This week marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion and affirmed that people with a uterus have the right to choose what’s best for them in conjunction with their doctor, without the interference of politics. However, this weekend also marked the “Walk for Life” march in San Francisco, in which hundreds of anti-abortion activists toted pictures of babies and religious icons. When I walked past the march, I noticed that, while there were many women, the majority of the participants were cisgender men. In fact, the current president, John Paul Dugyon, of USF’s anti-choice group ‘Students for Life’ is a cisgender male. What I don’t understand is why people without a uterus are trying to tell me what I can and cannot do with mine.
Although it’s been established that access to abortion is a legal right, there continues to be a squabble over reproductive health care despite the fact that it’s been proven that having access to those medical services is good for both individuals and society writ large. In fact, a study conducted by UCSF confirmed that women who are blocked from having abortions are far more likely to wind up below the poverty line, unemployed and dependent on public assistance. They were more prone to staying with their partner, but also more likely to have experienced domestic abuse and feel less positive about their relationship. However, having an abortion doesn’t have a negative impact on mental health, and the vast majority of those that do have an abortion feel it was the right decision even after the fact.
People are at liberty to choose whether or not they want an abortion. It’s not my business what you choose to do with your body, nor is it anyone else’s. However, seeking to eliminate that right is an active attack against anyone with a uterus. Consider the death of Savita Halappanavar, the woman in Ireland who died due to being denied an abortion because public policy dictated that the fetus that was killing her was more important than her life. Think on the hundreds of thousands of other women across the globe who have suffered and continue to die under similar circumstances or by seeking unsafe ’back alley’ abortions when they don’t have adequate and unfettered access to the health care they need. To those who call themselves pro-life, I implore you to look in the eyes of someone who could potentially want an abortion at some point in their life and tell them you want them to significantly harm their own chances at living a prosperous, happy and healthy life for the sake of a microscopic group of cells.