On Tuesday, we had the honor of hosting writer Sarah Erdreich for “Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement.” She started the brown bag by first talking about how it is she got to doing the work that she does. Sarah joked about her educational pursuits and how they essentially made her “impressively useless.” Given that I’m a senior struggling with unemployment similar issues, it was nice to hear from someone in the real world who took some time to get into the swing of the real world. She went on to talk about her work on the NAtional Abortion Federation hotline and the information she shared helped me put some things in perspective. Firstly, I am pro-choice. I believe that all women should be 100% in control of their reproductive health and if that means having an abortion, then so be it. While I am vocal about laws in the United States infringing on the rights of women to have access to proper medical care, I did not realize how little I thought about how access is not enough. It is not enough to say that under the law, women have the right to have abortions. Having a right on paper is not the same as having a right in practice. Women may have access to abortions, but what about the dangerous people who are willing to incite violence because they disagree? What does my right to an abortion mea if the people picketing outside of the clinic are willing to throw a bomb through the window? What does my right to an abortion matter if the nearest doctor who can perform an abortion is two hours away from me? What if my insurance is not comprehensive and will not cover the procedure I need to have? Sure, I may have the right to have one, but how realistic is that if there are so many other factors to consider when making these choices?
Additionally, Sarah talked about personal blinders that contribute to the stigmatization of abortions. She argued that abortions are a standard form of healthcare and that women contribute to the stigmatization of this by not asking of their health care provider performs them. Sarah admitted that she did not even know if her own doctor performed them. She also admitted that when she asked her doctor, she was uncomfortable. She felt it necessary to preface the question with “I’m not pregnant, but...” It’s interesting that even women who work as pro-choice activists still battle with these kind of concerns.Ultimately, the abortion debate needs to be humanized. We need to see it as more than body parts and legal precedents. Abortion may be a talking point to your local politician, but it is a very real reality for many people who have had to face a decision as serious as this one.