A Crux and a Lie
God I love the feeling of gratification that sweeps through my body when I witness Republican, middle-aged men agreeing with my rebuttal, there aren't too many other moments in life that give me that particular feeling of joy. With a glass of red wine in hand at a corporate happy hour on a Friday after work, I found myself nestled into a conversation with a couple of my older, male colleagues who have made a name for themselves working in land development and finance. The conversation had turned quickly to politics and my heart skipped a beat with happiness - oh, how I do love these conversations. Seconds into it, my colleague standing on my right announced his thankfulness as it appears that the Supreme Court is becoming more conservatively taken. I asked him why he feels that the Supreme Court should be conservative and his answer was so that the 'idiot liberals' can't change the country's Constitution. As much as I wanted to feel bewilderment by his statement, I understood completely as to where this opinion of his had formulated - conservative propaganda - that's clear. I had been waiting for a moment like this for a while so I said my thoughts.
"Well, I'd love to hear how you think liberals are trying to change the Constitution but before that, this is my rebuttal; something that I've noticed most conservative people don't think about." I said.
I had both mens attention - I could feel that they genuinely wanted the answer that I was about to provide so I began,
"There is a concept that I don't see Americans understanding and this deeply concerns me - because this concept is THE way out of poverty. You don't have to be a conservative to want a strong economy and lower taxes - I am not a conservative but I too want both of these things. So how do we lower taxes? By shrinking the use of social programs needed."
I now had strong eye contact from both gentlemen. I continued,
"Our welfare program costs taxpayers money. But how do we expect these programs will ever go away when we keep diminishing women's rights to contraception? Access to abortions and contraception for women keeps them from needing welfare programs. Contraception reduces the number of children being born to people who can't afford to have children and it doesn't take a genius to figure out that accessibility to contraception and abortion reduces the number of people needing to be on welfare. If Republicans truly wanted to reduce welfare programs and taxes then they would be able to understand the importance of contraception. The liberals aren't the ones trying to change the constitution, they're the ones trying to preserve it. The conservatives are the ones trying to change the Constitution with the repeal of Roe Vs. Wade and if they're successful then you and I will be the ones paying for it and that's to say the least of the economic hardship that will follow suit if Roe Vs. Wade is overturned."
They were both silent. My colleague in front of me had his eyebrows raised and a smile that slightly curled up on his face while the colleague to my right stood there in silence and then began nodding his head up and down staring intently in front of him thinking. The words that left his lips - "That's a great point."
In 1973, Roe Vs. Wade was issued a 7-2 decision ruling that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides a "right to privacy" that protects pregnant women a right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. Now, with the opportunity of a new justice being appointed for the Supreme Court, the Trump Administration has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2006, Barrett signed a statement calling to end the 'barbaric' Roe Vs. Wade legacy. The Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. If Roe Vs. Wade is repealed this is proof that the conservative party is, in fact, the group changing the Constitution
Medication abortion comes in the form of two drugs taken in combination, mifepristone and misoprostol. When taken together, the pills trigger a miscarriage. The pills have been approved for pregnancies up to 10 weeks. In 2017, medication abortion accounted for 39% of all abortions in the U.S. according to Guttmacher Institute. Women on Web is a Canadian non-profit that provides information and access to abortion pills for early trimester abortion. Aid Access is a private initiative led by Dr. Rebecca Gomperts aiming to create social justice and improve health and human rights for women who do not have the possibility of accessing local abortion services.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, US federal judge, Theodore Chuang, lifted regulations that required women to collect abortion pills from a clinic or hospital. The judge ruled that the obligation to go to a clinic was a substantial obstacle for women during a pandemic. Because of this, it became easier for women to receive abortion pills at home such as pills provided from organizations like Women on Web and Aid Access.
When Republican Senator, Ted Cruz, learned about Judge Chuang's order to allow women to receive abortion pills at home, he and 20 other Republican senators urged the Supreme Court to over rule this decision. In August of 2020, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit refused to suspend federal judge Chuang's ruling. In September of 2020, the team of Republican senators petitioned for the FDA to ban the abortion pill urging them to take the drug Mifepristone off the market claiming it was 'dangerous' and that 'when combined with misoprostol causes a woman's pregnancy to end.' So here's the red flag in all of this: They're not doctors. Also, causing the pregnancy to end is the purpose of the medication; not a dangerous side effect. These Republican Senators are politicians. Why would a politician make it their business to regulate medication when the FDA, CDC and WHO are already monitoring administered medications and who offer the most qualified medical research above any other person and institution in the world? Republicans are maliciously trying to keep women from having control over their body; Republicans are reprimanding women from their human rights. This is about power and keeping the patriarchy alive and strong. The petition noted that medication abortion has caused 24 deaths since it was first approved by the FDA in the year 2000. But let's keep in mind that Year to Date, the FDA has reported that over 3.7 million women have taken the drug since it became legally administered. That's a .0007% risk of death from taking this pill. Levothyroxine is one of the most prescribed drugs in the US and is issued with a Black Box warning from the FDA. If the safety of Americans is the prerogative of Republicans, why then are Republicans not more adamant about taking Levothyroxine off the market too? The Republicans' alibi of using the .0007% risk of death from mifepristone clearly indicates that they have a hidden agenda. I'd say that this agenda is quickly becoming easily recognizable.
