Last week in Ohio, a judge temporarily blocked the state’s law banning abortions after six weeks.
This is the same state in which a 10-year-old rape victim traveled to Indiana to receive an abortion, after being denied one in her home state. Now, hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Ohio, for months on end, fighting for women’s right to abortion.
Now, in Indiana, there is a near-total abortion ban. Abortion is not allowed at any stage during pregnancy, with an exception for rape and incest before 10 weeks and an exception for lethal fetal anomalies before 20 weeks.
A few weeks ago, a Louisiana woman traveled out of state to receive an abortion after finding out her fetus has acrania — a disease that usually ends in a stillbirth. Currently Louisiana bans abortions after conception, with exceptions for lethal fetal anomaly and health or life endangerment. Despite this, the doctors denied the woman an abortion for fear of facing jail time or losing their medical license.
My friends and I have talked recently about how we would never move to a red state now, fearful for our reproductive rights. Yet when I think more about that sentiment, I realize how those same women in the states that now criminalize abortions could have thought the same things while Roe v. Wade allowed abortion to stand as a constitutional right. What differentiates me versus them? Who is to say the security we have in Connecticut is as impermeable as we expect it to be?
Now my fear is complacency. Now my fear is assuming that the way things are is how things will be forever. As of right now in Connecticut, abortions are prohibited at fetal viability. There are exceptions in the case of health or life endangerment, but not in the case of a lethal fetal anomaly. Despite Connecticut protecting people with wombs now, there is no written promise that this is how it will be forever. The fight is continual, and every day we ask how we can further the movement, even if only by a little bit.
This is a fight to not only help people gain affordable access to abortions in other states; it is a fight to maintain our reproductive rights everywhere. Even in Connecticut we need to put grit and muscle behind the politicians who promise to protect our rights to abortions. We need to support pre-existing mutual aid networks, where there is direct communication between the funds raised within the community and the people in need.
The legal landscape is changing. It is a mutable thing that ebbs and flows with the words of those who are in power. Who do we look to in these times? Where do we focus our individual effort and power?
I am not writing this to be some source of inspiration. I am not here with the attempt to inspire anyone to be a hero. I do not think we need heroes in this. We need people who are willing to be supportive community members. Who are willing to house people seeking abortions, offer transportation to clinics and to do what we can to support the grassroot organizations that have already existed for years. This is not the fight of one against the other, it is the fight of many against the people in power.