For many, opinions on abortion are based around personal circumstances and beliefs. However, when legislation across the river bans abortions at extremely early weeks of pregnancy without exception to victims of rape or incest, it’s time to look beyond personal beliefs and see that these bans are not about morality, but rather are a war on women disguised as a blessing to some.
This legislation is not going to stop abortions; it is going to restrict access to safe abortions. Doctors will be less likely to stay or set up shop in Missouri where they might be sentenced to prison for 15 years, or in Alabama where they might be sentenced to prison for 99 years for providing safe abortions.
According to the Turnaway Study by Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, half of the women in the study who either had an abortion or sought one but were denied the procedure had incomes below the federal poverty level, and three-fourths of these women did not have enough money to pay for basic living expenses.
Interestingly, the study found that those denied an abortion were at greater odds of being unemployed six months later than those permitted an abortion. They were also more likely to be enrolled in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, food assistance (SNAP) and other public safety programs than those who received an abortion.
It’s clear that these bans target poor women. Those who are economically unstable do not have the luxury to take a trip to obtain the procedure — they may not have resources such as a car, money for a bus ticket, childcare for existing children, etc.
For those in St. Louis, the only abortion provider in the state of Missouri, a Planned Parenthood, will possibly lose its license by the end of the week in a controversial fight with the state. If this happens, the Hope Clinic in Granite City would be the closest possible provider.
So, what happens to the women who do not have the resources to travel for safe care? What options do they have? Wire coat hangers. Self-induced options such as herbal abortion, menstrual extraction and misoprostol — all of which are not guaranteed to work and could produce severe harm to women, especially if they do not have the means for a hospital visit if it goes wrong.
These are already well-known methods, and will become increasingly more so with the bans, especially for those who do not have the means to travel due to financial reasons.
The main point is these bans are a war on women, particularly poor women, and to ban safe abortions is to say that women’s lives are less valuable than that of the unborn. To ban abortions in certain states is to prevent women from economic advancement, many of whom are already struggling to get by.
We should support bills like that recently passed by the Illinois House that provide fewer restrictions on the procedure and give women the ability to put their well-being in their own hands.
This is not an argument as simple as “pro-life” or “pro-choice.” But all, no matter what side of the debate they are on, should take into account the mother’s economic, mental and