In case it passed you by, yesterday was the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. You know, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that established women’s legal rights to abortion.
Almost half a century on and, depressingly, it feels as relevant today as it did in 1973. While the majority of Americans are in favor of the ruling, women’s reproductive rights are still under attack. Here are just a few of the ways:
In 2016, the US elected a pro-life administration who are doing their darndest to limit federal funding to organizations offering pregnancy termination. The vice-president has openly stated that abortion could end “in our time”, while states including Texas and Mississippi are attempting to pass laws restricting a woman’s access to abortion services. Even the House tried to pass a bill that would have diminished a woman’s right to an abortion – and used fake science as justification.
Across the Atlantic, in Ireland, the “Repeal the 8th” campaign may have been successful, but women are still reportedly being refused abortions. Meanwhile, north of the border, women’s rights activists have resorted to using Wall-E like robots to smuggle abortion pills into Northern Ireland, where it is still illegal. This is true even in cases of fatal fetal abnormality, rape, and incest.
But at least in New York, legislators are doing their best to protect women’s reproductive rights, and to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) was signed into law. Before yesterday, the city’s abortion statute allowed abortion at any time during pregnancy provided the woman’s life was at risk. The new act extends that right to cases of fetal non-viability or when the woman’s health is under threat.
Not everyone is happy about the situation. Anti-abortionists (or pro-lifers, if you prefer) are calling the practice “inhumane” – and so Californian gynecologist Jennifer Gunter has stepped in to get the facts straight.
Gunter, for the record, has been practicing obstetrics and gynecology since the 1990s. She also writes about sex, science, and social media. (For more of her musings, you can click here.) But more to the point, she has had a lot of experience performing late-term abortions (aka abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy).
Tweeting to her 114K followers, Gunter says she lives and works in a state with no gestational age limit but adds that she has never performed a late-term abortion for a reason that is not health-related.
As she points out on her website, the women having late-term abortions are not “ladies who just forgot their 8-week abortion who are now struggling to fit into their pants.”
In fact, other than one case (which involved rape and incest, by the way), she cannot name one single time where there wasn’t a health issue.
She then lists some real-life examples of when a late-term abortion has been medically necessary.
(Anencephaly is a severe fetal defect, which involves the baby being born without parts of the skull and brain.)
She goes on to say that if you aren’t an expert, you have no credibility to discuss the procedure.
And even a doctor who describes herself as “pro-life” is on board.
For the full thread, click here.
[H/T: Bored Panda]