In light of the overturning of Roe v Wade, it’s with a heavy heart that I revise and expand this article from 2019 with a new goal to take back reproductive rights.
Our mission at BGR is to help people use money as a tool for greater personal autonomy, community stability, and social justice. The sudden unjust denial of abortion access to many Americans has us utterly shaken. We have stated many times that reproductive rights are a non-negotiable basis for success. It is impossible to work toward any of those goals without the right to freely determine the number and timing of potential children. But here we are.
The average American child costs a quarter million dollars before they reach age eighteen. The idea that any person or family should be forced to make such a financial commitment—or several such commitments—for something they don’t passionately want is fundamentally repugnant to us.
We mostly write about money and careers on Bitches Get Riches. It’s not because we love them so much we wanna kiss ‘em on the mouth—it’s because in the society that we have today, money and careers are the best tools we have to attain complete independence and autonomy.
We believe that each individual is an expert in their own happiness. And given a modest level of financial stability, people will have the freedom to make the choices that make their lives feel deliciously worth living.
Limiting abortion access—much less criminalizing it—stands in direct opposition to these values.
Piggy and I are sick with worry for the people impacted by this ruling. We’re grieving, as we know many of you are too. We are not alone. We’re not even a minority, as two thirds of Americans didn’t want this ruling. But we’re also furious, and ready to fight. Together, we have more power than the tyrannous minority of withered shitheads bent on turning our country into a racist, misogynist, corporate-sponsored theocracy.
Phew. Getting spicy and it’s just the intro! Did I mention I am furious?
Today we’re discussing how, and why, to take back reproductive rights. How do we get abortions to people who need them? Who can undo this injustice, and what can we do to exert influence on them so they take action? And how do we make sure that the changes endure permanently? Let’s get into it.
The creeping, invisible opponent
Longtime readers know I love to garden. At long last, my early retirement has afforded me time and energy to spend on my hobbies. So I’ve spent a good chunk of the last few months down in the dirt, adding freckles to my shoulders.
I love planting new things and seeing them flourish. Let’s skip the part where I plant something and it dies—so I plant it again, and it dies again but for a different reason I swear—and focus on the third time where it finally takes root and thrives. The shrubs I planted as pathetic twigs are now tall enough to offer me shade while I work. I see songbirds making homes in the neglected trees I’ve revived. On warm days, my flowers and shrubs are alive with honeybees and butterflies. It’s fucking cool.
But the time I spend in my garden isn’t all twirling through native wildflowers like a mead-drunk dryad. On the contrary, it’s only lovely because of the hours and hours of unglamorous, repetitive, mind-numbing, back-breaking work I put into keeping it that way. To sustain the health and beauty of my little world, I have to fight.
So. Many. Weeds. And none of them the fun kind!
The never-ending fight
I’m always struck by how suddenly weeds appear. In the space of a few days, my seemingly empty flower bed will abruptly fill with wild violets, dandelion, creeping charlie, and whatever that one plant is that smells like old cum. There are worse things. Prickly things. Toxic things. Deeply rooted things. Weeds that can grow so powerfully they rip apart concrete.
The thing is, they didn’t really appear out of nowhere.
I always know they’re coming.
They left their seeds and their taproots behind last autumn. Their seeds stayed quiet and waited for conditions to be right. When the planet tilted in their favor, and the sun shone warmly down upon them, and the snowmelt watered them, they began to unfurl, out of sight, under the crust of the earth.
Every spring, I feel the warm air and stomp through the puddles left by the rain. And even though I can’t see them, I know they’re there. I watch my flower beds like one watches a door they know is about to open. When they finally show themselves, I am ready to destroy them.
I think this is a useful metaphor for taking back reproductive rights, because it describes the strategy of forced-birth advocates. They have sown themselves in a thousand places (through TRAP laws and medically unnecessary restrictions), exhausting the vigilant gardener with their sheer tenacity.
A long time coming
The election of Donald Trump in 2016 hit a lot of people as a gut-rending feeling of despair. And there were a smorgasbord of reasons for that, but today we’re going to focus on just one of them. A lot of people with uteruses (uteri?) got really scared about the future of their bodily autonomy. After his election, demand for IUDs (a long-term birth control method) rose by 900%. Good gravy that’s a lot! And—spoiler alert—they had good reason to be scared.
In 2019, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, and Utah all passed laws suppressing abortion and reproductive rights. Their passage reflected a very successful “long game” to stack every court in America with ultra-conservative judges, their qualifications, impartiality, or general fitness be damned. It suddenly felt like everything was happening everywhere, all at once. The fall of Roe may have felt like a sudden shock to some, but to many, it was the bitter, painful culmination of a death-by-a-thousand-cuts campaign against reproductive rights.
