It’s been a challenging and dark week since the Supreme Court in the United States overturned the decision in Roe v Wade, which protects one’s freedom to choose to have an abortion. This landmark case was important, as it provided legal and safe access to abortion in the US.
It’s tough to watch videos on social media of people celebrating such a huge loss for freedom. Some have even spoken up to call this a “victory for life”, when this so-called victory does more harm than good. This doesn’t mean that abortions won’t happen – it just means that safe ones won’t in the majority of states.
Reproductive health issues will spill into other (unreasonably) politicized issues, from same sex marriage to access to contraceptives.
It’s easy to advocate for an entity that has no opinion and no feeling, such as a fetus. It seems to be more difficult, however, to protect the autonomy of beings that are in the here and now.
Thinking back, I remember how great of an issue bodily autonomy was during the Covid-19 debates on whether or not vaccines needed to be mandated. The juxtaposition between the freedom convoy protests for being “forced” to wear a mask and “forced” to take a vaccine with being forced to bear a child is almost cinematic. Or more critically – to protect the life of a fetus, versus protecting the lives of children who simply attend school, with the ever-present risk of a school shooting.
Abortions are not seen as an autonomous decision between doctor and patient, but a vaccine that could ease a global pandemic is seen as an autonomous decision between doctor and patient.
Reproductive rights are more regulated than the right to own and carry a gun.
You can’t make this
At what point does one consider that such an issue has far more to do with policing the female body than it does with “saving children’s’ lives”. Such a decision only denied access to abortion, it did not, for example, make it a necessity for states to provide childcare and support for those who are forced to bear a child.
In Canada, abortion is seen and regulated as a medical procedure. Still, it’s worth noting that many people in Canada are pro-life and while they are not the majority, they are a very vocal minority whose opinions appear to carry more weight in some circles than they should.
This is just one millennial, female student-at-law’s outrage at recent events.
Meriam Noori, LLB