This article is going to contain sensitive material. Though it's an important thing to discuss, the writer of the article also realizes that many of the readers of this site are currently pregnant, considering pregnancy, or possibly even have experienced loss of a pregnancy. If a reader finds themselves particular sensitive in regards to this topic, it may be a good idea to forgo reading it right now. The intent of this article is to explore how abortion could potentially affect women.
Abortion in the U.S. has long been a contentious issue. There is much debate. Due to the current political climate it seems to be creating even more of a divide. Being from the middle of the U.S., the goal here is to keep this article representative of the middle of the road. Showing respect to both sides by attempting to remain neutral to the best of my ability. Meaningful discourse on the subject as opposed to attempting to explain who is right.
Please come with me as we tread gingerly through this topic and see how it affects women in the United States.
15 Constant Bills On The Ballot To Outlaw Abortion (State Level)
In my particular state there have been ballot initiatives several times in relation to abortion. It seems as though before the signs and literature for the vote are even collected they have decided to try another abortion related bill.
These initiatives are done with slight changes in the wording to try to make the it more digestible to the voters, but it's rehashing the same issue constantly. For example: the first bill that was on the ballot had zero exceptions for abortion. It made abortion illegal under all circumstances in the state.
If the voters turned that bill down, they did another ballot initiative that created one exception which was if the mother's life was in danger.
This constant voting on one particular subject is frustrating as a voter as a feeling that the vote doesn't matter. What was really decided? Should they continue to be able to rehash the same subjects instead of moving forward to other problems?
14 Exceptions For Abused To Not Bear Child Of Abuser
Right now a victim of abuse can get an abortion. This in some people's estimation is a protection of the victim. They have a choice to not be forced to have a baby they do not want. Abortion as an option matters to you as unfortunately rape can happen to anyone.
In many ballot initiatives that are seeking to make abortion illegal they do not provide exceptions for abused women. If a person believes that the embryo is a baby at fertilization than ending that life is unacceptable no matter what the circumstances. If a person believes that the embryo is a baby, it's wrong to hurt that baby no matter the circumstance.
This affects all women as we may find ourselves in this circumstance some day and it's important to not be so removed to think that crime can never happen to us. That we could never have this situation.
13 Funding (Of Medical Procedure)
How are the abortions funded? Do American tax payers pay for them?
Much is being made currently in the United States of the funding of the Planned Parenthood clinics. These clinics offer services to women. They offer birth control, screenings for cancer, vaccines, and abortions. Planned Parenthood receives government funding for the services that they offer as they do a lot of work for the poor. There has been a push to defund them due to the fact that they provide abortions at some of their clinics. According to something called Title X, federal funds are not allowed to be used for abortion services at Planned Parenthood. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding in America about this. When people request that funding be shut down for them they site abortion as the reason. However the funding is not going towards that at all.
In the United States Medicaid is a program that helps to insure the poor. They are funded through tax dollars. The medical service of abortion can be funded by Medicaid funds and therefore it is possible that tax payers do pay some for that service, but it isn't through the channels that most American's think.
12 Funding (Of Raising Child If Not Available)
The logical next step in wondering about how it affects you financially in the USA is how an unexpected child will be raised. America has welfare programs for people that require it, but the current administration seeks to cut back those programs.
This raises a concern when you discuss the outlook for making abortion illegal. What will happen to these children if they don't have Welfare programs? It has long been a discussion in America that it is at odds to want the social programs cut, but not want people to be allowed to have an abortion.
How is a single mother who must have the baby going to be able to afford to take care of the baby? How are they going to provide the care? They probably won't be able to and this will likely cost tax payers money.
11 Sex Education
The amazing thing is that the United States abortion rates have actually dropped to the lowest they have been since the 1970's. This is likely the result of a sex education and services offered through Planned Parenthood (such as birth control, condoms, etc.)
The curriculum in the school as well as discussions at home have become part of our culture. Making sure that birth control is available to our teens. Making sure teens are aware how to properly use the options available to them. Making sure we are having uncomfortable conversations - the whole nine yards.
