In the wake of the wave of Heartbeat Bills sweeping the nation, with the latest occurring in Missouri, we wanted to take the time to unequivocally reiterate our stance on abortion: WOMEN’S WAY supports a woman’s right to choose.
We say this without caveat, without riders, and without timelines or hoops for jumping.
Women’s bodies are our own, and our decision to continue a pregnancy or not should be fully in our hands. It is a decision which may be made with the advice of our doctor or partner taken into account, but it is still ours alone.
In recent weeks, abortion access has been attacked across the country. Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, and now Missouri have all passed new legislation aimed at challenging Roe v. Wade. These laws contain draconian punishments for women or abortion providers such as 99 years in prison for Alabama doctors, or even the death penalty in Georgia for women.
Pennsylvania is not exempt, with a ban on abortion based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome recently passing in our own House (Governor Wolf has promised a veto).
Despite the “right to life” rhetoric, there can be no misunderstanding that these laws are a direct attack on women’s safety, security, health, and lives.
In 1977 WOMEN’S WAY was founded because issues such as rape crisis centers and abortion were hard to fund, and women’s advocacy groups found that by pooling their resources they were more effective. 42 years later, our commitment to abortion access as an integral part of our mission has not changed.
Abortion is necessary for women’s economic security, as children are one of the greatest expanses any person can take on (est. $233,610 per child, without college). Motherhood will impact a woman’s future earning potential, and is the largest contributor to the pay gap.
Abortion is necessary for women’s safety, both physical and emotional. Birthing a child creates a permanent relationship between the woman and the child’s father — one which the mother may not wish to continue for many reasons, including violence. The Alabama and Missouri bills do not contain exceptions for rape or incest, meaning a child raped by her father would be forced to carry and birth that child. This continues the violence done against her body.
Abortion is necessary for racial equity, since women with means will always find a way to get what they need while women without will be backed into corners. Criminalizing abortion will increase the gap between white women and women of color, deepening an already great injustice in our system.
If these laws scare you, you are not alone. But despite the fact that women are socialized to sit down and let men do they what they want to us, we will not be remaining quiet in the face of these vicious, misogynistic, and cruel attacks on our rights.
If you want to get involved, please consider donating or time, money, or your vocal support to:
- Women’s Medical Fund — Funding abortions for low income women in the Philadelphia region
- Access Matters — Advocating for reproductive health access in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and DC
- WW Immediate Response Access Fund — Allows us to quickly respond to funding crises at the organizations who provide vital local services to women