While the state of Texas represents ground zero in the recent battle for abortion rights in the U.S., when the smoke clears and the courts make their rulings, the biggest losers will inevitably be poor women and women of color.
To be clear, it is not the intention of The Washington Informer to make a stand on either side of the wide delta which exists within our nation over a woman’s right to choose versus those who support the right to life for the unborn.
Our concern remains with women and their having equal access to an abortion, should that be the decision they make. We understand that the decision to abort a child is not one that most women make lightly. But a woman’s economic status should not be the factor that allows some women to have the choice while other women have no choice at all.
Since the law in Texas went into effect several weeks ago – one which for all practical purposes has resulted in the majority of patients seeking an abortion being ineligible for the procedure – experts have witnessed a significant rise of women traveling to states that include Oklahoma, New Mexico and even Illinois where eligibility requirements are not as stringent.
But as all circumstances for women considering an abortion are not equal, women who cannot afford to take time off from work, who do not have the finances to travel to other states or who cannot afford to pay for childcare while they travel and have the procedure performed, have little choice but to carry their child to term. It’s a “choice” whose consequence, for some, will further exacerbate the economic hardships which they and their families already face.
In addition, some abortion advocates fear that women denied the right to an abortion stand a far greater chance of being impacted by physical and mental health challenges.
Before Roe v. Wade, rich women, mostly white, simply traveled to Europe where they were able to secure a physician, undergo the procedure, take time to recuperate and then return to the U.S.
Meanwhile, poor women, often disproportionately including Black women and other women of color, were forced to have backroom abortions performed by those without proper medical training, often in unsanitary conditions leading to horrific outcomes.
Choosing an abortion is already a difficult and painful decision for women. But it should be a choice that they and their family make. Economic stability, or lack thereof, should not be the factor that determines that right.