In America, we stand on soil that is richly sown with countless evil weeds. Scientific illiteracy—giving superstition and misinformation equal seats at the table with logic and reason. Paternalism—believing that limiting another person’s choices can ever be benevolent. A strange form of ageism—giving idealized hypothetical children priority over living, complicated adults. Moral imperialism—feeling entitled to impose personal beliefs and opinions on others. Erotophobia—thinking sex is shameful, evil, and merits punishment.
And of course misogyny—that old chestnut!
The choices we no longer have
The Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v Wade. This makes it possible for individual states to criminalize abortions. This is the fruit these evil weeds produce:
- People dying from botched abortions
- People dying from pregnancy complications
- Rape victims incubating their trauma
- Children with bellies swollen with responsibilities for which they aren’t prepared
- People who’ve miscarried met with criminal suspicion rather than compassion
- Babies dying from medical conditions incompatible with life
- Families bankrupting themselves on ill-timed children
- Children who aren’t given the resources they need and deserve
- Human beings used like livestock for breeding
The worst part is that none of this suffering even accomplishes the stated goal. Legal or not, global and historical precedent shows the abortion rate stays flat, regardless.
Wealthy women will be able to dodge these horrors by traveling for healthcare or choosing to relocate to a friendlier state. Poor women will not. And it will lead to wider wealth gaps, higher crime rates, greater reliance on social safety nets, and the continued degradation of wages and workers’ rights.
So what do we do? How do we stop this endless cycle?
The same way we’ve won every right in human history: fighting like hell for it through tenacious, strategic collective action.
How we take back reproductive rights
In the short term, we must weed. Anyone who values the dignity of human life, of happiness, of personal sovereignty needs to get down on their hands and knees and rip this shit up root and stem.
Stop framing reproductive rights as a “women’s issue”
There are three major reasons for this. First and most obviously, trans and nonbinary folks can get pregnant too, so it’s not super accurate.
Second, it reinforces an unfair paradigm in which women are solely responsible for sex, pregnancy, and childrearing. Despite earning less money than men, women statistically absorb the high cost of pregnancy prevention. Over twice as many tubal ligations are performed compared to vasectomies, even though the vasectomy is less invasive, less dangerous, and less costly. Any sex that carries a risk—or desired outcome!—of pregnancy should be approached with as much egalitarianism as biology allows.
But most importantly, it leaves our largest group of allies out of the conversation. Some people say men have no place in issues of reproductive rights, but I am absolutely not one of them. This conversation most definitely includes and needs men! Men support abortion in similar numbers to women. If anything, we need men to step up and show that they are as personally invested in this fight as women are in order to bolster our collective strength. This thread from Dumpster Doggy (blessed be Her name) is a great example of how powerful this reframing can be.
Obviously, the lives and experiences of pregnant people belong at the center of this “debate.” But framing matters. It’s one of the main reasons proponents of forced-birth have been so successful. Be thoughtful in how you discuss and engage on this topic. Being expansive and inclusive is, in our experience, almost always the correct decision.
Refuse to leave anyone behind
Piggy and I both live in states that have formally protected abortion access. If we were shortsighted and selfish, we’d feel bad for people in other states, but shrug and say “thank god I live in [state!]”
Now, the pair of us may be famous idiots. But neither of us is so foolish as to think we’re anything close to “safe.” Demographics change. Representatives change. State laws change. Plus, I won’t be surprised if a Republican-controlled Senate kills the filibuster to pass legislation to preserve wealthy white supremacy in America, sometime in my lifetime. That could easily include a national ban on abortions. I try to choose optimism on this blog, but I don’t think we can afford to be charitable to those who describe Roe’s overturning as a “historic victory for white life.“
This victory isn’t the end of the war for those opposed to abortion. It’s the end of Phase One.
I think I’m officially confirming Godwin’s Law if I co-opt Martin Niemöller’s “first they came for the socialists” quote… but here I go anyway! We absolutely can’t afford to have a “first they came for the pregnant women in Missouri, and I said nothing because I’m not pregnant and I’m in Illinois” mentality on this issue.
Abortion access is affected by differences in race, class, and gender. Remember that poverty and systemic racism make abortion access more difficult for some people than others, and give space for those voices. You may be “safe” for now based on your circumstances, but that doesn’t mean we will sit on the sidelines. If we do, we’re leaving our sisters and siblings to suffer alone—until it’s our turn. We are all next.
Choose collective action
Until last week, abortion was legal in all fifty states. And that was solely due to the efforts of persistent people with serious expertise, dedication, and resources. We can make it legal throughout the country again. And we can do it in a way that’s far more enduring than the shaky legal ground upon which Roe was originally decided. We discuss that in more detail in the below podcast episode, by the way. If you haven’t listened, check it out. It might offer some hope.
