A Step Back: Banning Federal Funding for Abortions

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Ariana Salinas

Contributor, Teacher, Coffee Lover, Radicalist

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On January 24, hundreds of people gathered around the north steps of the city capitol in Austin. Wearing orange in solidarity, and carrying signs expressing how they feel, the rally was full of inspirational speakers, supportive artists, and an open mic. Women, men, and children alike were standing, and sitting on the lawn, appreciating what Roe v Wade meant to them. As I stood there and listened to these midwives, and survivors, I hope to one day live in a world where a woman’s body is her decision and not that of upper class, white men.

The Roe v Wade decision by the Supreme Court in 1973 made abortions safe and legal.  Now while there are some that would like to credit this decision with starting abortions, we should recognize that this is not true. Roe v Wade made it safe and legal for women to receive abortions. Women were no longer risking their lives having back alley abortions. This was a huge win for women’s reproductive rights.  Up until then, a doctor had to decide that there was a medical need for an abortion. In Texas there had to be evidence of rape and incest.  The right to an abortion now falls under a woman’s right to privacy.  This decision has been controversial since the very beginning, constantly coming under fire with some trying to revoke the decision.  And unfortunately they are coming close to that.

Just earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed a bill banning federal funding for abortions. This means that women on Medicaid cannot have their abortion covered. It also restricts a woman’s ability to buy private insurance that includes abortion coverage, and will deny small businesses a tax credit if they include abortion care in their health insurance plans. Contrary to what social conservatives say, this is not a victory for women. This is setting women back at least forty years.

We will not go back. We will not go back to risking our lives for the basic right to make our own decisions. We will not go back to alley, wire hanger abortions. We will not go back to being shamed, and judged for making a decision that directly affects our life, not their’s. These are the same men that want to cut Medicaid and WIC. I can’t wrap my head around that. Lawmakers want to “protect” fetus rights, but once it’s out of the womb they don’t care. Where are they when I can’t feed this child I was forced to have?

We need to stand up for our rights. We need to voice our needs. We need to get more involved with our local activists group and protect our rights.  As I stood there, cheering, surrounded by like-minded women, I was ever thankful to be involved. Reproductive rights should not be a discussion for the white males in power anymore. Unless you have to carry a baby, you shouldn’t be making the decisions.

For more information about activism, visit NARAL Pro-Choice America’s website. Click here.