit” was general practice as recent as the 1980s. Why not bring that back, too? You think you have a right to decide when to donate your organs? Not anymore. If the Constitution doesn’t protect a woman’s right to bodily autonomy, then it won’t be too long until they come for men, too. Just remember that slavery was “deeply rooted in our Nation’s history and traditions,” and forcing a woman to carry a child against her will isn’t too far off from that. Pandora’s Box has been opened, and unless Congress does something to codify abortion, and after that, the right to one’s unconditional bodily autonomy, then we as Americans should expect the worst. This decision has shown us the reality of America: our bodies belong to the state, not to us.
But I guess that’s just me being hysterical.