There are many groups that have seen this day coming, and they have good plans to strike back and take back reproductive rights. Don’t go out and try to start your own thing—we gain little from replicated efforts. Donate time and money to established organizations that are already doing good work. Be humble and join up. These are the ones I’ve heard good things about:
- Planned Parenthood (although not present in all states, it has incredible reach)
- Abortion Care Network (helps independent clinic providers)
- National Network of Abortion Funds (removes financial and logistical barriers to abortion access)
- SisterSong (a reproductive justice collective for women of color)
- The American Civil Liberties Union (strategically sues the shit out of civil rights violators)
- Emily’s List (a national political action committee that works to elect pro-choice candidates for every level of government)
Help provide travel, lodging, childcare, and financial support for people seeking abortions
I’ve seen a lot of people offering to host “camping” trips. Good! Put your money where your euphemism is and sign up to help people seeking abortions in your area.
If you want to organize locally, the National Network of Abortion Funds has a fantastic and comprehensive list of local abortion networks by state and region. Find one in your area, and follow the portal to sign up to volunteer. If they offer a newsletter, sign up for that too. They will be the ones organizing protests, strikes, fundraisers, and action days.
Stop the spread of dangerous misinformation
Science always matters. But in issues related to the intersection of anatomy and ethics, it’s especially important to be accurate. Hold yourself to a high standard. Don’t share shit that’s not accurate and helpful. If you see “tricks” or “hacks” on social media that don’t look right, report them before someone gets hurt. If you, or someone you know, is desperate enough to be considering a self-administered abortion, please start by exploring some of the options we list in this article:
Evangelize, but don’t waste your breath
I think it’s super important to be vocal about your support for reproductive rights, including abortion, within your immediate sphere of influence. In doing so, you might signal that you’re a safe person to ask for support. Your voice can inspire others to speak up. Solidarity is a beautiful thing!
That said, I release you forever from arguing with random people on the internet. In fact, I forbid it. Engaging in this way is just not productive. It’s so draining. Plus, it tricks you into thinking you did good work when all you did is shout uselessly into the void.
To anyone who feels like a bad feminist for avoiding ideological battles with redneck relatives and shitty old high school classmates, I set thee free! No one has ever had their mind changed about a significant issue by a random stranger making a zippy comeback on a bad “pro-life” Facebook meme comment thread. Focus your attention on actions that help people who need abortions now, please!
Vote, unionize, and run for office
Our age-old refrain here at Bitches Get Riches is to “fucking vote.” Presidential elections are important—but if it’s the only one you vote in, you’re part of the problem. Local elections matter so much more.
Voting in every election is absolutely necessary. It physically hurts me to say this, considering an unelected handful of Matthew Hale-stanning, insurrectionist-banging armchair jockeys can still cause so much suffering. Including when they’re actively seeking to diminish the impact of your votes.
Which is why I want to expand upon it, and suggest that now is a great time to get a lil’ more radical, and consider running for office yourself, volunteering for a candidate who represents you well, participating in labor organizing including unionizing efforts, and literally any other form of collective action.
This list was greatly informed by several excellent reproductive justice advocates on social media. The comments section is wide open for more thoughts, suggestions, and resources.
What comes next?
A mass strike? Rioting in the streets? Buying abortion pills off Amazon with a credit card stolen from Judge Kavanaugh? That’s like asking if I want pizza, Chinese, or sushi. I’m down for anything!
Allow me to return to my tortured seed metaphor. The long game is to get those seeds out of the ground. Crises like this come from hatred, disrespect, misunderstanding, and ignorance. Systemic inequality supports those evils and lengthens their lifespan in our culture.
So many issues touch reproductive freedom. If you’re passionate or knowledgeable about some interrelated issue, keep at it. You are working to positively change the culture, and that is the ultimate long-term goal.
Henry VIII chopped off six wife heads to get the male heir he wanted in the fifteenth century. (I know he didn’t behead them all, don’t @ me.) It’s only as of 2013 that Britain changed their laws to do away with this preference for male heirs. It wasn’t the arbitrary, altruistic epiphany of one powerful person. The change was made necessary when the culture around the law had transformed to the point of demanding it. Scientists and artists and educators and economists changed the culture, piece by piece, until the shitty idea just didn’t fit anywhere anymore.
(Just don’t ask me why they’ve still got a monarchy at all. As far as I can tell, it’s to give tabloids something to do. But my president was elected by the Electoral College, so who am I to throw stones at the glass houses of the good people of Britain? Love your clotted cream, it definitely goes on top, Cornish ’til I die.)
Issues like healthcare, housing, childcare, schools, pay gaps, workers’ rights, and representation all touch issues related to reproductive justice. Make progress in any one of them, and you erode the space left for sexist, racist, classist ideas to grow.
