As U.S. states like Alabama, Kentucky, and Georgia are passing laws restricting abortion and gearing up to challenge the Roe v. Wade decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, I look on from north of the border with dismay and disgust. I wouldn’t want to live in a country where limited reproductive rights could mean that my body would not necessarily be my own.
I’ve never had an abortion, but as a woman, my reproductive rights and reproductive health should be between me and my doctor and based on what’s most appropriate in my specific circumstances. My body is my own, and the government should have no rights of ownership over my uterus.
The religious angle
If people don’t agree with abortion, they’re perfectly free to make their own choices consistent with that and to express their beliefs. If those decisions are made based on their religious beliefs, they have the right to their own religious freedom.
However, people who are anti-abortion, especially for religious reasons, are not entitled to make my choices for me. Religious freedom means not being forced to adhere to another person’s religious views, and I’m sure quite the outcry would result in a non-Christian religion tried to impose their views on the general American population. I strongly believe that no one should ever, ever have the right to impose their religious beliefs on me, my uterus, and my reproductive rights. My body is my own, and what I do with it should not be dictated by a religion that I do not believe in.
“Late term” abortions
Another place where government does not belong is the agonizing decisions faced by pregnant women who want to have a child but learn of gross fetal abnormalities in the late second trimester or into the third trimester. The term “late term abortion” is often tossed around as though it involves women who simply couldn’t be bothered getting an abortion early on. In reality, these are tremendously difficult decisions that should be made by a woman, her family, and her doctor.
Just recently Missouri state representative Barry Hovis spoke about how the majority of rapes are consensual. He later apologized and claimed that he misspoke, but that kind of ignorance should have no place in public office.
Some state representatives have argued that women who’ve experienced “legitimate” rape couldn’t get pregnant because “the juices don’t flow” and rape causes women to “secrete a certain secretion” to “shut that thing down”. Well that’s a medical explanation if I’ve ever heard one. Sadly, it seems not uncommon for people within the anti-abortion movement to make uninformed or misinformed statements about the female reproductive system and abortion care in order to bolster their position. Personally, I prefer reproductive health care decisions to be based on facts and science.
Who gets to choose?
Isn’t it interesting that it seems to be mostly men trying to pass laws imposing their beliefs on women’s bodies? If it was women trying to dictate what happens with men’s bodies, particularly their reproductive system, is there a snowball’s chance in hell that would actually happen? Of course not.
This shouldn’t be about which side should “win”. You don’t see pro-choice advocates trying to force women who are anti-choice to have abortions. People have the right to their own views, but they shouldn’t be able to enact those views on women’s bodies.
Given the current climate, I am very glad that I don’t live in the United States. The idea of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in particular having a potential say over what happens to women’s bodies is revolting. Women’s reproductive health is a health care issue that should be addressed on an individual basis between a woman and her doctor. No one should be imposing their views, and in particular their own religious views, on women’s reproductive rights and reproductive systems.