Anti-abortion Legislation

Anti-abortion Legislation Is About More Than Abortion

Bans on women having abortions hurt all women regardless of politics, religious views, and regardless of whether or not they have ever had or will ever have an abortion.

Personhood measures set the legal basis for such Anti-abortion Legislation by defining fetuses, embryos, and fertilized eggs as independent legal entities separate from the women who carry, nurture and sustain them.

This definition becomes the rationale for violating the dignity, autonomy, personhood, bodily integrity and life of all people with reproductive capacity.

National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) explains how anti-abortion legislation intended to restrict abortion is used to control women’s bodies in situations having nothing to do with abortion.

“Based on the belief that he had an obligation to give a fetus a chance for life, a judge in Washington, D.C., ordered a critically ill 27-year-old woman who was 26 weeks pregnant to undergo a cesarean section, which he understood might kill her.

Neither the woman nor her baby survived.

In Iowa, a pregnant woman who fell down a flight of stairs was reported to the police after seeking help at a hospital. She was arrested for “attempted fetal homicide.

In Utah, a woman gave birth to twins; one was stillborn. Health care providers believed that the stillbirth was the result of the woman’s decision to delay having a cesarean. She was arrested on charges of fetal homicide.

In Louisiana, a woman who went to the hospital for unexplained vaginal bleeding was locked up for over a year on charges of second-degree murder before medical records revealed she had suffered a miscarriage at 11 to 15 weeks of pregnancy.”

According to (NAPW) there have been cases all over the country where these laws have been used to justify ignoring pregnant women’s health needs and medical decision-making because the state claims it has an interest in “protecting” the fetus within her.

Women with wanted pregnancies have had to endure forced court-ordered cesarean surgery. Others have been persecuted for having a stillbirth or miscarriage without any evidence of what caused the pregnancy to end. As NAPW says, if a state can “outlaw abortion at some point during the pregnancy and force a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, then surely the state can also force a woman to undergo major medical procedures to deliver the child she ‘affirmatively desires to have.’ ”

These are not women seeking to terminate a pregnancy. These are women with wanted pregnancies, being denied their rights because of laws intended to prohibit certain types of abortions.

According to NAPW: “If we want to end these unjust and inhumane arrests and forced interventions on pregnant women, we need to stop focusing only on the abortion issue and start working to protect the personhood of pregnant women.

We should be able to work across the spectrum of opinion about abortion to unite in the defense of one basic principle: that at no point in her pregnancy should a woman lose her civil and human rights.”