Losing Your Reproductive Rights Won't Be SO Bad, Claims Ridiculous AP Article
The fear that we may lose our reproductive rights has always been a thorn in the side of those who consider themselves the voice of reason. For years, such reasonable people have rolled their eyes at us, telling us that thinking Roe was in any danger was foolish. That the Right didn't really want it overturned because they needed it to rally people to come out and vote for them. That it was fine for them to vote for Republicans in hopes of getting lower taxes, because no one was ever actually going to take away abortion rights.
They were so very exhausted by us, by our hysteria. Couldn't we just calm down and see that it was never going to happen and that politicians on both sides were just exploiting everyone's fears in order to get votes?
A less-than-fond remembrance from my college anarchist days was some guy telling me that, actually, it would be better for Bush to get re-elected than for Kerry to win, because if Kerry were elected then everyone would be lulled into a state of complacency rather than being pushed to revolt. When I said "OK, that's great and all, but also it's probably not going to happen and just in case it doesn't, maybe some of us don't want to lose our reproductive rights?" I got an exasperated sigh and an eye roll. That's me! SILLY ROBYN!
We are on the verge of such people finding out that they were, in fact, very, very wrong, if that is in fact a thing their brains will process. We are one Supreme Court case away from losing our reproductive rights entirely. The current makeup of the court practically ensures it.
But are they willing to admit they were wrong, and that we, the "hysterical" were right? Heavens, no! Now all those very reasonable people are moving the bar and patiently explaining to us that, actually, losing our reproductive rights won't be so bad after all.
Which brings us to this absolute delight of an Associated Press op-ed published on Monday, snidely titled "Overturning Roe v. Wade wouldn't turn back the clock to 1973," authored by David Crary and Carla K. Johnson (a woman!).
SET IT ON FIRE? Yes, yes we shall.
In this reasonable, rational op-ed, Crary and Johnson patiently explain to the hysterical among us that we don't actually have anything to worry about.
Although far from a certainty, even with increased conservative clout on the Supreme Court, a reversal of Roe would mean abortion policy would revert to the states, and many would be eager to impose bans.
What would not happen is a full-fledged turning back of the clock to 1973.
Women now have far more methods to avoid unwanted pregnancies, as well as safer, easier options for abortion. Many abortions are induced at home with a two-drug combination, and advocacy groups are spreading the word about home abortions using one of the drugs that can be done without a medical professional's involvement.
Sure, but they can't actually do that without breaking the law.
Just last week, the FDA ordered Dutch physician Rebecca Gomperts to stop supplying Americans with the abortion pill by mail. Gomperts runs an organization called Women on Web that mails mifepristone made in India to countries where abortion is illegal, and last year started mailing these pills to people in the US through a site called Aid Access. In that year, there have been over 21,000 orders coming from the United States.
Additionally, as with any drug, there are risks that come with taking the abortion pill, which is why doctors who prescribe it have to sign a waiver showing that if anything goes wrong, they can get the patient a surgical abortion or otherwise provide emergency care.
Crary and Johnson then argue that safe and legal abortions aren't even all that necessary anymore because birth control exists:
A woman can get the morning-after pill without a prescription and keep some in her medicine cabinet for emergencies. Her smartphone sends birth control reminders. Or, if she prefers, a matchstick-size implant gives her no-hassle contraception for years at a time.
They even found a lady who had a nice, at-home abortion and only had to drive 70 miles to be able to get the pills!
"It's safe and comfortable," said Missouri resident Lexi Moore, 30, who ended a pregnancy in September with a prescription from Planned Parenthood. "You get to sit in the comfort of your home instead of doing it in a clinic or in a back alley. ... You will have cramps, like a heavy period. But it's worth it in the end, and you have control over that."
Moore had to drive 70 miles to pick up her prescription and, lacking insurance, paid $800 out of pocket. But she welcomed the outcome, and wrote thank-you cards to the clinic.
See! Everything is totally fine! We don't even know what you bitches are worrying about! Sure, the Georgia law is written in a way that suggests it may also be illegal to travel out of state to get abortion pills or to self-administer an abortion, but whatevs! And besides, it's not like that many of you are going to die anyway! Probably only under 200 of you a year! That's not too bad, is it?
