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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Aborting women’s rights: The ongoing fight for reproductive freedom

March is Women’s History Month, and there is one thing to celebrate in combating the recent attacks on women’s reproductive rights. On Feb. 21, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, along with 20 other governors from across the U.S., announced a new project called Reproductive Freedom Alliance. The new, non-partisan and biggest coalition of its kind will fight for reproductive freedom. Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022, 13 states have banned abortions. Most of those states give no exception to rape or incest. Ignoring the fact that every woman or girl shouldn’t have to bring an unwanted pregnancy to term, it is absolutely abhorrent to force a person to carry the child of their rapist or their relative, which was probably the result of rape in the first place. 

Think of your 13-year-old self, or sister, or friend, carrying a child because you or they were a victim of rape and/or incest. A teenager can barely keep up with their math homework, let alone deal with carrying a fetus to term, all while bearing the scrutiny that comes with the stigma of being a pregnant child. The fact is that abortions have been around since the dawn of humanity, they just haven’t been as safe or regulated until modernity. Abortion wasn’t even outlawed in the U.S. until the mid-19th century. Before then, it was commonplace to have an abortion, and newspapers even printed at-home remedies. Midwives and nurses, who were not licensed physicians but were skilled in obstetrics, often performed at-home abortions. I am proud to be a descendant of one such woman, my great-grandmother Mary, who offered abortion services to low-income communities just like hers.

The hard truth about the backlash against abortion is that it is being used as a device to keep women and people with wombs from attaining positions of power. It’s no coincidence that abortion became outlawed right as the women’s suffrage movement began gaining momentum. If a woman is forced to bear a child, it keeps her out of the workforce where she can claim her independence, where she can thrive and where she can affect change. 

As women have won the right to vote, the right to own land and the right to an education, we have been more career-focused and have birthed fewer children than our grandmothers. My mother was one of seven kids. I’m only one of two, and I don’t want children of my own. This is the desire for many of my friends as well. Women were once taught that their only value in life was to support their husbands and procreate. Our right to have safe and legal abortions can be our protest against this archaic, outdated vision of the nuclear family. And let’s face it, if we start having fewer children, that will directly impact the economic sustainability of our country. Less people means less consumers to buy things they don’t need. So, who does a declining population really hurt? Capitalists. How have capitalists ensured abortion will not be favored by the majority of Americans? By making it a religious issue in the eyes of the general public.

The separation of church and state is shrinking as Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals take office. The U.S. was founded on the principle of keeping religion out of legislation. The belief that human life begins at conception is argued by scientists. No one can agree, so to force someone who doesn’t believe that human life begins at conception to carry a fetus to term is forcing that belief onto them. 

There is one controversial non-Christian religious group out there protecting the right to an abortion, The Satanic Temple. On Feb. 1, The Satanic Temple introduced its newly formed TST Health and the Samuel Alito’s Mom’s Satanic Abortion Clinic, the first modern religious abortion clinic in the world to date. The Satanic Temple has been fighting the merging of church and state since 2018 with their campaign to remove the Ten Commandments from the grounds of the Arkansas state capitol.

Our founding fathers were clear about keeping religion separate from government when they wrote: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” So, to make every American subject to a law that was built on the grounds of religion is fundamentally unconstitutional.

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