How Abortion Bans Affect the Childfree
Our Freedom is Under Attack
Currently in the United States there is an all-out war against the bodies of people assigned female at birth (AFAB), especially against our reproductive rights. (Why am I using the term AFAB? Because these measures affect both cisgender women and transgender men. Basically, anyone with the ability to become pregnant. I try to always use inclusive language in my writing.)
Instead of seeing more reproductive freedom and options, especially to have the choice to remain childfree, many conservative states are trying to make sure that those who find themselves unwillingly pregnant, remain that way.
Beyond access to safe abortions, the current administration keeps trying to restrict access to effective birth control methods, even to those serving in the US military. In addition, AFAB people under the age of 30–35 are often denied the option of sterilization, although their cisgender male partners usually have no problems getting a vasectomy, even in their early 20s, if they so choose.
I Got Lucky
When I was 28, I managed to talk my gynecologist into giving me a tubal ligation. I had the advantage that I needed surgery to remove my right ovary, due to a fast-growing mass that turned out to be a benign dermoid cyst. Having a troubled history with my reproductive system, along with an impassioned plea to help me prevent ever becoming pregnant, finally swayed my doctor.
Thousands of AFAB people with healthier reproductive systems than I had, don’t get that lucky. It doesn’t seem to matter if they’ve never had a child or they’ve had five or six, many doctors are reluctant to perform sterilization procedures.
Some people lay the blame on insurance companies and their reluctance to cover such procedures, but often it never goes that far. Many doctors will try to talk their patients out of it, even if they have saved up the money to pay for the procedure out-of-pocket.
Choosing to be Childfree
Not that it’s anyone’s business, but for those of us who have chosen to remain childfree, we have our reasons. For many of us, we simply lack any desire to procreate and raise children. We have other goals in life and don’t have the need to become parents in order to feel fulfilled. Our choice not to have children is not an attack against people who do choose to have children, and it’s not a selfish choice as some people claim.
In other cases, we may have a family history of mental illness or genetic diseases that might lead us to choose not to have children. Perhaps we have a medical condition that could threaten our very lives if we ever became pregnant, much less carried a child to term. There are many reasons why choosing to remain childfree is the best option for us.
In order for childfree to remain a viable choice, our reproductive rights need to remain intact. That means we need access to birth control and yes, even abortions. Childfree people aren’t running around, carelessly having sex, without knowing the consequences. This is because the sad reality is, sexual assault and rape happen. Condoms break. Birth control fails. No one should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term against their will.
There are plenty of people who want and plan for children in their lives. Why does it matter if some of us don’t? What harm is there in preventing pregnancy? It gives us autonomy over our bodies, which some factions of society seemingly want to prevent.
Also, those who become pregnant, willingly or not, may choose to abort for a myriad of reasons. It’s a painful and personal choice, and not something that should be regulated by our mostly male-run government. Our right to determine whether we want to have children and raise a family should never be infringed upon, by anyone, for any reason.
It was Never About the Children
Regardless of the reasons, all people should have complete control of our own bodies. We know for a fact that these measures aren’t about protecting children. If this was really about children, then the destruction of frozen embryos wouldn’t be tolerated. Nor would they tolerate so many children going hungry in the wealthiest nation in the world.
I know the age-old argument of adoption being an option, but there are hundreds of thousands of children stuck in the foster care system, many who never become adopted. Millions more are living below the poverty level in the wealthiest country on Earth. This problem will only increase if the government keeps demanding that pregnancies are not prevented by reducing access to birth control, and unwanted pregnancies be carried to term by banning access to safe and legal abortions.
How Can We Fight Back?
Refuse to be silenced! We need to keep sharing our stories, signing petitions, marching, and protesting. But, most of all, our government needs to hear us. So, what’s the most powerful thing we can do?
Now, more than ever, we need to go out and vote during every election. Local. State. National. If we want our voices to be heard, we need to go beyond marches and protests. We need to go to the polls and vote the officials, who are trying to restrict our reproductive freedoms, out of office. Let’s send a message that we will no longer tolerate our government from dictating our health and our lives.