There is of course some resistance to a sex ed curriculum in school due to different religious beliefs etc. That could affect everyone differently. There seems to be ways to opt out of the conversation if the parents so choose. There will always be sighs of "my tax dollars pay for (insert subject here)?" from disgruntled parents. It is important for parents to have these talks earlier and earlier with their children as social media makes access to information easier.
10 Spontaneous Abortions Cared For The Same?
When discussing making abortions illegal, there seems to be very little thought or talk that is dedicated to miscarriages. There is a huge concern to many women that depending on the wording in the legislation of abortions they may not be able to have help should they miscarry naturally.
If there body doesn't properly expel the tissue, is the doctor allowed to go in and get the tissue? Would that be considered an illegal abortion though it's necessary for the mom? About 15-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriages, so protecting the feelings and dignity of mothers that have to go through that is of the utmost importance. Along this line there are other devastating circumstances in which a mother had to make a decision to let her baby go after it was found to have a condition that would lead it to be in a great deal of pain when born. This deserves to be treated with compassion.
9 Ectopic Pregnancy Exception
Having had a few friends that had ectopic pregnancies, this is another thing that is vital to be discussed in any sort of abortion debate. If abortion were illegal could an embryo that attached itself in the tubes instead of the uterus be removed or would that be considered an abortion and therefore carry repercussions for the mother?
If the baby grows in the fallopian tube it can rupture the tube, cause a great deal of pain, and lead to death if not removed. Making sure that women are being offered the care they need is necessary when it comes to these type of emergency situations. Should I experience this, I don't want to have any worry that someone is hesitating to take appropriate action. Everyone should be concerned that the care offered to women in this situation is top notch with no interference from government.
8 Declining Birth Rate; Increased Tax Burden
Are abortions going to be the death nail in the United States tax coffin? That is a theory that is being floated around and if that is the case, it will certainly affect us all. This theory is in relation to tax burden. The tax burden is the burden we all share to pay for public services and buildings in the United States.
The theory says that as abortions continue to be allowed we will start to see that we can't support the older population as they age. Basically with the ability to limit the birth rate with abortions, there will be less taxable people coming up through our system thus increasing the tax burden on everyone. More babies means more workers, means more taxes. We are missing out on the workers and thus missing out on the funds. Mathematically a fairly accurate representation of things with the baby bummers etc.
It does seem that the invention of birth control could be a much more likely culprit for the disparity and future problems with tax burden. Families tend to be smaller now and that is not related to abortions. Yet as a whole the argument may hold water.
7 Where Does Birth Control Fall In This Debate?
Speaking of birth control and it's affect on the tax system. Where does birth control fall on the debate relating to abortion? Birth control is used to prevent pregnancy. As our health care system is being revamped in the states there have been increasing debates on what should be covered in the health plan. There have been statements by State Representatives that birth control should not be covered at all.
Since birth control likely prevents unwanted pregnancies and thus unwanted abortions it has a lot of women concerned about their future. There are men that don't seem to want to fund this and even a study that said they have reaped no benefit from women having birth control. I'm assuming that they answered that poll with 15 kids screaming in the background, so maybe the answer got convoluted?
There seems to be a lack in understanding from men that birth control pills are used for more than preventing pregnancy. There are many conditions that are treated by taking the pill (PCOS, heavy bleeding, cramping). Obviously reduced accessibility to birth control is something that would affect me a great deal.
6 Maternity Leave In United States Is Not Ideal
You can not discuss abortion without discussing a potential baby. This discussion leads you to the potential things a mother would need for that baby. And that my friends leads us to the crazy American world of maternity leave.
The maternity leave in the United States is bad compared to a lot of other industrialized nations. In fact I dare say for many women it is one of the reasons that they choose to keep small families. There just isn't a way to fund their leave.
Something America needs to remember is that if a woman is forced to carry to term it is a handicap to mothers not to have proper care for her after that baby to recover. That just doesn't usually happen here.
