Sexcapades: Loss of Abortion Begins Attack on Sexual Autonomy

Sexcapades

On this week’s edition of Sexcapades, in light of the recent events within Alabama, the topic of abortion and what’s next is discussed.

Originally, last week’s post was supposed to take a form of another theme. I had this strong, intuitive gut feeling that I should write a book review of Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice and talk about abortion. So I changed it. Last week, the most restrictive, oppressive and horrifying laws were passed in Georgia, Alabama, Missouri and Ohio. When media coined ‘heart beat bill’ was passed in Georgia I was sick to my stomach. Then when Alabama followed, I was enraged. 

Last Monday, I had this feeling that I should write another post about abortion and how important sexual autonomy as a human right. Whenever I began to write I all that would come out was anger and fear. Again on Tuesday, all I felt was fear. Fear for myself, my friends, my sisters, cousins, aunts. Fear for women at my school, in my community and women in the states where their choice, freedom and bodies were being stripped away from them. Wednesday, I meditated and I asked for clarity on what to do. When we fear something we give it power, we give it our energy. The energy we invest in fearing something is energy wasted when instead we can use that energy to fight something. It is Thursday that I am writing this and I know what to do. 

A 46-Year-Old Monumental Stride:

Roe v. Wadeis a law that was passed in 1973 in the height of the second-wave feminism movement. It was decided by the Supreme Court that the Constitution provides a “fundamental right to privacy” protecting “a woman’s right to an abortion prior to the viability of the fetus.” 

What does this mean? Let’s break it down. 

Fundamental right to privacy:

 “Fundamental right to privacy is listed under the Due Process Clause in the Fourteenth AmendmentDue Processoffers defense against the denial of life, liberty or property by the government. What is tricky and troubling about the Fourteenth Amendment is that ‘privacy’ and ‘right to privacy’ is listed a “fundamental right,” yet personal autonomy is not.

Viability of the fetus:

Viability of the fetus is the age at which the fetus is able to survive outside the womb with medical assistance.  The Court decided that after the second trimester the fetus became viable. The third trimester begins around week 28 of a pregnancy and lasts until birth. Pregnancy usually last about 40 weeks. The Court ruled the state could regulate or ban abortions after the second trimester with the exception of preserving “the life and health of the mother.”

Lives at Stake: The threat to Roe

Since the ruling of Roe, women’s sexual autonomy and right to privacy has been constantly under attack. Not ever 50 years later, five states have passed regressive, oppressive and restrictive abortion bills the nation has ever seen. As a country we are regressing and it is time we do something about it.

April 11: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill that would prevent abortions to be performed after the fetal heartbeat has been detected. The heartbeat is detected at six weeks before most women even know they are pregnant. According to Guttmacher Institute, Ohio is the third state to pass an abortion ban bill with Kentucky and Mississippi being the first two. This ban will start in July of this year

May 7: Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp signs the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban. Similar to Ohio, women in Georgia cannot seek out abortions after six weeks. The most gruesome part is that the bill provides punishment for women who seek out and those who perform abortions. Abortion Practitioners can face up to 10 years in prison that is more time in jail than Brock TunerShane Piche, and Michael Wysolovski.

May 15: Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey signs a similar bill that punishes abortion practitioners with life in prison. Again, more time in prison than Jacob Walter AndersonAustin James Wilkerson, and  Benjamin Lawrence Petty. As if this bill couldn’t get more disturbing, the amendment for the exemption of rape and incest failed 11-21. 

Is there more that can be done? While access to abortion is amazing there are a few more things that should be included in this conversation: Primarily, sex education & health care.

Action we need to take:

Our country loves to oppress, control and abuse the women who live and step foot in it. Women of color have known this since the dawn of time. These laws hit their communities just as hard, if not harder than others. This is where there is less access to quality health care and coverage, lower education, and higher poverty rates.

Every day we are getting closer to a reality similar to the Handmaid’s Tale.It is horrifying that our society is mimicking a piece of fiction, like it was meant to warn us about the dangers that lie ahead. With that being said it is not the time to call for a sex strike; It is time to share stories and advocate for safer practices, better sex education programs, and improved access to health care. All the policies that Republicans and “pro-lifers” are against.

While these bills are detrimental let’s not forget about the conservative leaning Supreme Court and the accused sexual predator Justice Brett Kavanaugh. At the end of the day, Roe needs serious protection.

Written by: Julie Cappiello

Julie Cappiello