If you are among the 64% of American adults who believe that abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances, yesterday’s six-to-three decision by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade after fifty years of legal precedent was devastating.
Choosing to have a legal abortion has never been easy, and most women consider the decision carefully. With this week’s ruling, now if an American woman of child-bearing age gets pregnant and realizes that she cannot have a child (or more commonly, have another child), in nine, and soon in at least 21, states, she faces an impossible choice. She either must become a criminal and risk her life and livelihood (and potentially deprive the children she already has of their mother) by having an illegal abortion without medical supervision or support, or be forced to carry and give birth to a child that she lacks the ability financially, physically or emotionally to care for, could significantly damage her health, or is the horrifying result of rape or incest. The third option, to travel to another state where abortions are performed safely and legally, is only viable for women who have the time, money and access to necessary transportation, which is why it is important to support abortion funds to assist those who need it. (Anti-abortion activists insist that adoption is the best solution for women confronting an unwanted pregnancy, but studies show that the only decision more difficult for women than choosing to have an abortion is to carry a child to term and then hand it over to a stranger to raise, which is why only 1% of unwanted pregnancies end in adoption.)
Though we despair and are filled with anger at having one of our Constitutional rights taken away, we must also still find a way to act, to not let this decision by six wealthy, sanctimonious, conservatives (five of whom are men) be the end of legal, safe abortion in America.
Below are links to two documents that talk about what we can do right now as women and as Democrats to help women and teenage girls in need of safe abortion services and potential legal options to ensure abortion remains an option in all 50 states and U.S. territories.
“Mad About Roe? Here’s What You Can Do Right Now,” The New York Times
Warren, Murray Lead Over 20 Senators Urging President Biden to Issue Executive Order to Defend Americans’ Right to an Abortion, Press Release
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