For centuries, women across the country have struggled to achieve reproductive freedom. For women to have reproductive freedom, they are entitled to the right to safe and legal abortions, birth control, sterilization and contraception’s, access to high-quality reproductive health care, and education and access to make free and informed reproductive choices. While we all live in different parts of the country, every state has a different opinion on what women are allowed to do. Women are judged and terrorized for what they chose to do with their reproductive right because of people’s influence in their religious beliefs, social norms, and political affiliations.
In the premodern era, they believed that the fetus still in the uterus was to be plantlike in nature, and not a human until birth when they finally take their first grasp of air; therefore, finding abortion, terminating a pregnancy, morally acceptable. Although this was acceptable then, the shift in opinions of abortion changed drastically in the early 1900’s and was then criminalized.
During the 1960’s, physicians did not agree with abortions. The Hippocratic Oath, a historical oath doctors swear by, molded opinions about abortions into the medical field because it was to defend the value of human life as an absolute.
In the 1960’s birth control was introduced, and for the first time, women had an option and a choice to prevent pregnancy. However, “several major religious institutions opposed contraceptives and many states banned the sale of artificial contraceptives, even to married couples” (Casey), which meant women’s choice of their body was put to a halt. It wasn’t until a supreme court ruled that women were able to access birth control, regardless of their marital status.
Back in the day, there was an old double standard that said men were rewarded for their sexual expertise while women suffered a damaged reputation because of their sexual activity. While this measure does show the narrow-mindedness of people back then, this is also commonly heard of today. Today, if single women have any sexual activity with a male that isn’t their boyfriend or even if they are, they are called “sluts” and “whores.” Another scenario would be when women want to engage in sexual activity and do not have access to birth control or contraceptives, and end up pregnant or with infections, who do they blame?
What is the issue?
The issue that regards reproductive rights is having it taken away from women. Reproductive rights are a fundamental human right. More recently, the new President has his public agenda to limit women’s rights. While the President usually influences people, this President Trump has brought out the worse of people. The President’s plan is to shut down organizations like Planned Parenthood and prevent women from getting abortions and contraceptives. With ideas like these, it makes women terrified, and anti-choice protestors rattled because their leader is with them.
It would be understandable if having an abortion is a dangerous surgical procedure, but it is not. According to the Guttmacher Institute, “Abortion is one of the safest surgical procedures for women in the United States. Fewer than 0.05% of women obtaining abortions experience a complication” (Weitz TA), and yet this the only surgical procedure being taken away.
Since 2010, the restriction on abortion right has grown increasingly in more states. “Between 2010 and 2016, states enacted 338 new abortion restrictions, which account for nearly 30% of the 1,142 abortion restrictions enacted by states since the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade” (Boonstra HD), so instead of reducing the restrictions, the Supreme Court is just adding more every year.
Little by little, the access to clinics have gone away. In the past years, Texas has taken a fall on abortion access. In 2014, “some 96% of Texas counties had no clinics that provided abortions, and 43% of Texas women lived in those counties” (Jones RK and Jerman J), this leaves women in fear to drive for hours to obtain services that are not only legal but constitutionally protected.
Millions of women who live in the counties suffer through these consequences when they are seeking emergency contraception and get turned away because they can’t show proof of age. As well as it “being felt at the kitchen tables of women making tough decisions about how to pay for birth control when their employers refuse to cover it in their insurance plans” (Northup).
In the beginning, it started with 40 clinics that abortion access but when the restrictions become laws, clinics had no option but to start closing their doors, and the number of clinics open was cut in half, only leaving 19. Sadly, it is said that the number of clinics Texas started with will not return (Ura).
Although this meant that the numbers of abortions went down, “14% fewer abortions in Texas in 2014 compared with the year before, while the number of Texas women getting abortions out of state increased about 11%” (Hennessy-Fiske), this was to be expected.
As bad as it seems in Texas with only 19 abortion clinics open in a state where 43% are women, Mississippi has become more restrictive with their abortion laws. As of 2014, Mississippi has only ONE abortion clinic, and even worse, state hospitals have ignored requests to grant admitting privileges to physicians who have performed or may perform abortions (FindLaw). Technically since 1973, Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court case that ruled it constitutional for women to choose whether to end a pregnancy during the first trimester, abortion has been legal ever since. But there was no indication that states couldn’t regulate certain aspects of the law, therefore letting Mississippi adjust the law in its way.
While the number of clinics is going down, the number of CPCs have increased. CPC’S, otherwise know as Crisis Pregnancy Clinics, are local centers that camouflage themselves as support systems for women that are pregnant. But what it is real, “where pregnant and often vulnerable women are manipulated into carrying their pregnancies to term instead of having an abortion” (Hatch), and which sadly many of them are partially funded by the government. Not only do the CPC’s receive funding from the government, but by religious anti-abortion groups, which is more than any clinics that offer abortions get fund. Educating about contraceptives is completely off the table, yet instead, make pregnant women sit down in a counseling session with unqualified counselors who encourage praying and abstinence (Hatch). One of the more convincing arguments on the topic comes from the NARAL, who argues that “many CPCs present themselves as medical clinics even though they are not health care facilities and the information they provide about abortion and sexual health is largely inaccurate” (Hatch), which also becomes a huge waste of the taxpayer’s dollars. Even if this is something people that pay their taxes for this see, the still want to fund this instead of funding organizations like Planned Parenthood that could change a women’s life for the better.
The other side of this argument would be that people’s religious beliefs interfering with what is wrong with this. Yes, a fetal may be a human in the womb but it is in the women’s body, but no one should interfere with that.
In conclusion, instead of having these organizations shut down, they should increase. From the postmodern era where they believed it was acceptable, to the modern day now where they are trying to shut these places down, things have drastically changed. The Supreme Court should not let the states adjust the law that made it constitutional to terminate a pregnancy, thanks to Roe v. Wade. It shouldn’t be fair for women to have to travel states to get what they want. Instead of wasting taxpayer’s money on CPC’s, they should fund abortion clinics, others that give out contraceptives, birth control, and educational information on these things. For then finally, women can have reproductive freedom.
Hatch, Jenavieve. “What America Can Learn From Mississippi’s Last Remaining Abortion Clinic.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 24 June 2016. Web. 20 May 2017.
“Mississippi Abortion Laws.” Findlaw. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.
“State Facts About Abortion: Texas.” Guttmacher Institute. N.p., 17 May 2017. Web. 20 May 2017.
“Guides: A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States: Womens Reproductive Rights.” Womens Reproductive Rights — A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States — Guides at Georgetown Law Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.
“Huffington Post: The Fight for Womens Reproductive Rights Cant Just Be About Winning or Losing the Abortion War.” Center for Reproductive Rights. N.p., 16 Jan. 2013. Web. 20 May 2017.
Ura, Alexa, Ryan Murphy, Annie Daniel, and Lindsay Carbonell. “Here Are the Texas Abortion Clinics That Have Closed Since 2013.” The Texas Tribune. N.p., 28 June 2016. Web. 20 May 2017.
“Heres what happened when Texas cracked down on abortion clinics.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, n.d. Web. 20 May 2017
Valenti, Jessica. “Violent anti-choice rhetoric must end, or anti-abortion violence never will.”The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 29 Nov. 2015. Web. 20 May 2017