These bills against abortion are based in a mistrust of women. And we know that the people who will be impacted the most are poor women, women of color, women who are immigrants, and all of us who are marginalized.
I'm from Nashville, Tennessee, I grew up in Alabama, and I've seen some of the most extreme versions of these inequities. But there are also people who are not women who are put directly in harm’s way by this legislation.
I’m transgender. I pass as male, use the men's bathroom, and yet I still have a uterus. And I still need reproductive care. And so often for us, it can be incredibly difficult, if not downright dangerous, to access this care.
There are tens of thousands of trans people, including myself, who because of steps we have taken to transition don't even know if we are capable of becoming pregnant or not. There are trans men who can't access birth control, or pelvic exams, or abortions because clinics will refuse to treat them. We're less likely to have health insurance, more likely to live in poverty, and there are no federal laws protecting us from discrimination in housing and employment. Thus, we are one of the populations more likely to need an abortion at some point in our lives, because trans people can and do get pregnant.
In my struggles to obtain healthcare, Planned Parenthood has been the only provider where I know I will always be safe and respected. Whether I need birth control, hormone therapy, am worried about breast cancer, or if I ever need an abortion - to know that Planned Parenthood is there takes an incredible amount of weight off my shoulders.
I feel like a lot of people, without even realizing, can look at what's going on, especially in the South, and think, "Well yeah, that's horrible. But it's just backwards, old-fashioned religious extremism, it'll die out eventually." But the reality is this isn't an issue of religious conviction or any sort of moral high ground; those are justifications for the real issue.
This is a consequence of deep-rooted systems of sexism, racism, and class inequality.
These systems of oppression are present all over the country, and they will continue to fester unless we work to dismantle them. Because we know the state of Michigan doesn't care about the lives of children when there are still children here without clean water.
To reduce the need for abortion, we need to provide support and provide resources to women, mothers, children, and anyone else who can get pregnant. We need to make it so people don't have to choose between having enough money to survive and starting a family. We need to provide free health care, free child care, and free, high-quality education for every child born in this country.
When we fight issues like this, we need to work towards building communities based in compassion. We need communities where those with power and privilege support those who need help. Because for my friends and loved ones in the South who had unplanned pregnancies at age 16, 17, 18, 19, regardless of if they decided to seek an abortion or complete the pregnancy, those networks of community are what kept them safe and healthy.
So if you're disgusted by what's happening right now, reach out to the people around you who need support. If you have money to spare, donate it to the providers and grassroots organizations making it possible for people to access reproductive healthcare. Reflect on whatever power and privilege you may have, and use it to uplift the voices of those who are kept silent. That's how we reduce the need for abortion, not through criminalization. Because criminalization doesn't stop abortion. It just causes more pain and suffering for those who are already marginalized.
Hayden Troup, Michigan Student Power Network