Melissa McEwan in BNR on the Supreme Court ruling on Texas’s restrictive abortion laws.
…I was born the year after Roe v. Wade was decided, and from the time I was old enough to comprehend even the most cursory facts of abortion law, I understood, even before I could articulate it, that whether my government allowed me control over my own body and the agency to make decisions about my own reproduction communicated how much I was respected and valued as a full human being.
My very first public act of political resistance was leading a walkout in my 8th grade confirmation class in protest of a minister who wanted to show us a graphic anti-abortion film. I was officially labeled a troublemaker, and the minister told me I would be pregnant or dead by the time I was 16. I was neither.
I have always understood intimately that abortion law is not, and has never been, just about access to abortion, but also about how we value women.
For as long as I can recall, I have heard that the anti-choice position is about valuing life — but that language of life virtually always refers to fetuses and never to the people who carry them.
The worth and quality of my life is greater when I am afforded autonomy, agency, consent, and choice.
I am eminently willing to concede that people can have a good faith disagreement about when human life begins, but that has absolutely no bearing on resolving the dispute over legal, safe, and accessible abortion.
My life, right now, is not so precious that any other human being could be compelled to use their body to support mine for the next nine months (at least). No other human being is obliged to give up an organ for me, even if it would save my life. Nor bone marrow, nor blood, nor skin. People who are forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term are being asked to do something no other people are asked to do for another person, which exposes the truth of the anti-choice position: Fetuses are valued more highly than the people who carry them.
It is an inescapable result of that position that I would feel devalued. A living, breathing, thinking adult woman whose life is considered to be worth less than a potential life.
The question is not really when life begins. The question is whether we recognize women and other people with uteri as humans whose lives have intrinsic value and the rights of autonomy, agency, consent, and choice. It is only because such a vast swath of our population cannot or will not answer a resounding and unqualified “yes” to that question that there is even space for an obfuscating debate about when life begins.
Today, the Supreme Court made a decision that says women’s lives have value; that women’s choices have value; that women’s agency has value.
Read the whole article.