Speak Now: Reproductive health care is a right

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With the election looming closer and the recent nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, something that I’ve seen a lot in the news is the idea that this could be devastating for abortion rights and reproductive health care rights in general.  

This is a terrifying possibility. Coupled with President Donald Trump’s letter from Sept. 3 in which he stated that if reelected, he plans to ensure the defunding of Planned Parenthood, it is clear that reproductive health care rights are in jeopardy. 

Although Trump cannot directly defund organizations that provide abortions, such as Planned Parenthood, there are other measures he can take. In 2019, the Trump administration changed Title X qualifications, ensuring that health care providers that performed abortions would not be funded. In response, Planned Parenthood left the Title X family planning program

Reproductive health care rights are in danger. Often, they are overlooked as an essential part of health care. This should not be the case; everyone needs proper access to reproductive health care in order to lead healthy lives. And yes, this includes access to abortions. 

People with a uterus should be able to control what happens to their bodies, and limiting this through the nomination of someone like Barrett and promising to defund organizations like Planned Parenthood will be extremely detrimental. 

It is important to note that Planned Parenthood does not only provide abortion services. Defunding Planned Parenthood would deny numerous people access to STD tests and treatment, pregnancy testing and services, general health check-ups and many other services. Before running in with pitchforks and torches, people need to understand just what exactly they are threatening to defund. Clearly defunding Planned Parenthood would limit access to abortions, but it would also restrict access to many other services. 

If people do not have proper access to reproductive health care, namely abortions, they may seek unsafe options. These abortions are often unsanitary—they do not always remove all of the tissue and can cause septic shock. An easy way to limit these types of abortions would be to ensure medical practices such as Planned Parenthood can remain open and funded. In addition to unsafe abortions, if Planned Parenthood is defunded, many people will not have access to basic health care. 

Even if Planned Parenthood is not defunded, the threat of Barrett serving on the U.S. Supreme Court is another problem. Previously in Indiana, she voted in favor of hearing arguments that could possibly overturn a lower court decision that blocked abortion limitations. Even if the court case Roe v. Wade isn’t completely overturned, it could potentially be limited if more rights are given back to states. 

These possibilities are terrifying. Access to abortions should not be something this contested. Regardless of the reason, people with a uterus should be able to have the option of having an abortion. Otherwise, the effects of having a child the parent never wanted may be significant, and could potentially affect both the parent’s and child’s mental and physical health. 

The people who oppose abortions claim they are “pro-life.” If they were really, truly “pro-life,” they would not want to harm the prospective parent or the child in any way. Instead, they are focusing not on preserving life, but on preventing a person with a uterus from having the ability to choose what happens to their body. 

Something that we as individual people can do in order to ensure that organizations like Planned Parenthood are not defunded and that court decisions regarding abortions do not change is to vote come November. If Trump is reelected, there is no telling how much these services could possibly be restricted. 

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