That’s why we run this blog! We want to share wisdom that makes lives better. The choice of what to do with that life is yours and yours alone.
To anyone who wants to leave a shitty comment, please know this:
This is our website, not a public fucking square. We do not have a quota of man-on-the-street interviews to fill. We moderate comments with shameless, despotic glee. So if you came here to sprinkle some “different perspective” fairy dust, save your eBreath. Moreover, I will masturbate furiously while deleting it. We will trundle your comment into a mine cart and send it flying into the darkest chasm of Khazad-dûm.
This blog is a resource for people who need more stability, confidence, freedom, and choices in their lives. To that end, safe, local, legal, affordable, accessible abortions and contraception are a non-negotiable cornerstone.
If you want to read more on the intersection of money and reproductive health, we’ve got you:
- How To Get an Abortion
- How to Prepare for a Post-Roe World (Bonus Episode)
- Queer Finance 101: Ten Ways That Sexual and Gender Identity Affect Finances
- Blood Money: Menstrual Products for Surviving Your Period While Poor
Finally, if you have additional resources that might be helpful to our readers, especially those in affected states, please leave them in the comments below! We’re always blown away by the collective knowledge of Bitch Nation. And if you found this article helpful, please share it and consider paying us for our labor through our Patreon. I needed to rage-eat an entire box of Better Cheddars to write this article, and with inflation being what it is, I’m out $27.59.
An earlier version of this article was published in 2019. It has been significantly updated to reflect recent events.
31 thoughts to “How (and Why) to Take Back Reproductive Rights: On Pulling Weeds and Fighting Back”
I have long admired you both, and now I heart you desperately. I’m signing up to support your patreon and one of those organizations you listed. Thank you for all of this!
I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING, YA CRYBABY. Thank you so much. Queen Bethh, first of her name, long may she reign.
Also want to mention that the conservative war against funding for birth control is a major problem for everyone who was prescribed “birth control” hormones as treatment for uterus-specific medical problems like endometriosis and PMDD. I can’t tell if conservatives are too narrow minded to comprehend that you can be celibate and use “birth control” to treat a medical problem, or if they’re deliberately trying to control women by denying any acknowledgement of medical conditions that aren’t relevant to men.
If all the republican senators woke up tomorrow with endo growths in their digestive tract, it would be classed as a disability by the end of the day and funding would be pushed through on research for a treatment that doesn’t cause weight gain, depression, and loss of bone density by the end of the month.
If I still got down on my knees and prayed before bed, I’d end every one with “…and thanks again for not giving me endometriosis.” I’ve always had verrrrry severe period pain–bad enough to vomit and faint. Plus one ruptured ovarian cyst, which hurt so much I couldn’t move and thought my appendix had ruptured. That gives me two reference point for how terrible endo might feel, and I do not require a third reference point. Thanks, I hate it.
I just got off my birth control pill because I had an irregular heartbeat. My doctor (guess the gender!) said it had no source, and suggested no treatment options. I went off the pill and, yep, heartbeat went back to normal after two weeks! It was the gee dee Yaz! It feels like scientists got to a pill that prevented pregnancy and made titties a lil’ bigger and they high-fived each other and said “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!” What we don’t know about how non-cis-male bodies scares the shit out of me.
Consider “off-label uses of birth control” added to the list!
Hey Bitches! I love you ladies… as you know! I have commented most favourably on a number of occasions.
Let me say this as a person who is a melange of “things”- woman, mother, scientist, doctor. Under dire circumstances, I agree, that a woman has the right to terminate a pregnancy (rape being the obvious one).
On the other pole however, are ladies/gents who use abortion as a form of birth control and to this I say, “nay, nay”. Not OK. In so many ways, this is just outrightly irresponsible, and humans of sex-enjoying age need to act much more responsibly.
1. Because there are many excellent options to avoid an unwanted pregnancy and
2. because you have started the miracle of a life, one which you should think very carefully about before snuffing it out like it were a spider crawling across your floor. Life is life. While medical science may grant you the option to eliminate it, you also have the obligation to avoid having to make that decision.
Hi Leslie! We love you too. I thank you enriching the dialogue with your perspective, and for putting it very respectfully. I want to encourage you to think about a few of the things you said in a different way.
1. “Abortion as a form of birth control.” As a scientist and a doctor, I’m sure you appreciate the value of real statistical data. So here’s a section from NAF’s research on this subject: “[It is a myth that] women are using abortion as a method of birth control. If abortion were used as a primary method of birth control, a typical woman would have at least two or three pregnancies per year — 30 or more during her lifetime. But most women who have abortions have had no previous abortions (52%) or only one previous abortion (26%). Considering that most women are fertile for over 30 years, and that birth control is not perfect, the likelihood of having one or two unintended pregnancies is very high.”
