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  • Writer's pictureErin Stevens

Don't You Dare

When it comes to abortion, don't you dare:

- suggest that women and girls just "stop being sluts". Someone has to contribute the sperm to a pregnancy, and no one ever questions the morality of that half of the equation. In fact, our society tends to applaud the sexual conquests of heterosexual men. People - including those capable of pregnancy - have sex whether you like it and it passes your personal standards or not (and statistically, teen pregnancy rates are higher in areas with abstinence-only sex education) . Someone can conceive and need an abortion during their first time ever having sex with the only partner they'll ever have or during their hundredth time of having sex with one of many partners, with or without use of contraception. Someone can conceive and need an abortion when they never chose to have sex in the first place. Your emphasis on purity culture helps no one. Stop with this shaming. So many medical scenarios can be a result of lifestyle choices - a heart attack from a poor diet, a knee injury from marathon training, lung cancer from smoking, to name a few. Do you punish the people in those circumstances and deny them the care they need because they knew the potential consequences of their actions?

- act like you're somehow morally superior for your birth control method of choice never failing. Great, you have predictable periods and ovulation, and natural family planning - statistically poorly effective - has worked out for you. Even permanent sterilization aka "tube tying" can fail for others. It's a matter of chance one way or another. Your ability to avoid pregnancy with your chosen method doesn't make you better - it makes you lucky.

- say people are stupid if they don't know they're pregnant by whatever arbitrary time makes sense to you and your legislators. Not everyone has regular periods and ovulation. PCOS, thyroid conditions, breastfeeding, and certain medication use are some of the circumstances in which periods may not come for months at a time. A period can be thrown off for anyone in the setting of weight changes, lifestyle changes, increased stress, grief, illness, and a slew of other factors including "just because". Even if someone with a textbook 28 day cycle has a positive pregnancy test the exact day of their expected period, they're already 4 weeks pregnant. After some time to consider the situation if needed, access care, and meet whatever other obstructive legal requirements are in place, even that person who is on top of it may have run out of time in the setting of a 6 week ban (and is way past the deadline for a ban "at fertilization") .

- honestly try to equate the "my body, my choice" argument to that of COVID (or any other) vaccination. No one ever FORCED YOU to get vaccinated (evidenced by the fact that about 1/3 of American adults remain unvaccinated). When it comes to businesses requiring vaccination for entrance or your employer requiring vaccination for employment, you can choose to do your business and be employed elsewhere. The guidance for vaccination was in the name of public health, and your decision of what to do with your body had a direct impact on the bodies of every person around you in society.

- pretend that an anti-abortion stance is pro-life. You are completely excluding the life of the pregnant person, and you have failed to show your compassion toward the life of a child once born. America has abysmal maternal mortality rates, worst in states with anti-abortion policies. Infant mortality rates are also worst in Republican states. Our country has no requirement for paid family leave. Childcare costs are out of reach for some. The Senate just failed to pass the PUMP act, which would have expanded protected workplace breastpumping time and space for millions of Americans. Funding for public schools is constantly jeopardized. Guns are the leading cause of death for children, and yet most people who are anti-abortion support policies that increase the risk of children dying by this method. The GOP repeatedly works toward worsening climate change and making our world increasingly uninhabitable.

- try to convince people that treatment methods for ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage aren't also obstructed by these laws. This absolutely has already been happening in states with extreme anti-abortion policies and has occurred in new places since the Dobbs decision was made official 6/24. Care is delayed or withheld either completely or until the pregnant person is deemed to be close enough to death to intervene. People have been arrested after presenting with miscarriage and stillbirth. Legislators have specifically written language in bills requiring reimplantation of an ectopic pregnancy - a procedure that does not exist. Just because you want to imagine these scenarios don't occur doesn't mean that aligns with reality.

- think that you know better than medical doctors and say that abortion is never required to save the life of the pregnant person. We can talk about this very broadly as pregnancy is demanding and dangerous in many ways - psychologically, emotionally, physically, socially, financially. It is not easy, it is not risk-free, it is not some blip that won't be forever life-changing. Drawing a line on what exactly is "life-threatening" is an ethical challenge. People commit suicide due to unplanned pregnancies. Pregnant people are abused and murdered by partners and family members. Pregnancy worsens existing medical problems and creates new ones, some that are lifelong and may ultimately kill them. Teens are kicked out of their homes by parents angry about their pregnancies, and may not last without a stable shelter or food. More directly to the immediately life-threatening point are situations like previable PPROM with sepsis, severe preeclampsia, or placental abruption. Don't know what those terms mean or their implications? Then maybe sit this one out.

- suggest the pregnant person just stick it out because 1. adoption is a choice! or 2. they'll see that they just love that baby so much in the end. There are over 400,000 children in the foster care system in the United States, over 100,000 of whom are waiting to be adopted. No one will ever step up for many of them - there are simply not enough people prepared to or wanting to adopt those children. People who have been through the foster care system often provide firsthand accounts of the horrific circumstances they've endured. Plenty of people - even those who planned and wanted pregnancy! - regret having children, resent them, and treat them accordingly. All that aside, you have no right to decide that a pregnant person should withstand pregnancy and birth for those imagined outcomes, especially given everything mentioned in the point above.

- tell people it's better for them to try to carry their genetically abnormal or otherwise anomalous fetus to term. You don't get to decide what the compassionate choice is. If your concern truly lies in the life/safety/comfort of "the baby", know that babies born with issues incompatible with life WILL absolutely suffer between live birth and neonatal death. If your concern is with the pregnant person's wellbeing, know that many WILL suffer every minute of every hour of every day carrying a pregnancy that they know will not result in a living child that they can love and parent.

- force your religious beliefs on anyone else. There is freedom of religion in this country. That doesn't mean freedom to be a Christian and nothing else. Many religions require support of bodily autonomy and the right to an abortion in certain circumstances. Even Christianity isn't black and white on this. You can believe whatever it is you choose and live your life based on those beliefs. You don't get to decide that your religious doctrine applies to everyone else.

- think for a second that everyone "on your side" actually practices what they preach. Anti-abortion leaders - political or otherwise - have repeatedly been found to have abortions or pressure partners into abortions. Abortion providers have all cared for people who have protested outside their very clinics (and go back to doing the same after their care is completed). Everyone has some argument about why their case was different. I promise you, it wasn't special. They just hadn't considered the vast complexities of reproductive healthcare until they found themselves in the position to actually need an abortion.

- say that abortion providers or other pro-choice physicians are "baby killers" or hate babies. Most of us have babies of our own Many of us care for people throughout their pregnancies and deliver babies. We love babies. We want them to be born as healthy as possible to parents who can and want to care for them.

- say that people who have abortions are "baby killers" or hate babies. Approximately 60% of abortions are obtained by people who already have children, and they want to make sure they can appropriately provide for and BE ALIVE FOR those existing children. Many who don't yet have children want to make sure their health and other circumstances are optimized to have a family in the future.

The sheer audacity of these repeated themes from everyone celebrating the overturning of Roe v Wade is enraging. Stop with this absolute uneducated, harmful nonsense.

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