TW: This post is about the recent events surrounding Roe v Wade. Topics surrounding abortion and its causes. Reader discretion is advised.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have seen the leak of the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) draft opinion on voting to overturn Roe v Wade.
For those who are unfamiliar, Roe v Wade is the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States, that in January 1973, legalised abortion throughout the US. The court ruled that abortion was part of the right to privacy under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Now in this leaked draft opinion, various Justices have argued that the law was badly put together, and that abortion does not come under the 14th amendment, as it is not explicitly stated.
With a 6-3 conservative majority and increasingly restrictive abortion laws in various states i.e. Texas, fully removing reproductive autonomy for anyone with a uterus, sadly, seems likely. It is noteworthy that three of the conservative SCOTUS justices (Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett), were installed during the Trump administration. A former President who, in order to secure the votes of the religious right, stated there should be a form of ‘punishment’ for abortion. It is also noteworthy that Justice Amy Coney Barrett was said to be part of a religious group called the People of Praise, that not only forbids abortion, but birth control as well.
There are now rumoured to be drafts drawn up in certain states, to limit or outlaw the abortion pill, Plan B etc. Along with a released excerpt from Justices Alito and Barrett’s note in the draft, speaking about a need for a “domestic supply of infants” for people to adopt.
As someone who has been following developments of the last few years, there’s a lot to unpack. So I’ll leave the summary there. But what I will say is: like most, I am absolutely horrified by this regressive decision. Though the draft opinion is not the finalised vote, it will not surprise me in the slightest if the majority to overturn Roe v Wade stays.
I’ll find it difficult to elaborate on my pro-choice stance that I haven’t already stated. But I’ll try, though a lot of this post will be a stream of consciousness, ranting and trying to make sense of all the information around this. So please bear with me.
Horrified is the only way I can describe this. Safe access to abortion (regardless of what your view on abortion is) in the US is being restricted, putting those who need it at risk. Either of forced pregnancy, not being able to escape an abusive environment, forced marriage, further poverty, and health risks including death by the pregnancy itself, or by unsafe abortion methods.
I firmly believe it is the right of people to access abortion safely, regardless of one’s own personal stance. I also need to address the cross-shaped elephant in the room: Religion (namely conservative Christianity) is the primary driving force for this, and has been for decades. And when I say conservative Christianity, I mean individuals within that demographic (there are conservative Christians who have spoken out against overturning Roe v Wade) who are more than happy to, for lack of a better way to put it, install theocratic, fascistic legislation.
As both a sex writer and a Christian, there are no words to describe just how utterly…well, horrified, I am by this. Abortion is heavily debated within the Church, yes. It always will be. That’s never going to change. And I’ll be honest with you: I don’t like the thought of an abortion. I don’t think anyone does, for that matter. It’s a sad circumstance that no one should have to experience.
But, I understand that it’s necessary for people who need them and I fully support that. It is healthcare. It’s not my health, so who the hell am I to dictate that to someone else? Or even go as far to harass or threaten medical staff? Just because of how I interpret the religious text I follow? Seriously, who does that? Make it make sense!
When I say it’s something no one should have to experience, I understand it will always happen. That’s exactly why it’s needs to be safely accessible. There are ways to effectively lower abortion rates, and it’s not through banning it. It means better measures for everyone: Comprehensive sex education over abstinence only education. Better access to birth control, universal healthcare and ensuring theocracy does not happen, either at state or nationwide level.
Also, I wish for my fellow Christians to recognise that it’s not just about us. There are other religions in the world, even people who aren’t religious at all (I know! Shock. Horror. *note for sarcasm*) And guess what? That’s ok! In Islam and Judaism, abortion is allowed if the parent’s life is in danger, among other reasons etc. So for someone i.e. a devout Muslim woman seeking an abortion, doing so can be in accordance with her religious beliefs. Regardless of where you as a Christian stand on that, that is still her choice. That’s the point. In a country where you are supposedly fully in the Free World, that freedom will and should extend to reproductive autonomy.
Which is exactly what folks like Amy Coney Barrett (extremists in my opinion) want to take away. What these folks want to put in place is purely about controlling people’s bodies. Especially with the “domestic supply of infants” note. Those words make my skin crawl and sounds so disturbingly like treating anyone with functioning ovaries as nothing but broodmares.
This is not about God’s grace or protecting life. It’s not about humanity at all if you are willing to let someone die because you are denying them a life-saving procedure. Or even just taking someone’s autonomy away from them. It is about control. Pure and simple. It is cruel beyond cruelty and it hurts. Many fellow Christians and me have no intention of being lumped into the same basket as these people so adamant on causing destruction. But my worries are nothing compared to the people who desperately needing this procedure are going through right now.
We must all stand against extremism and ignorance that will, sadly, cost lives, all for the sake of control.
*Photo credit – Pinterest.