Sarah Ditum had a wonderful article published in the New Statesman today that really brought home just how terrifying the regression of reproductive rights is for me. Roe vs Wade was argued a decade before my birth; I’ve never known a time when I didn’t have at least lip-service to the right to decide whether I wanted to continue a pregnancy or not. I was barely of voting age the last time the Global Gag Order was reinstated. (If you don’t know what that is like I didn’t before today, it’s the US Government refusing foreign aid to healthcare agencies that even mention abortion as an option to their patients. It’s been repealed and re-instated by each Democratic and Republican president respectively since Regan.) I’ve patronized Planned Parenthood for reproductive system checkups and birth control and support them financially with a donation each year. (As an aside: hey, Cecile Richards, can I get on some kind of do-not-snail-mail list? I feel bad you spend so much of the money I give you on sending me things that I immediately recycle.) My point in all this is that the removal of abortion rights has always been something that happened “elsewhere” – Texas, or Michigan, or Ohio. With the regime change we’ve just had, however, I’m genuinely afraid for the first time that my own, personal, right to choose whether to bear a child might be removed in the near future.
Anxiety plus recent political upheaval means that for the last couple of days my mind has insisted on playing with myriad what-ifs in its off-hours. What if abortion is outlawed and my birth control fails? What if I experience pre-eclampsia during a pregnancy and die? What if insurance regulations are loosened and I don’t have prenatal and birth coverage and end up in medical debt? What if my pregnancy has complications? What if, what if, what if? On one hand, yes, this is all borrowing trouble from tomorrow. On the other hand, though, this is all a very real possibility with the way things are going. It’s a very real situation in many states already, where abortion services are few and far between, and health coverage is scarce.
The Women’s March this weekend gives me a bit of hope (with a nod towards the fact that not all people with child-bearing capabilities are women and not all women have child-bearing capabilities). There were a lot of people standing up and shouting that legislating their choices about their (theoretical) pregnancies is unacceptable. I’m not sure it will be enough, though. All it would take would be one confluence of probabilities (no method of birth control besides giving up sex entirely is 100% effective, folks, and even that can be foiled by a rapist), and I could be driven into debt, be forced to raise a child in an environment that I already decided would be bad for them and for my husband and I, or quite literally die.
I want to point out the Women’s March 10 Actions in 100 Days site, which I encourage you all to pay attention to and participate in. The first action is to send a postcard to your Senators with comments on what is important to you in these upcoming days. I’m going to pick up some postcards tomorrow, and they will all mention my concerns about my reproductive rights, and those of my fellow uterus-bearers. If I’m feeling saucy, I might even sketch a little uterus on the picture side, with a voice-bubble saying “Only one person should have a say about what goes in me!” I’m not sure if it’s just shouting into the void, but better to go kicking and screaming than meekly following, I suppose.