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DIANE KNOX: Our Invernessian in America argues that moves in the United States to change abortion laws could be very dangerous

By Diane Knox

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I’ll be honest, I’ve gone back and forth on covering this topic a lot over the past week. I’m sure the reasons why will become clear, but as I sit down to put my notes together, I just can’t NOT write about it.

As a woman living in the United States, I’ve been emotionally triggered by news here over the last few weeks and keeping quiet on such an uncomfortable topic serves zero purpose.

Draft government documents suggesting that Roe V Wade, a landmark decision that legalised abortion across the country in 1973, would be overturned were leaked at the start of the month. The Supreme Court has since confirmed the authenticity of the documents, stressing that it was a draft and not the finalised legislation.

It’s 2022 and women are being told what they can and cannot legally do with their bodies?

I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of Vice President Kamala Harris, but I have respect for her position of power and the voice she has. And, as she so rightly put it, “women’s rights in America are under attack”. Harris has made her stance on this clear for many years, and a viral video from 2018 has resurfaced that is now more relevant than ever.

She asked Brett Michael Kavanaugh, who at the time was a nominee for associate justice of the Supreme Court, if he could “think of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body?”, to which he gave a mumbled, dismissive response before admitting he “couldn’t think of any”.

In a time where gender equality is “apparently” at the forefront of conversations, with steps being taken in the right direction to “close the gap”, isn’t this the biggest back-step of all time?

Pro-choice Planned Parenthood demonstration holding a sign
Pro-choice Planned Parenthood demonstration holding a sign

Women fall pregnant under a variety of circumstances. Some women want to be mothers; some women do not. And that’s fine, it’s a choice we are entitled to make.

In the US, healthcare is not free. Health insurance is also very expensive. Therefore, literally having a child can put a huge amount of financial stress on a woman, or a couple. There’s also no free childcare, or government-issued maternity pay. Those that want, and have, babies have to make it work, and they make it work because that’s what they want to do.

Abortion is a taboo word. It’s marred with sadness, grief, pain, shame and judgment. But for some women, the emotion is removed, and the way you choose to view it is entirely up to you. If you don’t approve of abortion, you can advocate for better sex education, or easier access to both male and female birth control methods. But the choice shouldn’t be taken away from women.

We are all entitled to our own opinions, emotions and the responsibilities of our actions, and we have to respect other people’s rights. That includes the right to safe, legal abortions. Removing that right seems to me to be a very dangerous move.

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