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Opinion: Access To Birth Control, Abortion, Must Remain Legal

May 22, 2019 Featured, Politics/Policy No Comments
Missouri Capital, Jefferson City, MO, April 2011

In an ideal world there would be zero abortions, but reality is often less than ideal. Women get raped, sometimes by a relative. They can also find themselves pregnant at inopportune times.

Pregnancies have been terminated for centuries, regardless of laws.

Abortion bans, unsurprisingly, have always been about racism, controlling women.

The state [Alabama] first made abortion a crime a bit more than 150 years ago, and others passed similar measures through the middle of that century. Prior to that wave of legislation, common law had allowed abortion until quickening, when the woman first perceived fetal movement — usually around the middle of a pregnancy. Only at the point of quickening was life recognized as having begun. A small group of elite physicians working to professionalize medicine initiated a campaign to criminalize the practice of “bringing on the menses.” They aimed to eliminate their competition by casting midwives and “irregular” doctors as criminals.

To gain legislative support, these doctors raised questions about exactly who was having babies, who was aborting and who should populate the nation. They knew well-to-do white women were having fewer children, and that the families of immigrants, Catholics and, after the Civil War, freedpeople, were larger. To put it plainly: Lawmakers hoped to force middle-class white women to have more babies by removing the option of abortion, thus preventing the country from being “taken over” by “foreigners” and people of color. (Time)

Even when laws banned abortion, women with means & connection could still terminate their unwanted pregnancy. From a woman who’s now 74:

When I was 23, I had an illegal abortion arranged by the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion. I was young, in no position to raise a child, and had gotten pregnant by a man I barely knew. The Clergymen’s Committee was a group of ministers and rabbis who arranged for physicians to provide safe, albeit illegal abortions in different cities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Though I lived in New York, mine was scheduled in a city about an hour’s flight away.

My parents helped pay for the procedure and my friends knew about it, but I chose to go to this appointment alone. What I was doing was illegal and I didn’t want to implicate friends or family. I flew to Pittsburgh and caught a bus to the center of town, near the hotel room where I met the doctor. He was an older gentleman, a respected doctor at one of the local hospitals, and though he was pleasant as he explained what he would be doing, I noticed that his instruments were wrapped in a soiled cloth. (HuffPost)

Some want abortions to go back underground, into back allies again.

Laws that restrict access to abortion are not an effective way to end or greatly reduce the number of abortions because people will continue to have abortions regardless of the law. We actually know how to reduce the number of abortions. Most of those ways involve being honest about how and when people have sex and giving people the information they need to have sex responsibly.

Yet most who favor these highly restrictive laws do not seem terribly interested in pursuing policies that would do any of these things. Every state that has passed a restrictive law around abortion in recent weeks requires that sex education “stress” abstinence. Neither Alabama nor Missouri mandates sex education, though when it is taught, both states require that it emphasize the importance of “sex only within marriage.” Georgia, which does mandate sex education, does not require that information about contraception be included.

This simple fact suggests to me, when I am in a less generous mood, that they are not concerned about preventing abortions. They are instead interested in enforcing their own reactionary views with regard to women and sex. (VOX)

If we really want to reduce the number of abortions then we need to all work to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. This means increasing realistic sex education classes, increasing access to contraceptives (including Plan B), and allowing all women, regardless of races/means, to control their own bodies.

Most of you, like most of the country, agree.  Non-Scientific results from the recent Sunday Poll:

Q: Should Roe v. Wade be overturned?

  • Yes, absolutely! 7 [16.28%]
  • Yes: 0 [0%]
  • Sure: 0 [0%]
  • Neither yes or no: 0 [0%]
  • Probably not: 0 [0%]
  • No: 6 [13.95%]
  • Definitely not! 30 [69.77%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

Hopefully Roe v Wade will not be overturned.

— Steve Patterson


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