Why We Should be Fighting for Women’s Reproductive Rights

Why We Should be Fighting for Women’s Reproductive Rights

Evangeline Campbell ’24

Photo of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

With the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, debates have started again over the topic of women’s reproductive rights and the right to abortion. Ginsburg fought for women’s rights and against gender discrimination until the very end.

The debate on abortion has been a hot topic for decades, even long after the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973. Soon after Ginsburg’s death, Donald Trump announced that he wanted to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice, Amy Coney Barret, before he potentially gets voted out of office. If this happens, women’s reproductive rights could be at major risk. Her appointment could lead to a cut in funding for organizations such as Planned Parenthood which provide essential healthcare to the general public for free or low prices, including not only abortion but also cancer screenings, reproductive healthcare, prenatal care, sex education and contraceptives.

I believe that abortion should be legal and accessible to all; denying such care is an infringement on women’s rights. If abortion is banned, they will be performed underground. They will be done under dangerous circumstances that could result in serious complications and possibly death. Keeping abortion legal and accessible is a matter of retaining our right to live and of keeping those who are with us alive.

Many ‘pro-life’ supporters have used imageries of second or third-trimester abortions to demonize the procedure since later in pregnancy the fetus is more developed and the procedures will, as a result, be more in depth. However, most of these examples depict procedures performed on already-dead fetuses. Statistically, according to the CDC, a very small percentage of abortions take place after the first trimester of pregnancy, with around 91% being within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. After that, nearly every abortion performed is performed for one of two reasons: one, the fetus is dying, has a major health issue or is dead before the abortion; or two, the pregnancy is causing major health problems to (or even killing) the pregnant mother. In both of these cases, abortion can save the life of the pregnant mother and/or prevent her from experiencing the trauma of having to deliver her stillborn child or having to experience her child inevitably die moments after birth. What does continuing the pregnancy in these cases accomplish? This only dishes out preventable pain, trauma and death. No lives are saved.

First-trimester abortions are also important and necessary from a social, economic, emotional and medical standpoints. Children are expensive and a major responsibility. Having kids will drastically change any person’s life. So what happens when you make a mistake, like everyone else, and end up pregnant? Some people have the means to take care of a baby; others may be too poor or too young to raise a child. Some women may be pregnant with the child of their rapist or abuser. The boyfriends or husbands of others may have abandoned them, leaving them alone.

In such an unpredictable time for minorities and marginalized peoples in America, we must continue to fight for the rights of women. We must continue to spread the message of equality of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and fight with full force for our and our mothers’, aunts’ and friends’ rights and freedoms as women, and for the very right to live as a woman in America.

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