Why Preserving A Woman’s Right to Choose is Crucial

Protest for the right to choose

All across America, state legislators are currently trying to revoke women’s right to choose what they do with their bodies. Even though the historical ruling in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case announced that through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the constitution grants women the right to choose whether to have an abortion, anti-choice politicians and activists have continued to attack Roe and try to have the decision repealed in SCOTUS. Now more than ever, it seems that anti-choice people will soon have their day in court as the majority of SCOTUS justices fall in the conservative party. States such as Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and Missouri have either passed or are working on passing bills completely outlawing abortions, even in cases of rape and/or incest. The present bills are focused on controlling women’s bodies and treating us as breeders and incubators for the sacks of cells that can grow within the uterus, not saving the unborn or determining if life begins at conception.

The Christian right has adopted (irony intended) abortion, or rather the elimination of birth control and abortions, as its modern platform of choice. Evangelical politicians campaign on promises to protect fetuses no matter the cost, referring to themselves as the “party of life” while blatantly ignoring children gunned down in schools, unarmed Black people murdered by cops, incarcerated people neglected and killed in prisons, families separated at the border, Muslim refugees fleeing violence overseas, women suffering from domestic abuse and sexual assault, babies languishing in orphanages and foster care, people dying without health care, and the generations of citizens who won’t survive a world destroyed by man-made climate change. Abortion, to conservatives, is the worst thing a person could ever do. They will do everything in their power to prevent the elimination of cells, even if it means forcing a woman to die in childbirth and/or give birth to a baby she does not want or for which she is not financially, physically, or mentally ready. Based on their own religious beliefs, Christians and other religious groups have decided that all people must adhere to the idea that abortion goes against Biblical statements, despite the Bible not mentioning the word abortion once. Similar to their arguments against equal rights for LGBTQIA+ people, conservative politicians have tried to enforce their religious faith upon other people, neglecting the clear separation between church and state. While I understand the freedom of religion that America likes to boast, I do not and will never respect religious people who try to weaponize their convictions on others. If a Christian woman doesn’t like or believe in abortions, that’s fine, but she has no right to say that every other woman can’t have an abortion because of her own faith. She doesn’t get to outlaw the fundamental right to choose what women do with their bodies. I’m speaking in terms of religious women because men should never ever have any opinions on or any power over women’s bodies and what they do with them. One of the worst aspects of the religious view on abortion is how they call themselves “pro-life” as if the majority of them don’t also love the police, military, guns, death penalty, prisons, and every other institution that brutalizes, harms, and kills people. They actively fight for clusters of cells but couldn’t give two shits about actual human beings. I would be less agitated by their values if they truly cared about all living people and not just the unborn while claiming they’re doing God’s work.

People with uteruses (non-binary and trans people can get pregnant too!), specifically those who are Black and Brown, have seen the regulation and criminalization of their bodily autonomy and sexuality since cis straight men were given all power and authority over society. During slavery, many enslaved Black women were consistently r*ped by their white owners and were forced to birth the children of those assaults. Native women were also often violated by male colonizers who often used and discarded their bodies like trash. For centuries, marriage and childbirth were seen as the only life goals for women, even if they had dreams and aspirations of their own. Because of the orthodox homemaker role forced solely on women, sex was mainly portrayed as a means of childbearing. As the women’s movement progressed and jobs outside of the home opened for all genders, women weren’t tied only to becoming wives and mothers and were slowly allowed to explore their sexualities and the right to choose whether to have children or not. Family planning was an actual choice instead of an expected task after a certain age. Women were given agency for the first time and they could mandate if and when they got married and/or birthed children. Because of this new choice, women weren’t only having sex to spawn babies, but were also doing it for pleasure. The idea that women could be sexual beings who took control of their desires upset and frightened men who historically have had unlimited freedom over their own sexual drives and choices. Creating laws that prevented womxn from their right to choose what they did with their reproductive organs was a way for conservative men to maintain power over those of vulnerable genders. Ironically, conservatives are the ones who tend to despise large government and political control over everyday people, while loudly supporting the government’s active role in regulating womxn.

Many pro-choice activists have advocated for a woman’s right to choose an abortion if she is r*ped as a “compromise,” but the argument that womxn should only have autonomy over their bodies if they are violated by men is outrageous. Abortions should be safe, legal, and free for all womxn no matter the circumstance or reason. Womxn should never have to justify their decisions to anyone, nor should they only regain agency for certain situations. Women’s right to choose is a fundamental power that should not only apply in cases where their bodies are invaded or their lives are in danger. I personally have never had an abortion, but if I became pregnant at any stage in my life, I deserve full agency over my own body and decisions because only I know what the best choice is for myself. And if I had an abortion, I wouldn’t feel bad that I made a personal judgment that only affected me. I refuse to become a walking incubator for cells that I do not want just because conservative anti-choice politicians care more about the zygote than they do about me– a living, breathing woman whose actual life matters.

If a woman’s right to choose is revoked and SCOTUS repeals Roe v. Wade, women will die. No “pro-life” opinion can silence the fact that women will kill themselves if it means they don’t need to carry a fetus they do not want. Just like in the dark days before Roe, women will throw themselves down the stairs, get back alley abortions, and do anything it takes to remove the cluster of cells inside of them. Taking away the freedom of choice for women is sentencing all of us to death and saying that we are only wombs, not living people. We cannot allow politicians to force us to give birth or sentence us to life in prison for making decisions over our own bodies. If these bills go to SCOTUS, we will fight back, no matter what the cost.