Rowland: Abortion is necessary healthcare, and states need to stop restricting it


William Murphy from Dublin, Ireland / CC BY-SA

Many states have taken measures to close down abortion clinics during quarantine.

Gracie Rowland, Staff Writer

Many anti-abortion states have been utilizing this pandemic to create a healthcare epidemic of their own: restricting abortion access by labeling the procedure as “not medically necessary,” “elective” and “non-urgent healthcare.”

Many states have already issued orders placing restrictions on abortion, including Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. Many federal courts are attempting to block these unconstitutional orders but without much success.

Other states, such as our home state of Mississippi, have attempted to halt abortions during the pandemic, but have yet to succeed in doing so. Governor Tate Reeves of Mississippi vowed to “protect not only the lives of unborn children but also the lives of anyone who may contract this particular virus.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has called abortion “time-sensitive” and an “essential component of comprehensive health care.” Whether or not state officials support the ethics of abortion is irrelevant; pregnancy completely alters a woman’s physiology and is classified as a medical condition in need of healthcare. Therefore, abortion should be considered essential healthcare. The reason for abortions can vary from ectopic pregnancies, rape, pregnancy-induced psychosis or suicidal depression, parental inadequacy or a lack of financial or emotional stability for carrying a child to term.

The autonomy and sentience of the woman should always hold precedence, as her life holds more value than the potential sentience and autonomy of the fetus. A state official’s personal feelings regarding this necessary medical procedure should not be allowed to come into play during any circumstance. Allowing it to infringes upon another person’s bodily autonomy and engages in reproductive coercion.

These state officials are abusing their power to further their own political agenda and personal beliefs as well as putting countless American citizens at risk of death. Their actions will take more lives than it saves, as banning abortion doesn’t stop abortion, it merely stops safe abortions.

Unsafe, at-home or illegal abortions will still continue, harming countless women along the way. Banning abortions won’t stop women in need of one from utilizing coat hangers, physical womb trauma, abortifacients and toxic herbs to remove their unwanted fetuses. 25 percent of all pregnancies end in abortion. The question is, will the mother be given the necessary healthcare to ensure her safety, or will she be forced to harm herself?

Botched abortions are estimated to cause about 8 to 11 percent of all maternal deaths in places where abortion is illegal. As grim as they are, they don’t even paint the full picture, as “Abortion statistics are therefore notoriously incomplete, and it is recognized that in countries where induced abortion is restricted or illegal, its magnitude can only be estimated indirectly and with great difficulty.”

Even if an at-home abortion does not end with the death of the mother, it will almost certainly end with medical complications. Infertility, hemorrhage, infection, uterine perforation and damage to internal organs are all common symptoms of at-home abortions. Whether or not a person supports abortion, the safety of the mother has to be the first priority.

Romania provides a real-life case scenario of what happens when abortion is outlawed. During the 23 years it was banned, approximately 10,000 women died from illegal abortions, and maternal mortality doubled. When communism crumbled in 1989, thus overturning previous laws, over 170,000 children were being warehoused in filthy orphanages. It has been documented that the majority of those children now suffer from extreme mental and or physical health problems, including reduced brain size, schizoaffective disorder and sociopathy. You can read more about their stories here.

The death toll of children who died in Romania because of the abortion outlaw is still unknown. If their mothers had access to the necessary healthcare, those fully sentient and autonomous children would not have been brought into a world of hunger, neglect, poverty and eventual death. Romania’s example of the fatal consequences of restricting or outlawing abortion should illustrate that the same would happen in our own beloved country.

The actions of these state officials completely defy Supreme Court precedent and Roe vs. Wade, as states currently cannot outright ban abortions altogether. Seeing as there is no pandemic clause, their actions can be classified as direct defiance of the laws of the country they claim to respect.

Reproductive rights should not be subject to the personal, political or religious beliefs of state officials. This issue is not one based on the morality of abortion, but the treason of hurting one’s country. By classifying a medically deemed necessary procedure as unnecessary, these state leaders are breaking the values of freedom and democracy that they claim to stand on. Abortion is necessary healthcare, and it needs to remain available to the American public.