Planning for the End of Roe

I have a feeling I’m going to talk a lot about abortion here. I cut my feminist teeth on abortion as an issue and you would think I would have been able to move on from it but no. No, the anti-abortion forces in America haven’t moved on so no one else can move on either.

Just look at the shit that’s going down in Ohio. There’s a well-publicized bill making its way down the fallopian tubes of the state legislature there that’s taken some creative liberties with medical realities. You’ve probably heard about it. It’s the bill that demands that doctors try to re-implant ectopic pregnancies in the uterus.

When that idea first bubbled up I got super excited. I thought I had missed a reproductive technology memo that announced that science had figured out how to safely remove a pregnancy from the fallopian tubes and move it to where it can safely continue to develop, if the pregnant person so desires. I mean, how cool would that be? Ectopic pregnancies are no joke. They literally cannot result in a live birth so most of the people who have one are bitterly disappointed at the news that they won’t be going home with a baby in 40 weeks. Then there’s the fact that they’re potentially lethal – if the fetus grows too large it can cause the tube to rupture and result in internal bleeding and potentially death. So even people who don’t want to be pregnant aren’t stoked about the unwanted pregnancy being ectopic because it;’s freaking dangerous.

The good news is there are medications that can remove the pregnancy from the tubes. There’s also surgery that can remove the tube itself. Ectopic pregnancy can be treated to protect the life of the pregnant person.

What is NOT possible is detaching a pregnancy from a tube – or anywhere else it might have settled – and tenderly moving it to the uterus where it can grow to be an apple-cheeked white baby that will be loved by a 1950’s style white couple with two cars, a color tv, and a husband who takes the train into the city for a 9-5 job while the wife raises little Billy and Susie after they were rescued from her fallopian tubes.

At least that’s what I imagine anti-abortion people think will happen.

Anyway, the scenario is science fiction and codifying it into law is stupid.

There are other issues with that bill, too. It uses the term “abortion murder” a bunch of times, according to Imani Gandy, a lawyer and reproductive justice writer who read the whole 723 page bill. The people who wrote this tome really, really, want anything that leads to the end of a pregnancy to be considered murder. And they really, really, want to put everyone involved in the end of a pregnancy in jail. For a long time. They even suggest the death penalty for some instances of “abortion murder.”

So pro-life. Much life loving. Very life-y. Whoa.

Clearly, CLEARLY this is an end run at Roe v. Wade. They want to pass this patently ridiculous law to spark a lawsuit that will go to the Supreme Court where Gorsuch and Kavanaugh will deliver the one gift Republicans have been promising their followers for decades: forced birth for all.

They’re gonna get it.

We’re not going to go full Handmaid’s Tale – at least I hope not – but we are going to see the end of Roe. It is going to happen and if you care about reproductive justice you need to be ready to move when it happens. People across the country are going to find their access to all kinds of reproductive health care turned upside down when Roe falls and the states start doing things their own way. People are going to need help getting everything from an abortion to ectopic pregnancy treatment to IVF as the culture wars rage in petri dishes and fallopian tubes.

There are already boots on the ground working on the structures for post-Roe America. There’s even a book about it written by Robin Marty. Get a copy and read up on what will need to happen next. Find out who’s doing this work and support them however best you can.

This is happening and the longer we sit around crying about what might happen to Roe, the more behind we’ll be in planning for how to rebuild when it comes tumbling down. The time to create a new foundation for reproductive justice in America is now, not after Rapey McKavanaugh takes Roe away from us.

Let’s get to work.

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