Removing legal, safe access to abortion is not pro-life. Today’s judgment from the Supreme Court is not surprising, but it is heartbreaking.
As a former evangelical, I understand that abortion is an urgent moral issue for many people across the country. I felt that urgency in my youth and still grappled with these feelings well into adulthood. But even then, I knew that my beliefs should not be forced upon others who don’t feel the same way.
Removing safe access to abortion in many states isn’t a win for evangelicalism. It’s a loss for poor and disadvantaged women. It’s a loss for women who encounter health problems during pregnancy. It’s a loss for women trapped in intimate partner violence due to an unplanned or forced pregnancy. It’s a loss for women like myself who don’t want to have biological children. Today is a loss, not a victory for those who truly value life.
I have never had to make the difficult choice about whether or not to have an abortion. I had little to no sex education growing up but was lucky enough to have insurance that offered me discrete access to birth control. I had friends and mentors who taught me about safe sex practices. I listened to podcasts and read articles about my rights and what to do if my birth control failed. Simply, I got lucky.
But the fear was always there. Even when “doing everything right” (insert eye-roll), birth control is never 100%. I never wanted to have an abortion. But I knew that if I found myself in a situation where I was pregnant against my will, I knew that there were laws in place that protected my right to bodily autonomy. Now, in my home state of Tennessee, these rights will go away in 30 days. And legislators are trying to remove them even sooner as we speak.
I get that many conservatives could never vote for democrats because of abortion. I used to think the same way. But being anti-abortion is not the same as being pro-life. Being truly pro-life means we would remove access to abortion in the first place.
A pro-life society looks like: a healthy foster care system, comprehensive sex education, EASY access to SAFE and RELIABLE birth control, universal childcare and healthcare, a non-corrupt adoption system, investment in workforce development, free college tuition, safe abortion access, and so, so, so much more. Not to mention ending the war on drugs, eliminating prison privatization, reworking our insane immigration system and defunding the police.
Are you still excited that abortion is banned? Instead of celebrating the decision today, start advocating for and funding systems and strategies that eliminate the need for many women to have an abortion in the first place. THAT is how you can be pro-life. Not through forcing your beliefs on millions of women who don’t share your beliefs.
Excuse me while I go have a good cry in the corner and wish our country didn’t view women as second-class citizens.