Sorry, Not Sorry: Our Generation Cares About Reproductive Rights
As the legal interns for the Reproductive Rights and Health team at the National Women’s Law Center, we were given the opportunity to rally not once, not twice, but three times outside of the Supreme Court as we not-so-patiently awaited SCOTUS’s decision in NIFLA v. Becerra. That case was about the constitutionality of California’s Reproductive FACT Act, a law that required licensed anti-abortion counseling centers to provide disclosures that would inform women about comprehensive healthcare services the state offered and unlicensed centers to provide disclosures that they are not medical providers. Unfortunately, Justice Thomas twisted the First Amendment in favor of the anti-abortion counseling centers that challenged the law.
Every single day, we heard an anti-abortion group made up of students and other young adults chanting “We are the pro-life generation and we will abolish abortion.” It’s fair to say that we took a couple of issues with this statement.
First, being anti-abortion does not make you “pro-life,” and it does not mean that being anti-abortion indicates support for policies that actually improve the lives of women and girls. Studies have found that in the states with more abortion restrictions, more women and children are suffering from worse health outcomes. Abortion restrictions also disproportionately harm women of color and women living in poverty as they already face additional barriers to accessing comprehensive reproductive health care, such as not having the resources to afford their abortion care, time off from work, and childcare costs, as well as the means to get to a provider.
Second, abortion restrictions don’t help women. Abortion is health care, extremely safe, and a completely normal part of reproductive health care. Restrictions on abortions only make abortion less safe; make it more difficult for women to access care; hurt women’s economic security; and stigmatize abortion care. That’s it – abortion restrictions do nothing to improve women’s lives or improve their access to healthcare.
Finally, our generation will not let this happen. Data show that 65% of young people aged 18-29 support access to abortion and a majority of all Americans are support reproductive rights. And a majority of Catholic Millennials say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Most young adults think that abortion should be covered by their health care plans, and of those who have changed their minds on abortion in recent years, three times as many say that they now support abortion rather that oppose it.
And since 1 in 4 women will have an abortion in their lifetime, none of this should come as a surprise. The NIFLA decision is not the end of this fight, so we will keep working, we will keep organizing, and we will keep fighting with facts. We will continue encouraging reproductive health advocates, local governments, and states to educate the public about the services available in their communities, discouraging state governments who currently fund the deceptive practices of fake clinics, and finding new ways to ensure that women are not being misled by these fake women’s health centers. Most urgently, anyone who cares about reproductive rights and health (which is most of us) should call their Senators and insist they oppose Judge Kavanaugh or any Supreme Court nominee that does not support women’s constitutional rights, including the right to abortion. So, here’s to us, a generation that supports reproductive rights – may we keep fighting for what we know is right!