I Live in the First US State to Ban Abortion
Earlier today, the United States Supreme Court made a ruling that effectively overturns Roe v. Wade. That means that abortion is no longer protected by the United States Constitution. Now it falls to state law to determine when and if abortions are legal.
My home state, Missouri, was one of 27 states that had trigger laws in place. That means they had passed something that would only go into effect when and if the precedent set in Roe v. Wade was overturned.
Our Missouri Attorney General, who I imagine had some sort of bet in place with his counterparts in states such as Texas and Oklahoma, raced to enact the trigger law that makes abortions illegal in Missouri.
As of today, in Missouri, any abortion is illegal, regardless of how far along the pregnancy is. The only exception allowed is for a medical emergency. I fear for the first few pregnant people and doctors who have to defend that one in court.
So what does it feel like to be a person with a uterus in Missouri today? Well, my experience is that I am facing a potent mixture of swirling emotions, none of them positive. I am angry. I am sad. I am scared.
I am unlikely to become pregnant. I’ve been diagnosed as infertile. The probability is quite low that I will ever conceive. But if it does somehow happen, I’m high risk of complications such as ectopic pregnancy. Risks that could threaten my life. And now in addition to the normal fears of a life-threatening situation, I’ll have to worry about if the doctor will want to provide the best treatment despite possible legal ramifications for themself.
I require birth control to manage chronic health issues. The trigger law already jeopardizes some forms of birth control here in Missouri. The Supreme Court decision also opens the door to further legislative action to limit the forms of birth control available to those who need it, or even to attempt to outlaw it completely.
While I have fear for all the what-ifs that my medical future could bring after this dramatic change in my state and country’s law, I am also deeply aware of my privilege and the benefits it affords me. I am white and while I wouldn’t call myself wealthy, I do have a better economic situation than many people do. I have a career that affords me the option to move to a state whose laws feel safer for me. There are a number of barriers that others have always faced and will face that I will get to skip. So my emotions are not just for me. I am worried about my neighbors. My friends.
Today is hard. I’m mad as hell.