What Is Abortion?
The politicization of women’s reproductive decisions is nothing new to me, or the countless people across the country who possess a uterus and have felt the fear of having their reproductive autonomy taken away at some point. This fact became all the more apparent as multiple states across the country have passed or come close to passing abortion bans. As a southern woman, these threats against reproductive autonomy are not new to me. In my home state of Kentucky, for the past few years, there has only been only one abortion clinic in the entire state, which is heavily over-regulated and protested. Additionally, my home state of Kentucky recently passed a “heartbeat bill” that only narrowly was blocked by a judge from being implemented. Nevertheless, it is still possible that the law could make it through this and be put into practice
Being raised in the south by religious parents, I have had to come to terms with the fact that some people, even those who say that they value women and their bodily rights, may disagree with me on the issue of abortion. While I am certainly pro-choice, I can understand why some people fundamentally disagree with me about whether a woman’s right to have an abortion is an ethical right or not. For this reason, I am not as angry at the bills that have been passed as I am at the people who have been given the power to pass them and the potential repercussions of their actions.
Currently, 71% of American lawmakers are men. Every person who voted in favor Alabama’s abortion bill was a man. With an issue that exclusively affects people with vaginas, the majority of whom are women, there is no reason that these decisions on reproductive issues should be made by people who neither possess a vagina nor have the education required to be an expert on how one functions. Many of the people who are in favor of these abortion laws seem to be completely in denial about the negative effects of banning abortions. Additionally, a number of outspoken pro-life politicians have even been discovered to have urged women in their life too get abortions behind closed doors.
The sad truth is that the abortion debate is about so much more than the morality “killing a fetus.” It is about who deserves to have control over their own body and who does not. It is about who deserves to have sex weaponized as a punishment against them. We see it in how a major argument in support of the abortion ban in Alabama was that there was a “shortage” of healthy, white babies for wealthy families to adopt, as if the thousands of black and brown children in foster care are of no concern. We see it in how the villains in this discussion are often painted as Republican men, when in actuality, white women and the wealthy have also shown themselves as some of the most important actors in fighting abortion rights.
Abortion is not just a morality issue. It is a gender issue, a racial issue, a class issue, a public health issue, and so much more. If you truly feel that abortion, on a moral level, is wrong, I understand, but I urge you to think deeply about the kinds of people that these abortion bans hurt the most, and also to think deeply about the people and systems that these bans actually benefit.