As we collectively forge into 2022, the future of Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance. We probably won’t have an official U.S. Supreme Court decision until May or June. But there’s no reason we can’t lay the groundwork for mobilization during the first half of this calendar year.
Today, I’m going to share my perspective on the issue of abortion — and articulate, as best as I can, my humble little opinion on why defending the reproductive rights of women and female-presenting people is so essential.
My political awareness began around the age of 10. Even back then, I possessed a mixture of liberal, moderate, and conservative views that elicited a boggle of eyes toward me from members of both major political parties. And I still do.
I have a position on abortion that is fairly simple and straightforward: as someone with male biology, I will never have to worry about the specific health issue of becoming pregnant. Also, since I am gay, I’ll never be in the position of getting a woman pregnant — neither accidentally nor on purpose.
I’ve never really wanted to raise kids of my own. Not even through adoption or surrogacy. I don’t anticipate those sentiments of mine will ever change in the near or distant future.
So, I look at it this way: legally, since I’ll never have to deal with pregnancy in the context of my personal life, why should I have the right to make that decision for random women whom I’ve never even met? Let alone the women who are an important part of my life?
Another layer to this is where I fall in the debate over the so-called “morality” of this issue. I don’t have any moral objections to abortion. Religiously, I am a polytheist. My individual flavor of Paganism is in line with the concept that everyone should retain autonomy and full authority over their bodies when they are of sound and mature mind.
Therefore, the practice of abortion poses absolutely no conflict with my individual religious beliefs. But even if it did, I would defer to the Separation of Church and State. Even if I harbored personal disdain toward abortion (which I don’t), that still shouldn’t have any bearing on a woman’s legal freedom.
I do have sympathy and affection for men who feel emotional pain because they fathered a child but will never see their child born if the birth mother has decided to have an abortion. But I can’t get past my belief that, since it’s her body, the final choice of whether to carry the child to term should ultimately be hers.
Nobody proactively WANTS to have an abortion. From the limited medical reading I’ve done on the subject, it isn’t a pleasant procedure. Physiologically, it takes a toll on a woman’s body. I would imagine it can also be psychologically traumatic.
No lawmaker or political candidate, regardless of how leftist or progressive they claim to be, has the explicit goal of:
“Hey, let’s INCREASE the number of abortions performed in the U.S.!”
Then, even amongst those of us with pro-choice positions, there is secondary dialogue over when abortions should be legal and who should pay for them.
I believe partial-birth abortion (aka “Dilation & Evacuation”) should only be legal to save the life of a mother, when the doctor determines it’s a medical necessity. Also, different people may have different interpretations of what constitutes a “partial-birth abortion.”
To me, a partial-birth abortion would be describing a scenario in which the pregnancy needs to be terminated once the woman has already gone into labor. Again, in this very specific circumstance, the doctor would have the best medical knowledge as to whether it’s essential to perform this procedure to save the life of the mother or to avoid adverse health complications.
Not the politicians. The doctor.
No doctor in their right mind is going to perform a partial-birth abortion if it isn’t absolutely crucial to the well-being of their female patient. A vast majority of doctors aren’t going to take unnecessary risks that could cause them to lose their licenses.
As for who should pay for abortions? In general, the patient should. But, in my view, health insurance companies should be required to cover abortions if they also cover any surgical procedures associated with male reproductive health.
There is also fierce debate over what level of public funding should be available for women in lower financial brackets who need to have an abortion performed. Thus, the Hyde Amendment has come under increased scrutiny in recent years.
Again, in general, I believe that taxpayer dollars should only subsidize abortions that are medically-necessary. That’s why I’m mostly in favor of the Hyde Amendment.
I say “mostly in favor of” because I would like to see some way that women without financial means can receive monetary support or coverage if they wish to terminate the pregnancy before carrying the pregnancy fully to term. But if we don’t put any limits on public funding, here, what kind of slippery slope might that lead to?
Those considerations need to be discussed before any modifications are made to the Hyde Amendment.
But, before we (as a society) reach that point, we have to protect Roe v. Wade — or mitigate its repeal.
A lot of that will depend on the exact language that the High Court uses when they issue their upcoming ruling. Will they partially-uphold some of Roe v. Wade, but under very specific terms? Or will they just go ahead and repeal it in full? And what will be the legal justification, as issued within their ruling itself?
If the worst-case scenario (a full repeal) happens, the immediate necessity would be passing congressional legislation that guarantees a minimum level of protection and allowance for abortions to be performed — especially in the case of medical necessity — across all 50 states and in all U.S. territories.
The passage of this hypothetical law would then override any pre-Roe laws that retroactively go into effect, assuming that Roe v. Wade has been repealed in its entirety. And even if Roe is only partially repealed: such a new law would provide a much-needed safeguard supporting women’s health.
In order to receive enough support from conservative-to-moderate Democrats (and possibly from some liberal-to-moderate Republicans), such legislation should:
- Clarify increased consequences for doctors who perform abortions without proof of medical necessity
- Refrain from slipping in a sly provision that overturns the Hyde Amendment without nuance or reasonable guidelines
- Omit any legal burdens pertaining to religious institutions or parochially-funded entities
On-edit: hypothetical criminalization for doctors should only be applicable in cases where the abortion was performed following a cervical dilation once a pregnant woman has actually gone into labor…regardless of whether the labor was induced or spontaneous. But, even then, the burden of proof needs to be met by the claimant who alleges it was medically-unnecessary. In other words, when the doctor provides a medical explanation for the procedure’s necessity, a claimant would need to traverse a higher standard of proof than what the doctor’s expertise has provided.
But, outside of those exceptions, this is the next essential step if indeed Roe gets repealed. And the timing couldn’t be worse for Republicans, politically.
Millions of angry (rightfully so!) women will demand that political candidates prioritize the health of pregnant women right before the 2022 midterms.
And it’s important for any of us who will never be able to experience pregnancy, due to whatever physiological or medical reasons, to make sure that we stand with them.
If lawmakers go down a road that removes access to abortions, what is to stop them from going after birth control in the future?
Or going after condoms?
Or going after optional sterilization surgeries?
Or going after sex toys?
Or finding special ways to penalize infertile people?
Or placing special taxes on substances that enhance fertility?
Or policing the bedrooms of fertile people?
Or policing the bedrooms of anyone who isn’t trying to get pregnant with the intent to raise a traditional nuclear family?
Does that of all sound ridiculous to you?
Well, I agree. It would be ridiculous.
We live in a ridiculous world.
So then, if you believe those escalations of public policy would be so ridiculous and outlandish…then you should have no problem agreeing to steps that prevent the government from practicing medicine.
After all, if you think it’s highly unlikely to actually happen…then what’s the harm in codifying it so that it indeed never does happen?
Unless it’s a false objection from you, and you covertly WANT to leave the door open to allow for more governmental control over people’s bodies…
Many women will risk their lives to have an abortion, in the absence of laws protecting the right to choose. Some of them won’t survive.
Let’s keep it framed in these very clear, succinct, practical terms.
No sensational rhetoric about “infanticide” or “abortion-on-demand.”
No bogus “symbolic” legislation threatening to impose vasectomies (or castration) upon men and boys.
No whataboutisms invoking rhetorical detours about anything other than the real-time state of being pregnant.
Speak from the heart…in the interest of health, wellness, and bodily sovereignty. A critical mass (or “supermajority”) of progressives, liberals, moderates, centrists, and libertarians will follow.
And that will create heartache at the ballot box for those political hustlers who seek to impose draconian rule over the reproductive freedoms of women and nonbinary people.