People are talking about Texas and what will happen to their abortion clinics after the passage of HB2. Well, as a resident of Virginia, I can tell you that they will close.
In 2011, regulations passed through SB924 that targeted Virginia’s abortion clinics and those that existed were not grandfathered by the Virginia Board of Health as the other health facilities, that do not perform first trimester abortions, were. So far two clinics have closed and the regulations have only been in place for six weeks. A clinic in Norfolk primarily because it couldn’t afford to make the building code changes, and our busiest clinic closed because the city council of Fairfax County, through political maneuvering, wouldn’t let them find another place to move. (source)
When proponents of these laws state that they are in the best interest of women health, please understand that they are defining “the best interests of women health” as not receiving abortions at all.
No state with these TRAP laws has allocated money for the modifications they deem so necessary for women to receive “safer abortions.” No state created alternatives. No state has even coupled these bill with support for these babies once they are breathing babies or new mothers or birth control or any of the ways we know safely reduce abortion rates.
I struggle more and more to understand the pro-life rhetoric.
The idea that pregnancy is both a blessing and a curse for opening one’s legs in the first place. That baby is wonderful, you slut. How many of us wear our “sins” like scarlet letters yet demanding she wear it on her belly so we can wear ours on our lips all the while asking how can she not already love that baby? How could one ever consider an abortion when the alternative for her and her family is to be insulted, ignored and shunned by the very same people? What is an unwanted pregnancy?
The idea that God believes life begins at conception. That God taken sides and it’s okay to ignore verses of the Bible for other verses (in this case only!). To pretend the Bible was written in English. To pretend that abortions weren’t around in Jesus’ time.
The idea that a culture of life includes eight cells but does not include a man who has murdered another man. Or the woman carrying those eight cells. Or the child who won’t stop screaming at the restaurant. Or the teenager who shoots up his high school. As those cells live and breathe outside of the uterus, our desire to love and care and acknowledge their humanity as equal to our own is too hard. And how easily we forget that we called for people’s deaths and humiliations long before the legality of Roe v Wade.
The idea that providing health care for people goes unsupported. Because life begins at conception but prenatal care doesn’t? Because pregnancy and giving birth is no big deal? That it carries no undue burden, no threat to the health or safety of the mother over the course of nine months. Our abysmal maternal death rates are not even acknowledged. (source) Or are these penalties a woman must pay for having sex? Even if it was with her husband.
The idea that representatives make these laws who believe that rape and rape kits stop pregnancies. (source) Who force medically unnecessary ultrasounds overriding standard of care and the relationship between a woman and her doctor. Who talk about fetal heartbeats as though a heart is anything more than a muscle. Who make women wait days for an abortion as though their brains process decisions so slow but are sure 20-week-old fetal brains can process pain when the connections don’t even exist yet. (source) Who fund clinics and force teachers to say an abortion causes preterm births and breast cancer when it’s misrepresenting or ignoring the studies, respectively. (source and source) We legislate medicine and ignore science and safety because the desire for a specific outcome (no legal abortion) is more important than honest, proven ways to reduce abortions (birth control).
Abortion is not something I would wish upon anyone because no woman wants to be pregnant when she doesn’t want to be pregnant. But it is necessary to preserve the autonomy of the person who is living and breathing. That is true and, perhaps, unfortunate and pro-life, too.