S5 Ep 2: Don’t tread on… my uterus (Why abortion bans are a bad idea)
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South Carolina is one of the States that has been in the news in recent months. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade there were several states who decided that they should legislatively place controls on the providing of abortion services. Many implemented bans after certain gestational benchmarks, but some states (ahem, South Carolina) took it to the extreme with attempts to completely ban abortions altogether.
Sadly, a chamber full of old white men were able to draft and pass legislation that is a gross violation of womens’ rights to make medical decisions about their bodies. Thankfully, the South Carolina Supreme Court recently ruled that such a ban violates the right to privacy for women, and they nixed the whole thing. Now, these statements are always ones that get folks worked up, so before we spiral into an abyss of hostility, let’s talk about this like reasonable people.
One of the things people often say is that the “purpose” of these bans is to “protect the sanctity of life” or the “rights of the unborn”. While it is certainly true that life is sacred, and we can have all sorts of conversations about when life begins, it is not the place of the government to be an enforcer of morality. There are instances when women are not given a choice in getting pregnant, and forcing them to carry a pregnancy to term is cruel.
For example, if a woman (teenaged or otherwise) becomes pregnant as a result of being raped would you stand face to face with her and tell her that she must carry to term a pregnancy that is the result of one of the most violent acts a human can take on another? Where do her rights begin in this situation?
OR- what if a woman finds out mid-pregnancy that the child she carries will almost certainly claim her life if she carries to term? Where do her rights begin in this situation?
Another reason many support these bans is because they are concerned with late-term abortions or partial birth abortions.The fact of the matter is that this is not the norm. Women are not just getting pregnant for fun, carrying a baby for 7-8 months, then having an abortion. I have been pregnant twice, and I can tell you that the idea of this happening with regularity is absolutely absurd.
If late-term abortion is truly an issue there are ways that this can be addressed without the use of legislative force. Abortion services are performed by medical professionals. If a medical professional acts with willful and wanton negligence they can be sued, have their license revoked, and can even face criminal charges for their actions. Why isn’t this enough?
Another argument I heard a lot during the campaign is that doctors took an oath to “do no harm”. To that I ask, what is more harmful than making a traumatized girl/woman carry a baby she didn’t ask for? What is more harmful- making a woman carry and give birth to a baby that could cause her death, or allowing her to end the pregnancy? These are the women we hurt with abortion bans.
While the topic is one that is very emotional for many, and rightfully so, we must set aside our emotion and work through the topic like reasonable people if we are to find a solution that affects meaningful change.
Taking into consideration the situational examples we have discussed, we are left with one that is very important: that we can work together to remedy the issue without the use of legislative or other government force. As communities we should focus on providing adequate support to women in crisis. Not just women who are raped or whose pregnancies are extremely high risk- but those women who become pregnant as the result of accidental circumstances, mistake, or negligence.
When we have a system where abortion is the fastest and cheapest option women in crisis will choose it. We need to work together to provide counseling services to women and families in crisis, independent educational services to our children as they enter adolescence and puberty, and we need to work together to make adoption a more reasonable, more affordable, and more available option for women in crisis.
We need to open our hearts, our minds, and our homes and be the village instead of turning our backs on these women when they need us the most. And we sure as hell shouldn’t allow a bunch of old white men to force their morality on us while acting as our representation.