I grant that it’s possible there are women out there who are regularly sexually active, never use any other form of contraception, and get 30 abortions over the course of her lifetime. But that person is vanishingly rare, and mostly acts as a straw man to suggest that women get abortions because they are stupid and lazy. Similar to Linda Taylor, the infamous “welfare queen” of the 1970s, using an imaginary or exceedingly rare person to demonize a public good is a strategy that works. And even if these women existed, our perspective is that 30 abortions would still be her right.
2. “There are many excellent options to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.” Again, as a doctor and a scientist, it’s my hope that you’re aware of the fact that ALL forms of birth control have failure rates. Those failure rates can be surprisingly high. Take oral contraceptive, for instance. For every 100 couples that rely on the pill, 9 will get pregnant in a given year. (That’s according to PP.) I personally know someone who had an IUD installed after two children, only to somehow end up with baby #3 a year later. I’ve heard stories of men impregnating their partners after a vasectomy. There are lots of great methods of birth control, yes, but none of them work 100% of the time. People shouldn’t have to go through a horrific trauma (like rape) to justify its use. Its use is justified by its statistical necessity.
3. “You have started the miracle of life.” So, the language you use in this last bit is verrrrrry charged and dramatic. I get it, it’s a weighty issue. But you’re again implying that some (many?) women who get abortions do so casually, thoughtlessly, maybe even cruelly. *I would encourage you to think deeply about where that idea comes from.* Do you personally know anyone who’s had an abortion, and then texted you afterwards to say “PHEW glad I remembered my appointment, almost forgot that today’s the day I SNUFF that zygote out!” I mean, I definitely don’t.
35% of all women of reproductive age are estimated to have had abortions. If you personally know 100 women, I bet 35 of them haven’t confided their abortion story to you (or possibly anyone else). Our culture has a long, deep history of teaching us to assume judgmental stances, and mistaking them for principled ones. But we’ve made extraordinary strides to change that. We’ve substantially shifted conversations around addiction (from deadbeats to people struggling with a disease) and rape (from “what were you wearing” to “time’s up”). I hope I live to see a day where women can talk about their abortions without being burdened with the listener’s preconceived notion that they are don’t value human life.
Those are the three points I would encourage you to think deeply about! Honestly, it’s okay to not love the idea of abortions. It’s okay not to want to get one yourself. It’s enough to acknowledge that they are necessary and should be safe, affordable, local, and legal. But I think if you challenge yourself to reset your thinking, and change that assumption that women get abortions for no reason/bad reasons/frivolous reasons/selfish reasons, you’ll find that super rewarding. Reading some first-hand accounts from people who’ve had abortions might be a good place to start, especially if they talk about how it feels to know that society is judging them. This one always comes to my mind: https://jezebel.com/interview-with-a-woman-who-recently-had-an-abortion-at-1781972395
Thanks for reading and bravely sharing your perspective!
Nope. This miracle of life stuff is silly and a way to pretend that busybodies have a stake in other people’s business. Being alive is great, most of the time, but it isn’t a miracle – it is the entirely predictable outcome of biological processes.
Pregnancies end all the time – for those who believe in God, just remember that he is the most prolific abortionist of all time – and the only thing on the table with safe and legal abortion is *who gets to make the decision*. Even if you decide that abortion is the best birth control for you in your body and situation, that is an ok choice. Pregnancy is not a punishment for sex. Having one or twenty-one abortions in your life is something you need to decide yourself.
Americans have forgotten how to mind their own danged business (I blame reality tv), and the “miracle of life” language is a cover for that intrusion.
Hey Leslie, I appreciate you engaging in good faith – and that’s the point I want to address in this comment.
You may or may not know that when you say ‘you have started the miracle of life’ referring to a zygote, embryo, OR fetus, you’re endorsing a Christian conception (pun not intended) of the universe. As a Jew, my religious law is very clear that a fetus does not become a full person until it is born (specifically, when a majority of it has emerged from the mother, or when the head has emerged, depending on your source). According to Jewish law and practice going back thousands of years, an abortion /is/ like snuffing out a spider, and is even required when it would save the life of the mother (on the basis of pikuach nefesh, the primacy of saving human life over all other laws or principles).
This is of course not to say that Jews don’t value children – we absolutely do, and huge portions of our holidays and daily rituals are built around the continuation of the tribe and including children in the Jewish experience. We just have different beliefs than Christians about when their life begins, or to use more religious language, when their soul arrives in the world.
