The Dangerous Hypocrisy of Anti-Abortion Rhetoric: Protecting Abortion Access as Essential Healthcare

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The push to overturn Roe v Wade has been a decades-long process, largely successfully implemented in practice by states that have made it incredibly difficult for pregnant people to get the safe care they need.

The “pro-life” rhetoric behind those who support banning abortions is simply false and utterly hypocritical, particularly in light of lax gun laws and disinterest in sustaining human life after birth in this country.

Banning abortion is a poor health choice. If the goal is to prevent death, it would seem utterly ridiculous and counterintuitive that someone would be required to die or give birth to a baby just to have that child potentially suffer tremendously or be stillborn. Additionally, as has been shown time and time again, even if abortion is banned, abortions will still occur. They will simply be less available and less safe for those who don’t have the funds or means to travel to a place where they can get adequate and legal reproductive care. A recent study estimates that an increase in 21% of pregnancy-related deaths would occur due to a total abortion ban.

Banning abortion is a poor equity choice. Black, Brown, and low-income pregnant people who live in an anti-abortion state are the ones that are left to suffer, as distance is a direct correlation to how likely it is for someone to get an abortion. People who live in an anti-abortion state and can afford it (both by having money and time to do so) will travel. In contrast, people living in states that support abortion will have significantly fewer issues accessing comprehensive reproductive healthcare and safe abortions. And whereas there’s a 21% increase in pregnancy-related deaths overall, that number climbs to 33% among Black women because “staying pregnant is more dangerous than having an abortion”.

To make matters worse, those who are already unable to afford the care for a safe abortion now need to find the money to pay for the costs of raising a child. And if one thinks the answer is a simple, ‘just give the child up for adoption, it might be worth reconsidering that stance. Giving birth can be invasive, traumatic, and harmful (even leading to death, as we’ve referenced above). Not to mention that this approach dismisses a pregnant person’s own autonomy and right to make decisions about their health and body. Additionally, for the child, adoption isn’t always a simple and joyful solution (especially for transracial adoptees), and there is an ongoing debate about the very ethics of adoption.

Banning abortion is a poor mental health choice. This country is already experiencing a mental health crisis, and banning abortions will exacerbate the issue. According to the American Psychological Association, “Rigorous, long-term psychological research demonstrates clearly that people who are denied abortions are more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety, lower life satisfaction, and lower self-esteem compared with those who are able to obtain abortions.”

Banning abortion is a poor economic choice for the US, pregnant people, and families. If health and equity arguments aren’t enough, note that the US economy is taking and will continue to take a significant hit. According to Women’s Policy Research, current state-level abortion restrictions cost the US over $100 billion annually caused by reduced earning levels, increased job turnover, and time off for women between 15 and 44 years old. It’ll only worsen as more states plan to implement strict policies as soon as Roe is overturned. And we’ll join a not-so-elite group of countries that don’t allow abortions and whose people are suffering tremendously.

Thankfully some companies are stepping up to support their employees, and for good reason. However, we still have more to do. No more thoughts and prayers. It’s time for policy and action.

Actions you can take: