New legal threats to safe abortion can threaten a woman’s ability to attend college and graduate
Photo by Kristin Millie Salazar
| State Press “New laws have been signed to further restrict access to health care for people with uterus.” Illustration published May 25, 2021. By Haley Tenore | 07.06.2021 19:56
In late April, Governor Doug Ducey signed an anti-abortion law in Arizona. This bill, Senate Act 1457, makes it illegal for doctors to perform abortions in women due to genetic abnormalities.
The law would make it illegal to have an abortion because the fetus has conditions like cystic fibrosis and Down’s syndrome. Such abortions are only legal if the mother’s life is in danger. Of course, it does not take into account whether the mother’s life is in financial or psychological danger.
Doctors and lawyers warn For Ducey, this action would be unconstitutional and contrary to normal medical practice, but he ignored the advice and signed it anyway.
For those who argue that the mother could put the child up for adoption, there are already more than 400,000 foster children in the United States. Many of these children are abused or neglected, and considering that people with disabilities are more likely to report abuse, the future is not so bright for a child with a disability born against the mother’s will and placed in foster care.
The US Supreme Court announced its decision in May to hear a case that could potentially reverse the 1973 decision on Roe v Wade, which granted constitutional abortion rights across the country. With the new Conservative 6: 3 majority in the court, this poses another threat to the right to safe and legal abortions.
“When you ban abortion, you are forbidding safe and legal abortions. There will still be illegal and unsafe abortions, ”said Mary Rothschild, retired professor of women and gender studies at ASU. “Because of their connections, wealthy women will always have access to abortions. Low-income women are the ones at risk.”
Low-income women are less able to take time off from work and travel long distances to obtain an abortion. This problem is exacerbated by abortion restrictions as fewer women have access to them.
Because women have less access to abortions, they are more likely to drop out of college for lack of time and money. A 2017 report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that single mothers were less likely to graduate from college compared to their peers. This would mean a step backwards and move us forward from gender equality in education and in the workplace.
“Many college students are sexually active and these new laws will affect them,” said Rothschild. “These children often do not use contraception consistently, and even if they do, no form of contraception is 100% effective.”
She suggested that students use some reliable form of birth control to reduce the chance they would find themselves in an awkward position where they cannot have an abortion. ASU has a Sexual Wellness Center and offers free condoms in health centers in all four locations.
Rothschild said Staying politically active and engaging with local and state officials are essential to get your voice heard. Votes, protests and petitions are very powerful tools. It can also affect your future in such situations. It is important that in the future Arizonans and Americans elect officials who protect abortion rights and reproductive health care for all who need them.
ASU students and officials must take a stand against this bill. President Michael Crow must put his students first. Student groups, including the Planned Parenthood Generation Action at ASU and the Young Democrats at ASU, are already condemning Crow for his silence.
This law and future threats will hit the student body, especially women and low-income students who cannot afford to raise a child.
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