I don’t say this to convince you of anything – as a Christian or cultural Christian you are of course free to believe that life begins at conception and personally uphold the sanctity of that life. However, due to the anti-establishment clause of the first amendment, which prohibits Congress from establishing a state religion and therefore guarantees free religious expression, a Christian principle cannot be constitutionally used as the basis of a law in America, so abortion bans of almost any variety actually impinge on the religious freedom of American Jews, in addition to all the problems Kitty laid out in the post.
Thanks for reading!
You. You make my heart sing. Thank you for pointing out the issue with “life begins at conception” stemming from and butting against religious interest in politics!
This is absolutely spot on. It’s essential to recognize the demonized version of abortion for either fiction or anomaly. It’s so easy for people to pull focus away from the fact that this is a human rights issue, not a fight against evil women frivolously killing their potential offspring. Thank you for not only publishing a counterargument but taking the time to provide a personal, well-researched and supported, and still welcoming rebuttal.
I believe it is also worth mentioning that there are medications that reduce the effectiveness of birth control – to include antibiotics!
Even if life begins at conception and an embryo or fetus is considered a life, even if someone is being “sexually irresponsible” and using abortion as a form of birth control (which, I mean come on, it’s $800 a go, I doubt many low or even middle class people are doing that), banning abortion is still very unethical. This is simply due to a ground rule of body autonomy and your fundamental human rights: Your body is yours, and nobody can alter or harm it without YOUR explicit consent, even for the greater good, even if it doesn’t directly harm you, even in death. To begin with, the purpose of an abortion is to end a pregnancy- nobody I know gets pregnant repeatedly and wastes time & money for the fun of it. The destruction of the fetus/embryo is an effect, but not the goal of an abortion. So with that in mind, let’s continue….
Let’s say theoretically you’re driving down the road and texting on your phone. You crash into a civilian following all street walking laws (crossing at crosswalks, waiting for signal lights, etc) and greatly injure them. A witness calls 911 and an ambulance arrives on the scene. The civilian is placed into an ambulance to receive immediate medical treatment. An EMT approaches you and says, “this was your fault, and the person you hit needs a lung transplant. You are a compatible match, so we’ll be taking your lung now, whether you like it or not.”
You gasp in shock and say, “but I need my lung to breathe! I can’t live with only one lung!”
And the EMT goes, “too bad! Let’s go now, we need your lung now and ASAP for the individual you injured.”
In a world without bodily autonomy laws, this is illegal and considered unethical; you can’t EVER be forced to modify, alter, or harm your body without your own explicit consent.
Even if there were an accident and it were your own fault, even if the thing being changed to you is minor and isn’t life threatening (such as cutting your hair; if someone cuts your hair while you’re asleep without your permission, it’s considered assault), even in death you have bodily autonomy, if you have instructions on what you wish to do with your body after death, they have to follow them or follow your loved one’s wishes.
Unwanted pregnancy is no different. There are changes there, being made to someone’s body. People say “oh just give birth and then give it up for adoption” as if carrying a baby for 9 months and then going through childbirth is just nbd. Pregnancy and childbirth change your body permanently afterwards in so many different ways for the rest of your life. Not to mention many people can become pregnant, but carrying a pregnancy to term and experiencing childbirth could be disastrous or deadly, especially if they are disabled. I am chronically ill and the effects of pregnancy (nausea, fatigue, etc) would literally render me useless and unable to work as it is.
So, debaters can argue whether a fetus is alive and sentient and a miracle and has feeling and a heartbeat all they want but at the end of the day, no matter the circumstance, forcing pregnancy upon someone who does not consent is a direct violation of human rights.
Also, if I showed you a photo of 3 different ultrasounds of; a planned pregnancy with a married, stable couple, an unexpected pregnancy by a hookup, and a rape baby, you wouldn’t know the difference because there is no way to tell without any context, and if your argument is that fetal life is precious, you have no right to dictate which fetuses are worthy of being born or not. Hence why most people who say abortion should only be allowed in the cases of rape, incest or age, are really more uncomfortable with how people dictate their sexual business and are projecting their own morals unto others.
Long ass wall of text on an old post, but hey, maybe someone will read it! 😛
Also: call your (your meaning any American citizen here) state reps– if RvW gets repealed, what happens in your state is law. 5calls.org has a general script for a series of states ready to go right now, but it’s also great to find out what is going on locally in your state and call your local elected officials about specific bills. Paying attention is hard (emotionally if nothing else), but there are organizations on the ground in your state (democrats, indivisible, state branches of NARAL and PP etc.) that keep track of these things and organize and provide information.
GREAT point! And thank you for reminding me about NARAL, which deserves a spot on the list. They’re great with social media and often post good state-level calls to action. Well worth a follow!
I’m very sad and upset to see the developments on reproductive rights in the US, and not only for the hardship they cause to the American people.
