I’m angry. I’m scared. Frankly, I’m tired. So please excuse the deviation from my normal posts. This issue is too important to keep quiet on.
Abortion is an emotive and controversial topic – particularly in the US. The UK picks up so many aspects of US life that it doesn’t seem long until the debate is rekindled over here.
For those unaware, leaked documents have shown the US Supreme Court may overturn legislation that legalises abortion. This means US women may not be able to access safe and legal abortions. Those facing this incredibly difficult decision will have to seek out ‘black market’ options – with potentially devastating health consequences.
In this post I’ll cover:
- Women’s reaction to the news
- Why we must talk about abortion
- The curtailing of women’s rights
- The financial implications
Women’s reaction to the news
Unsurprisingly, women are scared, angry and frustrated. The policing of women’s bodies is a terrifying thought, especially in 2022.
I’ve seen conversations in a number of Facebook groups among women who are deleting menstrual cycle tracking apps and notes from their phones. You may think this is an overreaction. But, what I see is a clear demonstration of how terrified these women are.
They are scared their rights are being taken away, that their access to healthcare and even birth control might also be taken away.
All of us should be scared. If this can happen in the US, it could happen anywhere. It truly feels like women’s rights are under threat.
Why we must talk about abortion
Abortion is stigmatised. We do not talk about it enough. Many pretend it simply does not exist.
This puts more pressure on vulnerable, young, and scared women. Women who just want to make the decision that is best for them and their bodies.
Anyone can hold their own opinions about abortion. Being pro-choice does not mean you have to have one. I also believe it is near impossible to know how you would react until you are in that situation yourself.
This is a situation I am fortunate enough to never have been in. Of course, you can take precautions but at the end of the day, there is a certain amount of luck in it.
Moreover, the fact that we don’t speak about abortion is even more ridiculous when we don’t provide adequate care and services for those women that do have children. Social care and housing is not up to standard – nor is their enough of it. Childcare is unaffordable for most and statutory maternity pay is still very poor.
The curtailing of women’s rights
The worry is this move represents the beginning of the curtailing of women’s rights.
Women are already scared. Reports of misogynistic and discriminatory practices across workplaces, healthcare centres (how mad is it that we don’t even recognise many female symptoms of heart attacks?!), bars, and more are commonplace.
While it is widely accepted women can achieve the same as men and are equals, women still have to jump through hoops and regularly face barriers.
For women in the public eye, it is even worse. Trolling, online abuse and death and rape threats happen on an almost daily basis.
Laws such as this, give these voices more power. They reinforce the idea that women should not make their own decisions, that our sole purpose in the world is to carry and raise children.
Once this idea gathers momentum, it is impossible to tell where it could end. What other infringements could there be on women’s right? Will access to birth control be restricted or even banned?
The hope is this is all hyperbole and we won’t come to realise any of it. However, right now it is a very real possibility. Women are scared and we should listen to them.
The financial implications
The financial implications of laws like this have the potential to be huge.
Simply put, banning legal abortions threatens to take women out of education and the workplace. Even if this is only temporary, they miss out on earnings during this time, don’t make pension contributions and won’t progress in their careers – potentially limiting their future earning potential.
It also risks creating health problems which will also have financial implications – particularly in countries without free healthcare. This is because women will still have abortions. They just won’t be legal or safe. Some will die from the complications; others will become sick.
Those that do have a child will face an increased financial burden. Children are expensive. At best women will become more financially dependent on men. At worst, women may find it harder to escape abusive relationships.
Supporting financial independence means supporting the opportunity for everyone. Banning abortions and curtailing women’s rights threatens women’s abilities in this regard.
I can only hope lawmakers wake up to the dangerous implications of the decision.
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