In the United States you likely will have to use all of your saved vacation and sick time for maternity leave. This puts you at a serious disadvantage when you return to work and the baby gets sick etc.
5 Health Care For Pregnancy Up For Debate
As we mentioned before health care is up for debate in the United States with the new administration. This means all facets of care from preexisting conditions to pregnancy care are being dragged into discussion. Unfortunately the ones discussing it seem to be mostly white older men who are out of the baby game.
One congressman was quoted as saying "Why should men have to pay for prenatal care?" This is beyond scary for most American women. The concern with doing away with abortion has always been that there would be a trickle affect. First we take away rights to choose, than we move on to more rights. There is slowly going to be a limit to options that women have and control will be exerted by men.
We still have access to abortions but things are being eyed to make it harder to be a woman. Meanwhile women point out that we pay for Viagra for men and that seems a little less important compared to Prenatal care. United States is at a really scary place with access for people to healthcare. Abortion is just one facet that is bringing more concerns out into the open.
4 Change In Medical Care And Recommendations
If abortion were to be made illegal, how will my care change? At this point when I go to the doctor I know that I will receive all the options that are available for me. The doctor and I will arrive at the best care plan for me. If there were lifesaving options that were not available any longer than who is making the call? How do I trust my doctor?
In the state of Texas there is a bill that allows a doctor to withhold information from a pregnant woman. We are hearing from our insurers that we need to be more involved in our care and shop around to save money, than on the other hand there are bills actually okaying that information not be shared with a woman.
This feels like an assault on women's rights. The supposed point of the bill is to prevent women from suing if the doctor doesn't tell them that their child has a medical condition before birth. Basically to prevent the woman from utilizing a currently legal option of abortion. Here is the problem, the bill also deny's the mother the chance to come to terms and to find resources to help her baby while in the womb.
3 Cost To Punish If Abortion Illegal
Another cost consideration when talking about making abortion illegal or making laws that make it more difficult for women to have abortions is the cost of enforcement. There will be costs to fight lawsuits for all of the one off situations that come up. There will be costs if there needs to be a committee that decides if an abortion was performed illegally. There will be costs to hear cases on doctors. There will be suits against doctors for unforeseen circumstances that we haven't even dreamed up yet. There will be costs to punishing women that have the audacity to decide what to do with their bodies. There will be costs as doctors make decisions on covering their behinds or taking care of a patient. These costs will be federal or state dollars. This affects all of us. Financially it affects us and in general well being and trust in the system it affects us.
2 Plan B
This is along the same lines of the birth control question, but will Plan B be something that continues to be funded? Will this be considered abortion and then not allowed. In some people's minds this is a prevention measure of abortion. In some opinions it is an abortion. The science is that Plan B works by preventing an egg from leaving the ovary, stops the egg from fertilizing or prevents the egg from attaching to the uterus. These are the things that happen every month when you don't fall pregnant naturally. However the pill forces your body to do this. There were some pharmacy's that refused to carry this pill due to religious beliefs preventing women from having access to it. This very well might be something that I require at some point in my life and access to it is necessary along with funds for it. Many would gladly pay for this instead of 18 years of supporting a child.
1 Possible IVF/Fertility Treatment Repercussions
There have been some fears in the IVF/Fertility community in regards to some of the bills floating around in which they define personhood. If they define personhood as something that begins at the fertilization of the egg this means that clinics that create embryos (the joining of a sperm and an egg) could have a liability problem. They can't do anything with these embryo's that may cause harm to them or they could be charged with a crime. Even if it is a once celled embryo. Is transferring an embryo into a uterus an acceptable risk according to the proposed personhood law? When these embryos are created, they are not all healthy enough to create baby's. What will happen to them?
As a person with many friends struggling with infertility and threat to their ability to experience something they so desperately want is an affront to all women. Protecting IVF is important.
Sources: Romper.com, CNN.com, NPR.org, HuffingtonPost.com, NYpost.com