I live in Serbia, a small Eastern European nation where, thankfully to a former communist rule, abortion is legal since 1953. Up to 10 weeks, no questions asked, afterwards, in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities or if life of the mother is endagered. Yeah, in many ways, communism, was way better for women than the current system we have.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that developments in the US often have global consequences. Not only by the Administration putting economic, financial and political pressure on international aid organizations and international agencies, like the UN and the WHO. There’s also the influence by example and a view that, if the US does it, so can we. After the election of Donald Trump, authoritarian rulers and reactonary forces are emboldend and ready to enforce their misogynystic views into law.
And those who would suffer the direst consequences are, of course, the poorest women and girls.
I know it’s hard for Americans to think of the rest of the world, but there are people out there who watch in horror the developments in the so-called Leader of the Free World.
Best regards from Belgrade, 44N21E
*nodsnodsnods through article*
*Makes note of different ways to go and weed garden and actively support reproductive rights of others*
*reaches the part about the cream on top* NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! It slides off the jam if you squelch your scones into a scone sandwich and makes a deeply unpleasant experience!
But I love you and understand that the way you eat your scones may differ to mine and I respect your right to choose Cornish over Devon even if it’s not what I would choose for myself.
Also, my potential avatar as my comment awaits moderation is Dido Elizabeth Belle and that’s also cheering me up.
LOOOOOOOL this post is tagged #CONTROVERSY! for a reason. And that reason isn’t abortion rights, it’s the hot take on scones. (Scones are fresh in my mind as the culinary theme of our viewing party of the last episode of Game of Thrones was obviously Game of Scones.)
I also love you, and I respect your right misassemble your scones, no matter how much easier it is to spread jam on bread than on cream. And you get an extra brownie point for recognizing the painting, which is one of my faves!
Re: the monarchy and male heirs – I think in Scotland there never was this preference for male heirs, which is why my mum always guffawed and scoffed at the storyline in Downton Abbey of needing to find a cousin to marry Lady Mary off too. Anyway, me shoehorning a Scottish comment in aside, I just couldn’t believe all this abortion law nonsense coming out of these states. But you articulate perfectly well why we shouldn’t be surprised. Beautifully written, researched and articulated. Feeling lucky once again to live in Europe, not the US. Thanks bitches.
I know, I know, it’s kind of baffling. It just feels like a fifty year old issue that’s been revived, at exactly the time that women here are already in full We’re Not Gonna Take It mode. My most optimistic take is that this is the last gasp of a dying era. While we’re moving backwards, other countries (like Ireland) are moving forward. It’s a war, we’ll lose battles, but I have to believe that eventually we will triumph.
Let me preface this by saying that I like your writing and need to NOT be eating or drinking as I read so as not to expectorate all over my laptop. Let me also say that my wife basically laid on me what you stated back in 1994 when we (ok maybe mostly me) decided not to populate the planet any longer.
*** “Twice as many sterilizations are performed on women as vasectomies are on men, even though the vasectomy is less invasive, dangerous, and costly” ***
So, I then took upon myself to make a small dent in that statistic. My wife was instantly very happy with my decision.
Until she got ovarian cancer at 46 and died at 51. Especially when the doctors told her that had she had certain things removed after she was done having children, she may have avoided the whole damn mess. That was fucking awful to hear. Now I thought I wasn’t … didn’t do the right thing. The week before she died she did not say much but I remember her saying, “I did this to myself…”. Damn it.
There are risks in everything. Nothing is simple or easy. I still agree with your statement that it should not all be on women and it is not a women only issue. I just wish I knew everything about our specific situation to make the right decision, but then I would be clairvoyant. Also, a younger colleague reminds after I say “I wish”… wish in one hand, crap in the other see which fills up first.
First of all, I am so incredibly sorry about your wife. Cancer is the literal worst, and after having watched loved ones suffer and die from it, I wouldn’t even wish it on the worst people.
That being said, while your doctor said that getting a hysterectomy *might* have prevented your wife from developing her specific type of cancer, I want to point out that the incidence of ovarian cancer is .000115% (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323798.php), while the overall morbidity of hysterectomies is .0015%–significantly higher (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11592544, although this article is old and morbidity might have decreased in the last 15-20 years). I wouldn’t advocate a hysterectomy for birth control without any other indications of disease/risk (BRCA genes, etc.) because you’re much more likely to die from the hysterectomy than you are to get ovarian cancer (just *get* it–and some who get the cancer do survive it).
Recently started reading your blog and absolutely love it. As a Canadian I am scared shitless about what is going on in the states. Too often we parallel what is happening in the states. We are already seeing more pro-life rallies happening. My province just had an election (I am not surprised it was a conservative win) and their new minister of education is a vocal pro-life. What is going to happen in the current education system under this new rule. The previous government (one term) was doing alot of good both for education and women’s/lgbtq rights… new one who knows.
