When the U.S. Supreme Court decided Dobbs, the case that took away American women’s abortion rights, the Court held that the legality of abortion should be left up to each state. So, they decreed, whether a woman has a right to get an abortion depends on where she lives.
That’s why we now find ourselves in a reality where women in California and New York can freely obtain abortions while others, like Kate Cox in Texas, are forced into legally precarious positions. Cox, facing health risks and potential infertility due to a pregnancy with a Trisomy 18 fetus, had to beg a judge for permission to end the pregnancy. That’s why Brittany Watts in Columbus, Ohio is now facing prosecution for abuse of a corpse. Watts was told by her doctor that her pregnancy was no longer viable when her water broke at 21 weeks. He told her she faced a significant risk of death and that she needed to go to the hospital to be induced. Three days and multiple trips to the ER later, where she was denied the procedure because the fetus still had a heartbeat, she miscarried at home, in her bathroom, and has been charged with abuse of a corpse for flushing the toilet. And these are only the women we know about. There are undoubtedly many more who lack the resources to obtain the care they need, like Cox did when she left Texas, or whose unfair treatment has not come to light, like Watts’s plight did.
Women are being forced to endure deeply personal trauma in the public spotlight so conservative politicians can play politics. It is shameful. It is certainly not “pro-life.” That term needs to be stricken from our vocabulary in connection with this gamesmanship.