Debates over the act of abortion are something that we are all too familiar with as women. The arguments are constant, with political and religious leaders exclaiming with certainty their views on the matter. Right-wing leaders call those who have abortions ‘baby killers,’ citing religious texts to back up their claims with fierce conviction. I have seen this debate over my own body autonomy too many times to count growing up in the south. Consequently, the right-leaning Supreme Court of the U.S. is hearing a Mississippi case that could overturn Roe v. Wade. This vital case giving women the right to choose could be taken away. The real question we should all be asking is, why is this a partisan issue?

Religious motives

The most common arguments for pro-life beliefs are rooted in religious texts. This throws out the separation of church and state. This opposition is also due to Planned Parenthood being financed by federal funding. In other words, they do not want to ‘support’ a company that helps the underprivileged. This falls under redistributive policies or acts that help minorities. Ironically, right-wing Christians do not want to support those in need with their money; an action completely opposite from the faith that they claim. But that is a story for another time.

Control motives

If those against abortion were truly passionate about children, they would investigate the realities where abortion is not insured. A study at Georgetown found that there are higher infant mortality rates in states where Medicaid is not applicable to the Affordable Care Act. If pro-life individuals genuinely cared, they would investigate the increased rates of children who depend on free school lunches. Or, the thousands separated by Trump at the border would be a concern to them. This ironic mindset drives me up a wall if I perseverate on it too much. “My body, my choice”, now used by anti-maskers, is not an excuse for their behavior. This is a matter of controlling women’s bodies. They want to go back to when America was ‘great.’ A world where the woman stays home while men are breadwinners. 

When men held all the control.

Each year, the Supreme Court reviews about seven to eight thousand cases, the Federal Judicial Center cites. It is of no surprise that the right-winged court chose the Mississippi case out of the other 80 to 100 cases. Former President Trump chose half of the conservative judges hired for life. Ignoring late justice Ginsburg’s dying wish to wait to replace her, Trump chose Amy Barrett. Consequently, this permanently alters future decisions to come. As a result, this affects cases with redistributive policies (racial inequality, poverty, etc). Because of their life term, there is absolutely nothing we can do to stop their decisions. This isn’t a reaction of astonishment, but one of deep loss and grief. We are not shocked because this misogynistic act is one of too many in American history. 

The Nineteenth Amendment

Women gained the right to vote only one century ago. On a recent visit to The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, an exhibit reminded me of this young Nineteenth Amendment and the fierce protection it requires. To clarify, our right to vote as women is not ‘on the line,’ but any lack of equality should be given the same amount of respect. Paid maternity leave and equal pay are mere extensions of this equality. It was humbling to read of the strenuous efforts women endured to have their voices heard. The government threw suffragettes in jail, starved, and beat them for advocating for equality. To conclude, there is no excuse for this behavior stemming from hate. We cannot forget this dark side of American history when creating future policies. America did not recognize my voice in 1776, but began to in 1920.

144 years later.

The Heartbeat Bill

Paxton Smith understands the threatening decision of the Heartbeat Bill. Governor Abbott of Texas recently passed this bill, which bans abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy. Most women are not aware of their pregnancy at that time. Rape and incest are included in this ban, which is absolutely appalling in so many ways. As a result, Smith scrapped her high school-approved valedictorian speech. She spoke of her fear, of her “hopes and efforts and dreams” being taken away if she were to be assaulted or her birth control does not work. Men in a sexual relationship do not have to bear the pain of pregnancy or raising children. However, women do not have a say. “I hope you can feel how gut-wrenching it is, how dehumanizing it is, to have the autonomy over your own body being taken away from you”, she discloses. The government creates our futures without knowledge or consent.

Our forefathers constructed America for the prosperity of wealthy white men. We have used hushed voices for too long, with too much sacrifice for change. After all, shouldn’t all men be created equal? As women, we have to take every measure to change that. It is not a choice, but an obligation to strive towards the autonomy of our bodies. Above all, for our future generations. 

Abigail Adams

I will leave you with this quote that struck me at the National Constitution Center. Abigail Adams wrote this to her husband and former President John Adams when he was contributing to the Declaration of Independence. As Harvard professor, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich wisely said, “well-behaved women seldom make history.” 

“In the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”

Read also:
The Case That Could End The Roe v. Wade Era
Abortion Is On The Ballot In Louisiana
Menstrual Leave: The Next Workplace Reform