In a step women saw coming the moment the ‘Defund Planned Parenthood’ train started rolling through our government, Ohio recently passed an abortion law preventing abortions being done in the second trimester.
Ohio Governor Josh Kasich has signed 20 abortion-limiting proposals into law. These laws have very minimal exceptions. In Kasich’s case, minimal means one. A woman in her second trimester in Ohio can only have an abortion if her life is proven to be at risk due to the pregnancy.
Typically, cases of rape or incest would also be causes for leniency. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. In addition, a provider who performs an abortion in the second trimester could face fourth-degree felony charges. Including prison time and fines.
While abortion is at an all-time low in the United States, these restrictive laws severely impact women on a new level. Many communities were already underserved when it came to clinics willing to do abortions. Throw that on top of any socioeconomic differences and the availability of abortions is less than fair.
In Roe v. Wade, the ruling stated that a woman had full authority over her pregnancy in the first trimester. After the first trimester it is up to each state to decide what, if any, abortions are done.
As much as we celebrate the decision of Roe v. Wade, it focused more on the privacy of the doctor rather than the woman seeking out the procedure. I know this ruling was monumental because it finally allowed women living in states that banned abortions entirely to receive one if they chose to. However, even then the ruling didn’t place much importance on the woman herself.
On the surface, Ohio’s law may not seem like a big blow to reproductive rights. Especially when we consider that 89% of all abortions occur during the first trimester of pregnancy. Ohio’s new law prohibits it within the second trimester which in 2015, 8% of abortions took place in the second trimester.
The issues lie, and has always lied, within body ownership. The government is deciding when and if a woman can have an abortion. The government and primarily white men behind these laws have no business policing the uteruses of women they don’t even know.
If they are going to make it more difficult for women to receive abortions, are they then going to support these children?
Many women seeking abortions are either unprepared to be a mother or are financially unstable themselves. By forcing these women to give birth to these children instead of providing options for safely terminating pregnancies, these children are forced into a less than ideal situation.
Society says that a woman should know what happens when they have unprotected sex, and I agree. However, that is not a reason to prohibit abortions. If we go back to prohibiting abortions entirely, women will find ways as they did in the past. We all know back alley abortions are a possibility and are extremely un-safe.
With Ohio’s new law being passed, I fear that we are going backwards in time and will one day be left with only horrific options. Their law only provides other states with a guideline on how to limit a woman’s choice when it comes to her body.
This has got to stop.
Women of all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic status’ deserve the right to decide what they do with their body. The government never should have been given the right to stop that. Together, we can fight for all our sisters in hopes that we’ll one day be able to choose what happens within our bodies.
Cover image courtesy of Feministing
Also published on Medium.