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WORDS

May 4, 2022 |

My thoughts on the Roe v. Wade reversal

BY Jen Hatmaker

I’ve sat quietly with the leaked news of the Roe v Wade reversal for two days. Spent time in panicked group texts with my closest women and colleagues. Listened and watched and tried to get centered before offering anything to my community, because my first reaction to something this big is generally emotional and half-baked.

There are a dozen terrifying implications here (the destabilization and politicization of the Supreme Court overturning settled law with double precedence stands out), but what I want to focus on is the immediate, disproportionate harm this will cause women. And not just emotional harm; physical and legal harm.

As unambiguously proven by data, making abortion illegal doesn’t lower abortion rates. It simply makes them more dangerous. And dangerous for whom? 1-in-4 American women have had an abortion, so…dangerous for your daughters, your sisters, your best friends, your colleagues, your neighbors, your church friends, and of course those of you reading with your quiet, private personal history here, as it should be, yourself. It will be disproportionately dangerous for women of color and under-resourced women, as all social ills are.

Abortion is a choice women make for endless personal reasons including the health of the mother, the health of the baby, rape, incest, viability, financial instability, a dangerous home environment, lack of help, and of course reasons that are theirs alone…as are their bodies.

This is intensely personal and private, and women deserve agency and choice not only with their bodies but over the decision to parent for the rest of their lives. Anti-abortion advocates have every right to their convictions, but those convictions should only apply to their bodies, their families, and their futures.

Worth noting is that the legislative opponents to Roe are largely participating in the political theater because if this rabid energy was genuine if it had any integrity, it would come baked in with the fiercest and staunchest advocacy for free birth control, comprehensive sex education, maternal health care, paid maternity leave, subsidized child care, affordable housing, marriage counseling and family support systems, guaranteed food security, victims’ rights for all the rape and incest survivors forced to carry their abuser’s baby, subsidized medical care for all the women forced to carry a baby to the detriment of their own health or that of their baby, life insurance for the families whose mothers died in forced childbirth, and every conceivable support for a mother, baby, and family from birth until forever.

Adoption agencies would be overflowing with advocates prepared to raise these children. This would make sense alongside the fanatical crusade against reproductive rights because everyone is… so concerned about the babies.

But of course, that is not at all what we see, because it is not at all true. Abortion became a convenient lightning rod for power and political capital, and it has been used to great effect ever since. Its reversal will not course-correct the moral climate of our nation. It will simply mean more women are permanently injured, dead, or imprisoned to the destruction of their families and lives. That’s all.

It will mean girls and women will have only unsafe, illegal, and dangerous options they will choose. And as a reminder, those “girls and women” are our daughters, our sisters, our best friends, our colleagues, our neighbors, our church friends, and ourselves.

Women deserve agency over their own bodies and their own futures. The overturning of Roe is a shocking, unprecedented repeal of women’s rights, and it will not be the end. Although the leaked opinion cites an absence of constitutional mention of abortion as its key justification, we currently enjoy numerous civil and human rights not explicitly stated in the Constitution, so be prepared to see those on the chopping block of democracy too. This precedence is the key that will turn the lock to a catastrophic loss of freedoms. This one may not come for you, but the next one might.

I have such respect for convictions and personal beliefs, and I understand them to be nuanced and complex. I don’t believe pro-life people are universally anything; folks come to that conviction for a million different reasons which they have the right to. But reproductive rights belong to women, individually, and they keep us safer, healthier, and autonomous. This reversal will cause monumental physical and social harm to women, and as a way to love our sisters, we will use our voices, our votes, and our giant arms of love for one another.