In only a few short days, everything has changed. In January of 2017, Donald Trump was put into office as the President of the United States of America. Though he’s been in office for only a short period of time, he’s already made good on actions he promised to enact when in office. Plans to begin funding for the proposed wall between America and Mexico have already commenced, as well as a Muslim registry. And, likewise, funding towards abortion has been cut.
While abortion is still technically legal in the US, much speculation is being made should it eventually be outlawed. Here’s five major concerns the pro-choice community have should abortion be banned.
1. Less health care facilities for women would be available
This isn’t a reason people immediately think of, as Planned Parenthood is often immediately associated with abortion. Planned Parenthood has often been attacked by Trump supporters due to this very stigma, and President Trump himself has often threatened the service during his presidential campaign. Nevertheless, it is a leading source of health care services and information in America. According to the Planned Parenthood website, “2.5 million women and men in the United States annually visit Planned Parenthood affiliate health centers for trusted health care services and information. Planned Parenthood provides more than 270,000 Pap tests and more than 360,000 breast exams in a single year, critical services in detecting cancer. Planned Parenthood provides more than 4.2 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including more than 650,000 HIV tests.”
Only three percent of all Planned Parenthood facilities offer abortion. Should Planned Parenthood fall, simply for offering the abortion option, much more than abortion would be lost.
2. Abortion would go underground
Let’s be clear here: just because the option to a legal abortion would no longer be available doesn’t mean that abortion will be done away with completely! It just means that more and more women will seek out dangerous and potentially deadly unsafe methods of abortion. According to The Daily Kos, in El Salvador, a country where abortion is banned, 11% of women who pursued unsafe abortions died. In the United States, 1 out of every 200,000 women die from abortion; 50,000 deaths per year. And that statistic is influenced by the option to a legal abortion! Should abortion be banned, the percentage is (unfortunately) expected to skyrocket exponentially by speculators.
3. Infant and female mortality rate would rise
As hinted by the previously stated prediction, this prediction isn’t just affected by the rise in unsafe abortions. According to The Daily Kos, in El Salvador, 57% of deaths during pregnancy are caused by suicide. That, and the fact that women who are unable to seek legal abortions are often unwilling to seek medical assistance during their pregnancies.
Studies also show that women who are unable to receive an abortion are often more likely to stay in an abusive relationship, thus subjecting themselves and their children to domestic violence. It’s stated that 1 in 6 women are victims of abuse during pregnancy, and homicide is the leading cause of death among pregnant women.
4. Teen pregnancy would become more and more common
This one speaks for itself, doesn’t it?
In El Salvador, the age range of women who seek abortions are between age 10 and age 19—they’re all practically teenagers. The United States of America follows a similar trend—women who are seeking abortions are often under-aged young women, and are often done in private. For it isn’t just fueled by a poor use of contraception; many of these young women who seek abortions are victims of rape and sexual abuse.
However, if abortion was no longer an option, more and more teenage mothers would be seen in the American public (those who decide not to go underground, that is) thus boasting that negative stigma, as well.
5. Women would be under severe scrutiny
In America, this threat isn’t as immediately obvious. However, follow the different trends from around the world and one will quickly catch on to this shocking reality.
Should abortion be found illegal, a woman found to have illegally terminated her pregnancy would be subject to charges of murder, namely “infanticide”. The consequences in America aren’t exactly clear; however, according to The American Prospect, in El Salvador, women who are found guilty of having an abortion face two to eight years in prison. Medical staff
, and any other outside parties who are found assisting with the abortion can face between two to twelve years in prison as well.
The prospect of facing such a punishment alone is frightening, but the reality of such punishments is grim.
How likely is this reality?
In order for this extreme to occur, the ruling on the court case Roe v. Wade would have to be overturned, as this court case set the stage to making abortion legal in the first place. In an interview with Business Insider, Stephanie Toti, the lead attorney on the Whole Woman’s Health case and a senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, stated that she doubts the court case is in “any immediate jeopardy”, as the majority of American citizens are pro-choice. As released by Business Insider, Pew Research surveys show that 59% of American adults support legal abortion in general and 69% of the Supreme Court wish to uphold Roe—these numbers were found to have increased over time.
What would happen if Roe was overturned?
Business Insider says this on the subject: “The short answer: Abortion rights would be up to the states.”
Which isn’t exactly a bad thing, per se. Of course, women who want to pursue abortion would have a much harder time of it (legally, at least) but it wouldn’t be impossible. As reported by Business Insider, thirteen states have written laws completely banning abortion, so the practice could not be rendered in those locations. And though it’s shown that many other states may pass trigger laws to follow suit, many states do have the option legal and readily available. Just like Trump stated in his first presidential interview
, (as recanted by Business Insider) women in the pro-life states would “have to go to another state” to have the procedure done.
With the subject in such a precarious situation at the moment, people on the pro-choice and pro-life sides are both fighting hard.
It was recently announced that Vice President Mike Pence took the spotlight at the anti-abortion March for Life; USA Today called him a “beacon of hope”.
In an interview with Rewire, Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said, “Unfortunately for Republicans, banning abortion nationwide, which this bill effectively would do, is unconstitutional thanks to Roe v. Wade…The bill also exposes Republicans’ clear lack of understanding of science and how the human body actually works.”
All that’s left now is to wait and see, and that’s all what most Americans can do right now. The presidency of Donald Trump has only just begun, and the majority of Americans agree that the next four (or even eight) years are going to be ones filled with change. Good or bad, only time can tell.