About 700 women in the U.S. die as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications each year. According to a report by the Research group, Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, medication abortion is safer than continuing a pregnancy to term. There is no evidence that having an abortion at home is any more dangerous than taking a pill at a clinic for early stage abortions. The WHO advises that early stage abortions can be safely carried outside of a clinic in the first trimester. The earlier the termination occurs, the safer it is and if Republicans like Ted Cruz really genuinely cared about women's health and safety they would know this. If Republicans really genuinely cared about women's health and safety they wouldn't work so hard denying access to reproductive health resources.
Some of my favorite words from Justice Ruth Bator Ginsburg, "I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of my brethren is that they take their feet of our necks." When conservatives talk about taking away abortion rights for women and allowing for contraception to be treated as an elective prescription rather than insurance-covered, preventative health care I acknowledge this as them keeping their feet on our necks in hopes of keeping male dominated power. It's a crux and a lie to use health safety as an alibi for anti-abortion.
I will clarify for myself: I am not a Republican nor am I Democrat. I am an American citizen looking inward and I am a registered Independent. What I'm witnessing from the Republican party is a squabble of power trying to restrict women access to their reproductive rights. The hypocrisy in this is that Republicans have made a name for themselves via advocating decreased taxes and with economic forefront. But it's clear that Republicans are doing everything they can to keep safe resources of reproductive choice and health away from women. They are therefore blatantly disenfranchising 50.52% of the American population. This isn't just a human rights issue - this is an incredibly detrimental economic issue that not only are the disenfranchised women going to have to physically and economically pay for but so will the American taxpayer; especially the middle class.
Family Planning policy was first recognized in 1970 with the support strongly emphasized by then Republican President Richard Nixon. According to an article posted by census.gov, circa 1970, family planning policies were more favorable amongst Republicans as they directly correlated links between poverty and a higher number of children per family. At the time, the correlation also included the understanding that children born from poor families have fewer parental time and resource investments, they are more likely to experience delayed academic opportunities and health problems. Family planning can only be possible with the access to affordable contraception. There is a direct link between family planning and educational attainment, labor supply and family income.
In 1964, President Johnson's 'War on Poverty' birthed the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) which submissively set a focus on family planning while disguising it within the anti-poverty agenda. The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) supported the new opening of reproductive health clinics specifically within disadvantaged communities. With family planning, households are able to effectively space out their children which allows for the investment of parents to continue focusing on their own work opportunities and job training in between children; this directly correlates with an increase in the parent's lifetime earnings. Since family planning programs were instilled by the OEO, childbearing among poor women has reduced by 30%. Keep the perspective that the 30% of women in poverty that have been better assisted because of these family planning programs don't end at their 30% - this aid extends beyond just that 30% because we now see the positive effects from the children who were able to complete college, enter the job market and acquire their own family income. This trickle effect is how to keep people out of poverty. This trickle effect is what allows for these children not to need a social program of their own. Family planning correlates with a lower poverty rate and family planning translates to affordable and easily accessible contraception for women. (see referenced article, Reexamining the Impact of Family Planning)
"Less than five dollars invested in population control is worth a hundred dollars invested in economic growth."
~Lyndon B. Johnson
Conservative, right-wing propaganda tells adamant listeners that 'Democrats are going to ruin the economy with their social programs' but the truth is that, although the Republicans may not be adding social programs into the mix, they're proactively adding recipients into already existing social programs. This is much more destructive as a society because it means poverty is expanding.
What I ask of people in their viewpoint is that they understand the importance of accessible and affordable contraception because without it a heavy burden will constrain our US economy.
To disenfranchise women by denying reproductive rights is not only a disservice to women but it's a human rights issue that directly and negatively affects the US economy. If Republicans honestly cared about the economy then they, too, would admit that affordable and easily accessible contraception is the solution to keeping people out of poverty and off of welfare programs which directly leads to lower taxes. All I truly ask is that we look at what's really happening within the party that we vote for - all I truly ask is that we expand our minds and vision beyond the propaganda we're seeing and hearing in our news feeds and really ask the important questions. Is it really that expensive to include contraception into our health care system? What happens if we don't? We need to really ask ourselves - why is it so important for the conservatives to take away birth control access, affordability and opportunity from women?
Regarding abortion rights and conservative viewpoints, I understand that abortion goes against religious beliefs. But I, too, understand that the First Amendment of the US Constitution states our preservation of 'Separation of Church and State' specifically claiming, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." It goes against the moral compass of the United States Constitution to subject an individual to another individual's religious beliefs. And we most certainly don't want 'idiots' changing our Constitution, do we?