In June, the Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe v. Wade, leading to a rapid reversal of abortion rights and a subsequent tug-of-war between federal and state governments across the country. As abortion access flip-flopped — sometimes banned and re-permitted by the day — we find people in power seizing control over decisions concerning bodily autonomy. The dire question that has been up in the air, however, is this: How are pregnant people supposed to be able to make their own rightful decisions on pregnancy if they don’t even have the choice in the first place?

Let’s look at Kansas. As a historically red state, it’s fair to assume Kansas would automatically vote “no” on laws concerning abortion rights. However, Kansas recently voted against a new law that would strip people of abortion rights. Other states aren’t fortunate enough to have this option, though. More than a dozen states don’t have the opportunity to vote due to trigger bans, meaning that as soon as Roe v. Wade was overturned, federal law took precedence over state constitutions. Texas, Idaho, and Tennessee are just a few of these states. Most of these states have prohibited people from having an abortion at about six weeks of pregnancy. Change is needed in these states, but given the current stances held by those in the Supreme Court, having people vote is the only control we have to help people who can get pregnant.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but to make a few people’s opinions affect most of the country is absurd. Look at who is part of the Supreme Court right now — you will see that most of the members are men. In what way is that fair? Why are men allowed to decide what women and pregnant people with marginalized identities should do with their bodies? Abortion is not a black-and-white issue as many stances seem to insinuate. Some pregnancies may be accidental, while others are born out of rape. The idea that a person should be punished for carrying an undesired pregnancy — regardless of how it was conceived — is inherently biased and wrong.

But we will never have a chance to change this situation if people only think about themselves. Imagine if you had a child or a close friend who got pregnant from rape and needed an abortion: would you support them? Answer honestly — would you dare look into their eyes and tell them they are killing a baby, that they are wrong for putting themselves first? When someone is forced to bear a child when they are not financially stable, don’t have adequate support, or just can’t due to other health complications, it can lead to consequences not only for them but for the country as well, such as overcrowding in adoption centers.

We need to look at the bigger picture, and how abortion access can affect individuals and the country in the long run. If this is the so-called land of freedom, America should live up to its name. The people in power need to start making decisions that would leave the choice not in the hands of those with social power, but in those of the individual carrying the cost. 

Are we truly a free country if most of the country can’t even make their own decisions? 

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