A guest post by Gwen Emmons.
One of the most common questions reproductive justice activists get is why we focus on choice in a time where so many other pressing issues – jobs, poverty, healthcare reform – have yet to be solved.
My answer is simple: they’re all connected. And on the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I think it’s more crucial than ever to reflect on how reproductive autonomy fits in to the bigger question of realizing the American dream.
The ability to determine the timing and spacing of one’s pregnancies (or whether to be pregnant at all) contributes to your ability to enjoy economic security. Unplanned pregnancies can, unfortunately, be costly (particularly if you are un- or under-insured) and can impact your ability to work in some cases. Having the ability to control your reproduction is crucial to controlling your economic destiny.
Access to safe abortion care, contraception, Plan B, medically accurate sex ed, and affordable gynecological screenings and childcare services are at the base of the pyramid that makes up that American dream. Lose Roe – or any of these other pieces – and we risk toppling that pyramid. Unfortunately, for too many women and men, that’s already happening. And it’s shameful.
The flip side of this is that instead of fixing things like poverty, the economy, or our healthcare system, legislators in Pennsylvania and across the country have focused their efforts on chipping away at choice. Spoiler alert: restricting access to Plan B doesn’t create jobs. Draconian restrictions on abortion services won’t fix our economy.
So as we celebrate 39 years of access to safe, legal abortion, let’s reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that reproductive rights – and the American dream – remain attainable to everyone.