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 wouldn’t 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. They’re also free to express their beliefs, although they’re not free to harass others. If they make those decisions 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. Imagine the outcry if a non-Christian religion tried to impose their views on the general American population. I strongly believe that no one should ever be able to impose their religious beliefs on me and my uterus. My reproductive rights should not be overruled by a religion that I don’t believe in. Why, as an atheist, should my body be controlled by Christian conservatives?
“Late term” abortion
Another place where the 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. “Late term abortion” isn’t an actual medical term, yet it’s 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.
Maybe if these people want to reduce abortions, they should address rape culture. Maybe they should push for schools and parents to talk to their kids about the realities of sex and, just as importantly, the nature of consent.
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 systems, 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 having a 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; it should involve a woman and her doctor, and significant others of her choosing. No one should be imposing their views, particularly their own religious views, on women’s bodies. Reproductive rights need to be treated as rights.
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