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Revealing their True Colors

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Millions of lives are at risk. For decades, Republicans have been working to rob women of their bodily automony in the name of being “pro-life” and under the premise of giving the power to the states. Well, they got what they wished for. Or did they? 

Roe v. Wade wasn’t overturned on a whim; the debate over abortion has been going on since the decision in 1973. Many have raised questions about what it means to be pro-life in the first place, citing that most of the exact same politicians trying to “protect the lives of the unborn” have done less than the bare minimum to protect the lives of the marginalized groups already born. This year, during a national shortage of baby formula, 192 Republicans in Congress voted against providing aid to help produce more and fix the shortage. They also blocked the continuation of the Child Tax Credit that reduced childhood poverty in the United States by 30%, according to National Public Radio. As a bonus, they blocked legislation that would have provided a federal right to birth control use, which would help eliminate unwanted pregnancies. 

Rather, it was always about controlling the bodies of those with uteruses, as a bill from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham demonstrates.

As previously mentioned, a big part of the pro-life argument against the protections of Roe v. Wade is that the power to decide should rest with the states. In other words, every state is free to decide their own rules and regulations addressing abortion. It shouldn’t be the woman’s choice; it should be the state’s. This was the argument that Pro-Life Senator Graham himself preached. However, his new bill does not line up with that stance in the slightest. It goes in the complete opposite direction. 

Graham’s bill is a nationwide abortion ban at the 15th week of pregnancy, with superficial exceptions for rape, incest, and health of the mother. The 15th week is approximately eight weeks before the widely agreed upon fetal viability point in the United States. 23-24 weeks is about the earliest at which a fetus has even a small chance at surviving outside the womb, given it is supported by staff and machines in a professional medical facility. 

At 15 weeks, chances of survival are zero. 

This is one of the most strict nationwide abortion bans that has ever been seriously considered, stricter than abortion bans in 21 states. Still, it is more forgiving than current abortion laws in another 16 states. It wouldn’t matter which kind of state you currently live in because, as a federal law, all 50 states would have to enforce it. Wasn’t the whole point of overturning Roe to hand the power to control abortions over to the states? Why are Republicans like Graham now backpedalling and trying to enforce laws on abortion at a national level?

 At first, the “pro-life” politicians wanted states rights. They got that, and it suddenly isn’t enough. There is a certain demographic of people who will continue to suffer at disproportionate rates with stricter abortion restrictions: people with uteruses, especially those in lower socioeconomic classes. About half of women who have abortions live beneath the povery line, according to the New York Times. Six out of 10 are already mothers and half of them already have two or more children, according to the CDC, so abortion bans are going to impact existing children, mothers, and fathers, too. What is left for us to monitor in this situation is just how many of our representatives will back Graham and his bill before and after the midterm election. 

Timea Matavova

October 26, 2022

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