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In the U.S., the dispute over a woman’s right to abortion has been overturned in recent history. Many states immediately put into effect pre-ban laws against abortion, with most punishments resulting in a harsher sentence than current laws against sexual assault, which many argue is a “war on women.”
In Chicago, citizens still have the right to safe and secure abortions, despite the overturning of Roe v. Wade. After the results of Roe v. Wade were publicized, J.B. Pritzker clarified his stance on the importance of this decision during a press conference.
“As long as I am [the] governor of Illinois,” he continued, “and as long as we have a pro-choice legislature, abortion will be legal in this state.”
To protect Chicago’s youth, the Parental Notification Act was also repealed before the legality of banning abortions in other states. This decision to repeal an act that made it unable for minors to receive abortions without parental approval was to “protect the most vulnerable youth – such as victims of rape, incest, and domestic abuse – from being compelled to notify their abusers.”
But despite this call to fight for women’s rights, Illinois may not always be a pro-choice state if the wrong people are elected into office.
Other states base their abortion laws on recent events and use the argument of “personhood” against those supporting abortions. For example, Texas state law recently misused the term personhood regarding recognizing fetuses at conception as an identifiable life.
For many women, conceiving and carrying a child is the most intimate thing a person does. Yet, despite U.S. advancements in medicine and technology, it has the highest maternal mortality rate. However, many people banning abortions before the 24th week do not make up more than half of the demographic of women affected by an unwanted pregnancy.
Of those that voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, only one of the Supreme Court members was a white woman. For those that do not know, the U.S. Supreme Court justices do not have a term limit like the nation’s presidents.
Seeing the change in other cities swiftly after the passing of abortion bans, Chicago reinforced its stance through Mayor Lori Lightfoot officially signing an executive order that the city will not enforce anti-abortion prohibitions in other states. It addresses those that travel to Chicago to terminate their pregnancy from other states without legal abortion.
Women in the U.S. have significantly more trouble paying for medical care than women outside the country. Of the women between the ages of 18 to 49, half reported having difficulty paying for healthcare. It would stand to reason that many of them would find it hard to care for a child in the future with the additional financial responsibility of child-rearing.
The U.S. does not have the proper safety net to possibly reach out to every young woman found in a dire situation with a child on the way. People suffering from the lack of money and food during the pandemic made this abundantly clear.
Author Angela Garbes surmises a mother’s undervalued stress stems from more than just struggling to care for her child — caring for herself.
“I really felt like I was watching the pleasure and the color drain from my life,” she said. “I felt like someone who was ‘just a caregiver.’ And while I knew that was valuable work, I had to confront that wasn’t enough for me.”
Although she could afford to send her daughter to daycare, she, like many others, was forced to homeschool her child during the COVID-19 lockdown. With daycare canceled, Garbes had to drop working on her personal project to pick up the slack and adequately care for her child, which was made more stressful due to the U.S. lacking subsidized daycare or paid parental leave. Often the country expects parents to financially and socially care for their children and, to some extent, future citizens despite external circumstances.
In Garbes’ words, children can not be raised within the isolation of only those related to them; it is a social responsibility to care for children if the government wants to enforce the concept of a fetus as a citizen.
“They need adults who are not related to them, who have a certain patience and bring something different to their life,” Garbes stated. “We were not meant to raise children in isolation.”
Written by Brielle R. Buford
Edited by Sheena Robertson
CNN: Study of wealthy nations finds American women most likely to of preventable causes, pregnancy complications
NPR: Raising kids is ‘Essential Labor.’ It’s also lonely, exhausting and expensive
Newsweek: What Are the Penalties for Abortion, Rape in Texas Amid Claims They Are Similar
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Jon Chiang‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of mliu92‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License