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The Daily Tar Heel

Op-ed: So much relies on abortion access

There is a lot of misinformation and confusion about how the Dobbs v. Jackson decision has impacted abortion access. Don't be fooled. 

The anti-choice movement purports to be "pro-woman," yet spreads deliberate misinformation to instill confusion, shame and fear about abortion access. Eight months after the Dobbs decision, Guttmacher reports that 24 states have outlawed abortion or are likely to do so soon. As a result of these bans, millions of people are in danger, including transgender and non-binary individuals who face increased threats to accessing this common component of reproductive healthcare.

After the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the anti-choice movement attempted to reframe this attack on human rights as a decision supporting states rights. This is a distraction from their unpopular agenda to ban abortion nationwide and erase bodily autonomy. We’ve already heard the promises of introducing a national ban, and we are currently waiting for the court ruling that may take mifepristone, a common and safe medication for abortion care, off the market in all states — all in service to a national anti-abortion political agenda.

The anti-choice movement hopes their "pro-woman" ideals camouflage their regressive agenda. But there is nothing pro-woman about erasing basic health care and controlling and endangering bodies. Rather than supporting women experiencing unplanned pregnancies, the anti-choice movement funnels federal and state healthcare dollars into anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. These CPCs engage in reproductive coercion, shame contraception users, spread non-medical advice, masquerade unlicensed "caregivers" as medical staff and do not require "providers" to follow HIPAA laws. From all angles, the anti-choice movement obscures medical evidence to promote its own political agenda. They continue to falsely claim that abortion bans will not harm miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy care while obscuring the fact that the medical treatment for these conditions is an abortion procedure.

Anti-abortion lawmakers in the N.C. General Assembly are attempting to push this unpopular agenda forward. In August, an N.C. judge reinstated a 20-week abortion ban and conservative lawmakers are now considering restricting abortion care to 13 weeks or less. This is all on top of existing laws requiring a 72-hour waiting period, parental consent and biased counseling. North Carolina is one of the few southeastern states providing abortions, and that may not be the case for long. The state has received an influx of people from the surrounding states in the past few months seeking an abortion. So, this is not only about healthcare for North Carolinians, but thousands of others.

Young people are disproportionately impacted by abortion bans. In 2019, more than 1 in 4 abortions in the state were sought out by young adults between the ages of 20-24 years old. If you look around your lecture halls, how many of those people are sitting next to you? Transportation complexities, employment conflicts and income challenges all confound the student experience, especially when seeking an abortion. As the number of abortion clinics in N.C. continues to dwindle, think of those people you pass every day on campus. These services allow them the agency to choose the direction of their own life.

The anti-choice movement did not start with abortion, and it does not end there. They are coming for contraception, IVF, LGBTQIA+ equity, racial and ethnic equity, gender equity and so much more. They are not anti-choice but pro-birth, as they eliminate access to services and resources that enable the bodily autonomy of N.C. residents. The anti-choice movement relentlessly pushes for the indoctrination of their white, patriarchal agenda into schools, laws and social norms at the expense of our neighbors, friends and loved ones.

– Harper Eisen, MPH Student,
Emily Proehl, MPH Student