“No matter what men think, abortion is a fact of life. Women have always had them—they always have and they always will. Are they going to have good ones or bad ones? Will the good ones be reserved for the rich, while the poor women go to quacks?” –Shirley Chisholm
Stephanie Toti is arguing the most important abortion and women’s health trial of our generation this Wednesday, March 2nd. The Supreme Court will hear Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case that will determine the future of Texas abortion clinics, and potentially, the future of abortion rights for all Americans.
Since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973, American women have enjoyed the right to choose. It’s been a familiar freedom. But in the past few decades, anti-abortion activists have attempted to pass state laws—usually referred to as TRAP laws—restricting abortion rights. These laws are often disguised as efforts to protect women’s health, although abortion is statistically one of the safest medical procedures for women.
In Dawn Porter’s documentary, Trapped, which portrays the current struggle between TRAP laws and Texas abortion clinics, Medical Doctor Willie Parker describes abortion as, “safe or safer than receiving a shot of penicillin."
I attended the screening of Trapped at the New York City Center for Reproductive Rights last week, where I met Dawn, Dr. Parker, and Stephanie Toti.
What is Stephanie’s message? TRAP laws are not medically necessary. Their sole purpose is to slowly eradicate legal abortion, under the guise of ensuring women's health.
This case will determine if Texas can keep abortion clinics open. It is a very real possibility America’s second largest state may soon have zero operational abortion clinics—placing countless women at high risk for unsafe, at-home abortions—leading to much higher incidence of injury, infection, and death.
We need to find the crossroads where motherhood and abortion meet. Where pro-family and pro-choice shake hands. Both can exist in harmony. We need to apply some logic and reason here, understand that outlawing abortions will not prevent them, it will only create situations in which unsafe abortions become the norm.
Unwanted pregnancies occur. Birth control measures fail. Some people choose to keep their babies, and some choose not to. It’s that simple. If a woman wants to have a child, it’s her choice. If a woman doesn’t want to have a child, it’s also her choice. Abortion helps the majority and contributes to ending the cycles of poverty, abuse, and teenage motherhood.
And if this is happening in Texas, it can happen anywhere. In every single state. It’s twenty fucking sixteen, and women are in danger of losing their constitutional right to legal abortion. A legal right that ensures these procedures remain safe. This literally doesn’t feel real... can somebody wake me up when this joke is over?
Image via crooksandliars.com
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