body autonomy

(Margaret Tran / Daily Titan) 

Pro-choice women from all walks of life continue to call for reproductive rights that seemingly patriarchal individuals and conservatives have attempted to squander even before the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973. 

Undoubtedly, a resurgence of fury elevated in 2020, unlike any other heated abortion debate.

A key factor to the current climate regarding abortion traces back to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, who has exacerbated fears of overturning the constitutional right for women to terminate a pregnancy.

Projecting fears into reality, the Senate abruptly confirmed Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday night — a confirmation that was lightning fast and devoid of political gridlock. Despite Barrett’s claims that she will separate her religious beliefs from the law, it isn’t promising.

Not only does her presence pose a threat to women’s reproductive rights, but the aftermath of possibly overturning Roe v. Wade slams doors to legal abortions. 

If Roe v. Wade were overturned, abortion clinics might collapse in some states. Access to abortions will tighten and some may even turn to dangerous and illegal surgical abortions, which could trigger laws that promptly deem abortion illegal.

Americans in low-income communities and racial minorities in the American South and Midwest would be hit the hardest as the demolition of Roe v. Wade would shutter abortion clinics. 

In January, in Texas, the Trump administration scaled back on the Medicaid requirement that enrollees can receive services from the qualified providers of their choice, such as Planned Parenthood. 

“This is already an abortion desert, you’re just talking about an abortion wasteland,” said Laurie Bertram Roberts, the executive director of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund, in an interview with Vox. 

It is common that some women drive hundreds of miles to an abortion clinic in another state only to encounter the same barriers. 

For instance, Louisiana, which is ranked the most pro-life state by Americans United for Life, passed seven acts in 2019 that restricted women’s reproductive choices under the state’s legislation. 

Trigger laws could also enforce each state’s abortion policy if Roe v. Wade is overturned. A total of 21 states could adapt to anti-abortion policies in a post-Roe world, and ten states, including Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah, could automatically make abortion illegal. 

“If Roe is weakened or overturned, it poses a threat to a host of intertwined rights and would impact people seeking to exercise a range of liberty rights, including the fundamental right to marry, to use contraception, or to have children,” according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The likelihood of the landmark case being overturned infringes on women’s rights across the United States, some policy leaders can’t fathom the discrimination unfolding in front of them. 

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “Just to be clear: there is nothing ‘pro-life’ about denying people comprehensive sexual education, making birth control harder to access, forcing others to give birth against their will, and stripping them of healthcare and food assistance afterwards.”

Denying access to contraception is equivalent to denying access to basic healthcare. 

Women have every right to make decisions for their bodies, as it is illogical for policy leaders to govern what they do not own. This ascends the hyper-partisan political divide between religious beliefs and personal autonomy. 

To provide feasible solutions, organizations like Pro-Choice Caucus and Naral Pro-Choice America encourage pro-choice supporters to elect state representatives who advocate for reproductive freedom, sign petitions that expand abortion access and attend live social media sessions to educate themselves on the topic.

Women’s reproductive rights are on the table and in the end, women won't be provided with any measurable health benefits from those who oppose abortion. They will face hateful comments and unnecessary backlash with no solid healthcare plan to aid them. 

Despite the uncertain future, supporters of women’s reproductive rights cannot give up. It’s been long enough. With Barrett’s confirmation from the Senate, many Americans’ wishes for a leader to support reproductive freedoms were disregarded. 

More than ever, women should be able to reclaim bodily autonomy.

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