By now, your news cycle and social media feed have likely been inundated by Alabama’s bill to completely ban abortions. Other states such as Utah, Georgia, and Ohio have passed “heartbeat” bills, which prohibits abortion after 6-8 week marks, which is essentially a complete ban considering most folks don’t know they’re pregnant until that time. If you live in a so-called liberal state, like California you’re probably feeling a mix of anger but might think this doesn’t directly affect you? Think again. A precedent is being set with these laws and they will come for Roe vs. Wade next. Not only will abortions become illegal, but the folks getting them and their doctors will be criminalized.
These past few days have had me thinking a lot about rape survivors that will have to carry an unwanted fetus to term, survivors of domestic violence now biologically tied to their abusers, and the BIPOC communities that will disproportionately be affected by strict abortion laws. Social media has been full of women sharing their stories and how 1 out of 4 women get an abortion procedure done for an array of reasons. I have also seen many folks plead for inclusive and realistic understandings of reproductive justice and bodily autonomy because women aren’t the only ones choosing to have abortions. The conversation must include Trans-men, non-binary, and intersex folks. Anyone with a uterus can become pregnant. The language we use matters when discussing reproductive rights, as the most vulnerable communities will be impacted the most. We need to diversify the language around reproductive rights.
So many have shared their own pregnancy and abortion stories and I continue to reflect on my own, in an honest and vulnerable way. I was five weeks pregnant when I took an at home test, which means my period was only late by one week. By the time I could schedule an appointment with my local Planned Parenthood, I was already six weeks pregnant. I do not feel the need to justify my choice, but I do know it was the right one. My partner had the ability to monetarily and emotionally support my decision and I had access to Planned Parenthood and walked out with birth control. My own story is not unique, but what’s important to note is that mine came from a point of privilege. I had access. I had a safe medical procedure. By sharing my own experience, I hope someone can find comfort that they’re not alone. The media (and even our families) will continue to spew anti-choice rhetoric and villainize us. They will make our uteruses their political playground, but we are not villains. We’re the authors of our lives & stories. If there was ever a time to make noise about reproductive rights, it’s now.
No matter what laws are set in place, Abortions will not stop. They will become a clandestine act; therefore, unsafe which makes the outlaw of safe and accessible abortions a human rights violation. We are watching history unfold before us. Remember to take care of yourself, share space with loved ones, and like the great Audre Lorde said, “Your silence will not protect you.
Please consider donating to these organizations that are fighting for reproductive justice and rights. National Network of Abortion Funds, Yellow Hammer Fund in Alabama , ARC in Georgia, and give directly to your friends & family.