Every week, I am more and more appalled by anti-abortion legislation and actions. But rather than being paralyzed by the onslaught, I am motivated to bring about positive change where I can. I hope you are, too.
It has now been nine months since Roe was repealed. But the writing has been on the wall about the future of abortion for quite a while. Between 1973 and 2016, states enacted more than 1,074 abortion restrictions. Legislators introducing abortion restrictions were only emboldened by President Trump’s reshaping of the federal judiciary. The year 2021 was deemed the most hostile year for abortion rights, with more than 100 restrictions enacted in a single year.
Without Roe, things have only gotten more dire. In South Carolina, legislators have introduced a bill that would make having an abortion punishable by death. A woman there was recently arrested for allegedly using abortion pills in 2021. In Florida, lawmakers, over huge protests at the state Capitol, have introduced a six-week abortion ban. Outrageously, victims of rape or incest would only be able to get care up until the 15th week of pregnancy — and they would have to provide documentation that they were assaulted! These proposals are terrible news for reproductive access in the Deep South, where abortion is banned now except for South Carolina. And while Florida is not technically considered part of the Deep South, it sure acts like one of those states!
In other news, Tennessee’s attorney general is flouting the Food and Drug Administration’s decision that abortion medication can be dispensed by major retailers. In a letter to Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid, Jonathan Skrmetti warned pharmacies not to distribute abortion medication. In Ohio, anti-abortion groups have attempted to thwart democracy and prevent a pro-choice ballot measure. And a hospital in Idaho has decided to stop delivering babiesor providing obstetrical care because of physician fears of prosecution. This means that women will have to travel at least 45 miles to get to the nearest hospital that provides those services.
These are blatant attacks on sexual and reproductive health care that impact millions of people. And there is absolutely no scientific or evidence-based reason for banning or restricting abortion. Rather, research has shown that restricting abortion access has negative health implications. A recent study found that banning abortion in the United States would lead to a 21 percent increase in pregnancy-related deaths. Furthermore, the American Medical Association has declared that abortion bans are a human rights violation.
The only organized opposition to abortion is religious in nature. To put a finer point on it, Christian nationalists are overwhelmingly leading the effort to ban abortion throughout the country. Never mind that the bible does not mention abortion at all, Christian extremists are determined to impose their worldview on a secular nation.
In Wisconsin, an important election impacting abortion will take place Tuesday, April 4. If you live in the Badger State, have you made a plan to vote? Have you researched the candidates on your ballot? Have you messaged at least three people and encouraged them to vote? If not, now is the time to do just that! Learn more here.
No matter which state you live in, I encourage you to donate to an abortion fund. This will help cover the cost of abortion for people who cannot afford it. The Women’s Medical Fund of Wisconsin, which was established by FFRF’s co-founder Anne Nicol Gaylor, is currently raising $100,000 to fund abortion care for at least 300 people. You can make a tax-deductible donation or form a fundraising team here.
The separation of state and church is crucial to a functioning democracy. That is dependent on our activism and voice. I hope that you join me.