Disclaimer: This work is an opinion-piece piece written by an individual member of RDSA. The content does not necessarily reflect positions taken by RDSA, the membership, or steering.
By Violet Rose, RDSA Member
Many in the country are reacting to or desperately trying to cope with the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Many people are justifiably terrified, outraged, and deeply disappointed. To address people who celebrate the overturn of Roe v. Wade or to speak to those who are not yet alarmed, I wish to highlight in one blurb all of the reasons why government-imposed restrictions on abortions are both inhumane and contradictory to other Western values that are persistently upheld, imposing a burden on only certain bodies…
1. Chilling effect
Doctors very concerned about prosecution or liability err on the side of self-preservation and delay necessary care to women to protect the life of the fetus even when the law DOES technically allow for pregnancy terminations to protect the mother’s life and health. In countries like Poland and Ireland, there are recent recorded deaths due to such life-endangering delays. Regulating some abortions to prevent those abortions that people find unnecessary always compromises access to abortions even in cases where most people deem abortions necessary.
2. Inconsistent sacrificial requirement
Assume for the sake of the argument that abortion is killing. Even so, common law has allowed for killings in defense against rape, substantial bodily harm, and death only when there is reasonable fear of those outcomes. Pregnancy-related complications can and do cause substantial bodily harm. Pregnancy-related complications do kill women. Pregnant workers are considered to be disabled under given circumstances under the Americans with Disabilities Act, often impairing mobility and causing some health complications. All pregnancies end in extremely intense physical agony. Is anyone else, aside from a pregnant woman, legally required to endure extreme physical agony just to preserve life, endure a physical disability to preserve life, endure non-consensual growth inside of one’s body just to preserve life, or risk physical health complications just to preserve life? No. The law does not require that in any other circumstance. People aren’t even required by law to donate blood to save someone who has no access to a necessary transfusion, even though donating blood is far less risky than pregnancy. Even when people are drafted into the military, there are exemptions that they can often rely on to avoid such a fate, although I oppose that violent imposition, as well. We can’t live in a country where some people are legally required to suffer physical agony and put their health at risk to preserve life with non-consensual internal growth while others are not required to do so, because they do NOT have the unlucky bodies that would force them into such a position.
3. Non-consensual suffering imposed on a child
What if you could predict that someone had a 50 percent chance of suffering homelessness, sexual assault, physical abuse, or other horrors? Anyone who has researched what a child in the foster care system often needs to endure must heavily interrogate themselves. In the name of preserving their life, are you willing to subject an innocent child who didn’t ask to be created into poverty and abuse that they can’t escape from? Are you willing to define “murder” or “unlawful killing” so broadly so as to force people into existence that the world can’t offer a humane environment to? Is it not more sacred and more compassionate to prevent them from needing to experience that suffering without their consent? Are you really willing to impose all of that on a child when this society can’t overcome the common plague of poverty?
4. Re-traumatizing rape survivors
I won’t even elaborate on this too much. Anyone who has suffered forced penetration being, then, subject to forced birth is living in a pro-rape society. Forcing someone to endure a bodily violation without their consent when they already suffered one for the sake of being pro-life is a situation where the ends don’t justify the means…
Exactly what are you willing to do to preserve life? How much suffering are you willing to cause? I won’t argue about when life begins, because I submit to you that EVEN if you are killing someone, the alternative is to force a sacrifice that no one should be forced into just to preserve life. If someone attaches themselves to you without your consent, are you morally obligated to allow them to use your body if detaching them from your body could kill them? Really. I don’t believe you.
For those who say that a woman chose to have sex and, therefore, must endure the consequence, I remind you that driving a car is always a risk. Should the child need to endure the consequence of being born into an unsupportive environment so that you can hold the woman responsible for having sex??? You are using the idea of a child to rein a woman into some warped sense of responsibility. If you drive to a non-essential location and are in a car accident, should I say that you assumed the risk of the accident and are responsible for the foreseeable nature of it? Maybe, I should tell you not to go on the unnecessarily gratuitous vacation when you need to drive 100 miles. After all, you can just say “no” to that, or take responsibility for all of the damage that you suffer when someone non-consensually smashes into your body.