The life-altering choice to have a child should not belong to anyone but the person who will carry that pregnancy. With the Supreme Court overturning the 1973 case Roe v. Wade and many states actively rolling back reproductive rights, choice has been stripped away from millions of women, trans and nonbinary Americans. Access to basic health care is now a state’s right. People will die as a result of this decision.
My pregnancy at the age of 26 was ectopic, meaning not viable under any circumstances. Had it been caught earlier my doctor would have recommended terminating the pregnancy to save my life. Instead, the cluster of cells ruptured my fallopian tube, causing massive internal bleeding for more than a week.
By the time doctors realized what had happened, it was nearly too late. I had insurance, I lived in Vermont, I had a supportive partner and access to health care -- and yet I still nearly died before being rushed into surgery. It was the most physically and emotionally painful experience I’ve ever endured.
U.S. maternal mortality rates are already among the highest of developed countries in the world, particularly for BIPOC patients. Banning safe abortions is only going to make this harsh reality worse, and low-income BIPOC patients are going to be disproportionately impacted. Again, lives are at risk.
While most states banning abortions do allow exceptions in the case of the life of the “mother” (I was never a mother, which many patients don’t consider themselves to be; add to that not all pregnant patients are women), it’s unclear what this means or how many of those patients will receive such life-saving health care when they need it.
With doctors at risk of criminal conviction for assisting patients with abortions in some states, how are the patients who need them going to access this care? Will the necessary medications and safe health care be available to them? Will it be covered by insurance or prohibitively costly?
Will there be trained providers available to assist with these life-threatening situations? What happens when the risk is determined too late? Reproductive health care is a basic right and that right has been systematically stripped from people with uteruses. The state you live in might be the difference between life and death.