I have already told friends/family/general FB that if you support what is happening in the southern states to remove womens rights and body autonomy to consider yourself someone I used to know. NO ONE should have the right to tell someone else what to do with their body. And unless they are going to fully fund free education, free daycares, free healthcare, and ensure that every high school will have free daycare to ensure that any teen who is pregnant can continue their education, then no you do not get to decide if I should have this baby that as you mentioned can have such huge economic costs (let alone emotional, physical, mental costs).
Oh man. You guys are supposed to be our saving grace! Handmaids Tale’s only silver lining is Canada, now et tu, Brute?
I stood up and cheered while reading this! I’m a 40+ feminist, who was born right before RvW became law. My entire life I felt comforted knowing that I could have some autonomy if birth control failed. When I was finally ready to have children, my spouse and I welcomed them into a loving, stable, financially ready home (well, as financially ready as anyone can be for daycare costs!). Had we been forced to start a family when we were younger, things would not have turned out as well.
Fast forward to today, and I am sorrowed and ashamed of what we have become. I live in a very conservative area of PA, and the anti-choice folks have done a great job of chipping away at our rights. Churches in this area basically preach that abortion is always wrong, and a woman’s place is as support for her husband (I do not attend church here for these very reasons). I was working the election polls last November, and a woman supporting a certain party (you know the one) handed her literature to everyone saying “vote for the babies”. This woman also watched me be harangued by an aggressive male for 15 minutes who tried to “outsmart” me (“well, what do you think about postpartum abortions?” Like he thought I didn’t have the vocabulary to know that is a bullshit thing), and he finally got so frustrated that he couldn’t outsmart me that he said “Oh, you’re a mother? Well, you should have had an abortion.” So pro-life of him. But I digress…
These anti-choice folks have a lot of kids, and they are now getting to the point where the kids can vote too. They’ve been raising up a whole generation for whom this is a guiding principle. I have apologized on numerous occasions to my 2 teenage daughters, but I’m not done fighting (and neither are they). Thankfully PA currently has a governor who vetoes any anti-choice bill that passes the House and Senate, but were it not for him, we would be making the news just like those other states with 6-week bills.
We cannot stay silent, and I love your points that this is not just a women’s issue! We need all genders to advocate for this choice, and free, reliable birth control and more support for families. Ah, to live in that utopia…
” Twice as many sterilizations are performed on women as vasectomies are on men, even though the vasectomy is less invasive, dangerous, and costly. ”
So much truth.
Men Cause 100% of Unwanted Pregnancies
Our conversation about abortion places the burden of responsibility on women. I argue men are the root cause.
New reader here. It’s interesting to see you started your post with gardening. I learned the history of the word fetus from its Latin and Greek roots just earlier this week:
fetus -us (noun) — [i]the bringing fourth of hatching of young[/i]; of the soil: [i]bearing, producing[/i]. Trans. [i]that which is brought fourth; offspring, brood[/i]; of plants: [i]fruit, produce, shoot[/i]
Fetus is a purely scientific term. In fact, it originally applied to plants, then was extended to animals and humans.
Only nominally adjacent to reproductive health, but I’d love to read anything you’ve learned how to care for your skin properly and safely (no products with ingredients and packaging harmful to me or the environment) without shelling out big bucks, because three quarters of the month my skin is pretty much fine no matter what, but hormones are a bitch and my skin breaks out (body shakers can go jump, but pimples hurt!) at a mere whiff of PMS
Came back to reread this post, and I’ve got an addition to make.
My brother’s wife was expecting their second child earlier this year. Their daughter is gorgeous, but she sadly miscarried before this last pregnancy. She went in for her final checkup before she was supposed to be induced (roughly a week before)…and the doctors couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat.
Yeah, it was a real emotional blow for both of them. The doctors pretty much sent her straight to the hospital to be induced, and her second child was stillborn.
They live in Oklahoma. Now, I haven’t really asked because I don’t wanna dig up emotional trauma for them, but I think the only saving grace for her was the doctor having it on record that the baby’s heartbeat was gone. Under the current laws (unless they’ve been repealed, I can’t remember), both she and her doctor could’ve been facing criminal charges even though it was a medical necessity to get the baby out ASAP.
The laws are fucking disgusting and need to go.
This is fucking heartbreaking. There are so many stories like this that show the nuance of reality, of people’s LIVES, cannot be codified by restrictive, unscientific laws.
Hi! You guys wrote an amazing post once again.
Just wanted to let you know that aidaccess.org is a Europe-based organization that provides global access to abortion, including in ALL US states, by mailing abortion pills. It’s not a great solution, but better than nothing.