But the truth is that we are already two separate countries.
While some states, including California and New York, have laws protecting abortion rights, Mississippi’s laws are designed to make abortion difficult to obtain and to make clinics like mine more difficult to operate. There are now five states with only one abortion clinic remaining, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights.
Abortion is absolutely a matter of racial and economic justice. A large majority of our patients are black women like me. Legislatures that pass these laws in Mississippi and other southern states are predominantly male and predominantly white. The laws are inherently racist and classist; they keep blacks and browns down. And the research is clear: A woman who is denied an abortion is more likely to live in poverty even years later.
People who can afford to fly over many states can avoid this spider web of laws. Lots of women who can’t afford it, who manage to walk through our doors, spent every penny they have and drove for hours, and had to take time off work and find the money for gasoline , a hotel and a daycare. – only to have to push their way through a group of protesters shouting “fuck” and “murderer”.
But what really haunts me are the women I never see – the ones who can’t come here.
The ability to control your own body and your future shouldn’t depend on where you live, who you are, and how much money you make. But state legislators have made it our reality. And if the Supreme Court overturns Roe, that inequality will be dramatically magnified.
We need the federal government to stop this attack on our rights. We need it to protect access to abortion everywhere, for everyone.
Members of Congress on Tuesday reintroduced a bill that would do just that – the Women’s Health Protection Act. The bill, which was first introduced in 2013 but never passed, would protect against state laws like the two-trip Mississippi requirement and the 15-week ban. It would do so by creating a statutory right for health care providers to provide abortion care and a right for patients to receive such care without medically unnecessary restrictions.
If this legislation becomes law, access to abortion will be protected in all states. The law would surely face strong legal resistance from Mississippi and other anti-abortion states, but Congress has passed laws protecting access to health care, and it shouldn’t be treated any differently.