Abortion-rights activists, at rallies supporting Roe v. Wade, often display images of coat hangers that were sometimes used in illegal abortions many decades ago.
However, warnings that large numbers of women would die from unsafe abortions if Roe were overturned don't reflect the fact that abortion-related deaths — which numbered as high as 2,700 in 1930 — fell to under 200 a year by the mid-1960s thanks to the development of antibiotics and other medical advances.
What? Are you gonna cry about maybe 200 people dying a year from a thing they should really not be dying from because it should be legal? You don't even know them, probably! People die from stuff all the time! What's one more thing?
And also, remember that you can get those pills from countries that the FDA says can't give you those pills anymore.
To the extent that women can get and use misoprostol to end pregnancies at home, women even in states with bans would have a relatively safe option. It's available only by prescription in the U.S. but is available online from some countries where it is sold over the counter.
Allow me to point out here, by the way, that you can't have a medical abortion after 10 weeks.
Crary and Johnson then take an example of reproductive rights activists trying to figure out how to ensure that all is not lost as a reason to not worry that much.
Among the leading advocates of this do-it-yourself option is attorney Jill E. Adams, executive director of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice. Amid the wave of abortion bans, she said her group's hotline has received a surge of calls from worried women.
"If the recent events have shown us anything, it's that self-managed abortion is vital to current and future reproductive rights in the United States," Adams said.
THAT IS NOT A GOOD THING. I mean, yes, it's good and we're all going to do our best to help as many people as we can, but the desperate measures we are all willing to take to do this are not a thing to be put forward as a reason for why things will be fine if Roe is overturned.
Additionally, as it seems many people do not know this, "self-managed abortions" are illegal in most states. Gallingly, David Crary actually knows this, because he wrote an entire article about it in 2016, citing several examples of people getting jail time for self-managed abortions.
So sure. This is something that we're going to have to figure out, but it is not a thing that will be safe or legal.
But wait, it gets worse! It actually gets worse! Because their next argument is that maybe people don't even want abortions anymore, because sonograms.
One crucial change since 1973 is the development of ultrasound technology. For many Americans, the first image they now see of a son, daughter or grandchild is often a sound wave scan of the fetus.
The images change minds about abortion, said Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Prolife Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
"Ultrasound opens the window on the womb," Harrison said. "That has changed since 1973. We couldn't see who was in there. Now we can."
WOW. Wow. Wow.
The fact that this bad take was even included here is horrifying on its own, but also it is not even true! As much as right-wingers want to believe that forcing someone to look at a sonogram will make them change their mind about having an abortion, it doesn't. Studies show that the viewing of a sonogram has absolutely no effect on those who are certain they want an abortion. Why? Because one of the primary side-effects of being able to get pregnant is thinking a whole lot about what you would do if you did end up getting pregnant!
But let us review, shall we? We're apparently supposed to calm our faces about Roe getting overturned for the following reasons:
1. Birth control exists (for now)
2. Not even THAT many people will die
3. There are, you know, illegal ways of obtaining an abortion
4. Maybe no one even wants abortions now anyway, because sonograms.
To which I say:
1. Fuck you
2. Fuck you
3. You're cool, but should not be necessary
4. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU.
The only reason things might not be so bad is because there are a whole lot of us who would be willing to break the law in order to help. There are a whole lot of us willing to donate travel money, to lend out our couches, to learn how to do menstrual extractions and more in order to prevent anyone from being forced to give birth. That's not right and it is certainly not a reason to be chill about Roe being overturned. That is fucked up. "You can always break the law" is not a good rationale for a bad law.
Those of us that are freaking out about this? We're the ones who are going to be out there doing what needs to be done whether it's legal or not. So please, do not tell us to slow our roll, please do not tell us to not cry until it hurts, please do not patiently try to explain to us that there is a good chance Roberts will either rule to preserve Roe or against taking on one of the abortion ban cases in the first place, and for the love of god, do not tell us it won't be that bad. It will be "that bad," and fuck you.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse