Abortion positivity is more essential than ever as the fight for abortion access in the United States reaches an inflection point. On December 1, the United States Supreme Court heard the 2018 arguments Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case outside Mississippi, a case that will determine the future of legal access to abortion in our country.
If it were to go into effect, the state of Mississippi would ban abortions after 15 weeks gestation, about two months earlier than the viability point set in the landmark Supreme Court ruling Roe vs. Wade in 1973. This would set a precedent of 15 weeks for access to abortion in many conservative-led states where access to abortion care is already limited to unnecessary and cruel abortion restrictions, including in Ohio.
Even more worryingly, it is possible that the conservative-leaning tribunal will overturn the Roe deer decision, upsetting nearly fifty years of precedent that has consequences beyond abortion, including privacy rights and health care decisions.
Overthrowing Roe would be a victory for anti-abortion activists. Their movement has long curtailed access to abortion in states and courts, with efforts rooted in the ultimate goal of restricting bodily autonomy, using religious doctrine to dictate morality, and control decisions. others in matters of reproduction. Anti-abortion groups have organized against reproductive freedom since before Roe vs. Wade.
Conservative white women, in particular, created crisis pregnancy centers that discouraged abortion as early as the 1960s and rallied against contraceptives. However, it was not until anti-abortion organizers constructed the ‘postabortion syndrome’ that abortion began to be viewed as a moral issue, believing that it still infects the Supreme Court and the national discourse of women. anti-abortion advocates today.
By featuring anti-abortion doctors in their marketing materials, organizations like American Citizens Concerned for Life have made abortion a harmful procedure. Then, anti-abortion organizations encouraged women who had an abortion and regretted it to talk about their experiences in meetings and through newsletters. False accounts that abortion was mentally, physically and emotionally harmful became a “postabortion syndrome” and were associated with the rise of the anti-abortion movement in the 1970s and 1980s.
The marketing campaign was so effective that even mainstream pro-choice movements adopted language like “safe, legal and rare” to describe abortion. From that point on, abortion was diverted from a safe and routine health care procedure to be mistakenly seen as a reflection of morality.
Turning to the current Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor put it best when she said Mississippi was just pushing forward its unconstitutional law. “Because we have new judges” in the field. After blocking President Barack Obama’s candidate Merrick Garland in 2016 ostensibly because it was an election year, a Republican-controlled Congress rushed through Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination in 2020, also a year electoral. In total, President Donald Trump has appointed three judges to the anti-abortion record: no accident. The anti-abortion movement and the Republican Party have waged an attack on reproductive freedom for decades at the state level, and now the court appears to be sympathetic to their extremism.
Southern and Midwestern states, including Ohio, have faced continued attacks on abortion access from conservative and anti-abortion lawmakers. Ohio’s current restrictions include laws that dictate who can perform an abortion, when it can be performed, what procedures are allowed, a mandatory waiting period, and parental consent laws. Unconstitutional restrictions like a six-week abortion ban have gained national attention in Ohio. However, the bill is stuck in court.
Three bills would further restrict access to abortion during the current legislative session. Senate Bill 123 is a ‘trigger ban’ that would immediately ban abortion if the tribunal were overturned Roe vs. Wade.
The second bill, Senate Bill 157, which was passed and signed by Governor Mike DeWine, requires providers to medically intervene and transport a fetus to hospital if it is alive after a miscarriage. , interfering between a doctor and a patient. Failure to do so, even against the will of the family, would result in a felony charge. An amendment also prohibits abortion clinics from working with physicians who teach at state-funded hospitals and medical schools. The new law also appears likely to shut down the only clinics in Cincinnati and Dayton.
Finally, House Bill 480 would ban abortion at all times, including banning anything that could be used or sold to terminate a pregnancy and promoting citizen vigilance through law enforcement, allowing citizens to prosecute anyone suspected of being involved in an abortion.
The authors of these bills and those offering the testimony of supporters use damaging and medically inaccurate language intended to shock and shame to speak about safe and effective abortions to convey moral outrage and establish that those who have abortions and provide them as in need of patronizing help or as morally inept. This is an intentional and cruel narrative that has been woven throughout the anti-abortion movement to shame and stigmatize those who receive and perform abortion care.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in the Mississippi case will be the result of seventy years of a manipulative anti-abortion organization laden with lies and state law. However, Roe is the floor, not the ceiling, in the fight for access to abortion. It is high time for pro-choice people to become abortion-positive. Abortion is a safe and effective healthcare procedure. It is a difficult decision for some. However, for many this is not the case, and it is valid. Abortion is not a moral issue; it is health care, and it should be free and accessible to all.
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