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Friday, 25 January 2013

Roe v Wade - 40 Years Later

By: Liberate Zealot

It was the 40th Anniversary of Roe v Wade a couple of days ago, and I meant to write something then, but work and masters/internship applications got in the way.

There's a saying that Roe v Wade wasn't the start of abortions, but rather the end of women dying from unsafe and illegal abortions. However, that's not actually the case.  The financial and legal restrictions on abortion mean that illegal abortions continue, and people continue to die from them. At much smaller numbers than the 5,000 annually from before Roe v Wade, but one person who dies from their inability to access a safe and legal abortion is one person too many.

Between 1975 and 1979 a third of all women who died from illegal abortions did so because they couldn't access or afford legal abortions.  Other reasons included religious pressure to not get abortions and a need for secrecy.  The vast majority of these women were African American and Hispanic.

The current increasing restrictions around abortion have forced many people to look for other ways to terminate their pregnancies.  In Texas people are crossing the boarder to get abortion pills from Mexico.  Often the lack of information provided means this doesn't work.

And then there's the fact that many people are doing without the abortions they want and need.  As the TurnAway Study makes plain this can have disastrous consequences for the women and her children. Instead they're having another child, to tax their health, income, emotional well being, make employment harder, and increase their slide into systematic poverty. Women in abusive relationships are more likely to stay in them if they are denied an abortion.

As many of us know, and many more of us are learning, Roe v Wade is not enough to to protect people's right to a safe and affordable abortion.  And often it is people in poverty and people of color who are paying this price.

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