My Body My Choice

Writer/Reader Collaboration

My Body My Choice

Contributed By Alex Chester

Activists in the U.S. have donned the red cloaks imagined by Margaret Atwood in  The Handmaid's Tale . Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/AAP

Activists in the U.S. have donned the red cloaks imagined by Margaret Atwood in The Handmaid's Tale. Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/AAP

In light of us currently living in the world of The Handmaid’s Tale I wanted to find other Hapas that were either working to uphold Roe v. Wade, had an abortion, and have a greater understanding of the law(s) that surround the Alabama abortion ban and how that affects Roe v. Wade. The goal of all this is to further educate myself and the readers of Hapa Mag.

Coming from California and living in NYC I realize I have access to health care other people in this country do not.

Within these pages you are going to find several stories (including mine) revolving around a women’s right to choose. Some names have been changed to respect the parties involved.

My story.

I was in a long-term abusive relationship with my now ex, and I suddenly found myself pregnant. My IUD had failed me.

Having a baby with my now ex was the last thing I wanted. I couldn’t imagine bringing a child into a relationship where I was mentally abused day in and out. My life was a mess, but at least I knew having a kid with this dude would in no way fix it.

I decided, as my right as a woman, to have an abortion. I wasn’t ready for a kid, hell, I’m not even sure if I’ll ever be ready, but I certainly wasn’t going to have one with my abusive ex.

Lucky for me, I was able to go to my gynecologist in California and have a safe procedure and also get my defective IUD removed. I know this is something that not every woman has access to. I am grateful I did.

Of course my ex freaked the fuck out, blamed me for getting knocked up, and then blamed me further for not wanting to go on the pill after everything was said and done.

Let me be clear he did NOT want a child. In fact he was very clear that he did NOT want to be a father. I of course then asked him to please go get a vasectomy. This only enraged him further. How dare I ask him to have a non-invasive surgery that would only take 15 mins. Why couldn’t I have my tubes tied?

Eventually I dumped his ass. But not for another couple of years.

I am now happily married and at some point I might like to have a kid. Do I want one right now? No. I do not have the funds, nor the time to raise a baby. It is nice to know that living in NYC or going home to California I will have access to women’s health care if I ever find myself not ready for a child.

I decided to share this with you all because you have the right as a human being to be treated with dignity and respect. You have ownership over your body and well-being. It is your body, and it is your choice regardless of your situation.

Links to organizations:

Planned Parenthood

Abortion Funds

Yellow Hammer Fund

My Body My Choice

Contributed by Maya Caufield

When I was barely 19 I ended up being hospitalized after a suicide attempt. In the hospital, they took me off birth control due to the mood swings I was experiencing, and 3 months later, I found out I was pregnant.

I was deeply depressed, spent most of my day sleeping, and barely weighed 90 lbs. after I refused most food. I had only been dating my boyfriend at the time for about 3 months, and when I told him the news he started vomiting from stress. I was so lucky to live in Colorado, where abortion laws are not restrictive. I went to Planned Parenthood for an initial visit and they told me I was about 8 weeks pregnant, and they scheduled an abortion for the following week.

My boyfriend drove me down to the location in Denver where they perform surgical abortions. Outside the clinic, there are always protestors from the church across the street. They had signs saying "YOUR BABY WANTS TO LIVE" and one of the women even threw a baby doll under our car as we drove through the gate.

Even though I asked him to stay, my boyfriend left and I walked in alone. Everyone at the Planned Parenthood was so gentle and careful with me, every step was handled with care. After a few hours, I took a pill and then they called me into the room where it took maybe 5 minutes to remove the "baby" if you could even call it that. On the ultrasound, it was just a smudge. I am thankful every day that I had the option to terminate my pregnancy. Financially, emotionally, and mentally, I was in no way ready to carry the child to term.

Fetal Heartbeat Laws

Contributed By Anonymous Attorney

These "fetal heartbeat" laws, especially those in Georgia and Alabama, are easily assailable on many fronts and the MEN who passed these bills (noting that there was not a single female senator in Alabama in support of the bill) know that. Let's discuss the issue on the basis of constitutional law, which was set in place to protect the mothers (noting as well that Alabama also went after the health-care workers with criminal sanctions).

Considering that we have the doctrine of stare decisis, the United States Supreme Court determined that we are speaking of a "fundamental right" of women to be free to make their own medical decisions. That is also a reflection of the equal if not more compelling need to protect roughly one half of our population from draconian laws that affect their ability to make decisions about their own lives and health. All of the fundamental rights in the Constitution are in place to prevent tyranny of government. That includes the much-loved right to bear arms, the right to practice a religious faith, and the right to speak without fear of government intrusion.

Thus, the laws would have to pass the "strict scrutiny" test and be BOTH 1) narrowly tailored, to meet 2) a compelling state interest. It is a two-pronged inquiry, and the "narrowly tailored" part is restrictive and rigorous. The "fetal heartbeat" laws would all fail the "narrowly tailored" part, and particularly that idiotic bit about not being free to travel (Georgia) and the even more idiotic bit in Alabama -- doling out as much as a 99-year sentence for health-care workers. Oh, and Texas wants to charge women with homicide. Good luck to those states and their health-care systems; many if not all the doctors and nurses could choose to opt out of practicing there because their own personal and professional risk would be too great (especially in Alabama). Not to mention, there would be all sorts of complications in construing such laws, given that women with miscarriages and their health-care providers could also get caught up in the process. A large number of pregnancies end up in miscarriage. Not only would women get LESS health care in the states with these laws (in the theoretical case that the laws would go into effect, which they will not). But you can bet that massage therapists, yoga instructors, and others in the fitness industry would also back away from anyone pregnant in those states. Oh yes, it's possible to induce a miscarriage during a massage if you don't know what the heck you're doing. A trained/professional therapist should know those pressure points. But does everyone?

The Roe v. Wade decision also explained that there is a tricky balancing act between the interests of the unborn child, with that of the mother, and coming up with the test of "viability" to determine when enforceable rights vest in the child. The Supreme Court has for over 40 years reaffirmed that the "viability" stage is the point when the government has that "compelling interest," and not sooner. Forty years of stare decisis would dictate that these six-week "heartbeat" bills (when many women don't even know they are pregnant) would also fail the first prong of the constitutional "strict scrutiny" test as well. Viability outside of the womb without aid of technological intervention is still the same today as it was in 1973. One can shout to the rooftops that interests should vest in the child as soon as they are conceived, but the practical result would be chaos. Judges know that, most certainly those sitting on the highest benches in the country.

These "fetal heartbeat" laws will all end up blocked by federal judges unless and until the U.S. Supreme Court grants review. These are ill-conceived efforts at trying to get a case before the U.S. Supreme Court on the assumption that Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts would actually rule in their favor. It's not clear whether they would, especially Roberts (and it takes FIVE of the nine justices, folks). Roberts' record just like the ENTIRETY of Supreme Court jurisprudence is not to just say, "This doctrine is hereby rescinded." It doesn't work that way. If you were to look at constitutional jurisprudence, the tendency is to create exceptions and chip away, but to maintain those rights deemed fundamental. (Look at the Fourth and Fifth Amendments for example).

The strong likelihood is that the U.S. Supreme Court will decline to grant review, in which case, these laws will go no further than the Circuit Courts. They have pointedly declined to review other hot topics recently, such as whether the Second Amendment right to bear arms includes AR-15s. You'd have thought it would be a slam dunk in favor of the NRA, but no dice.

At any rate: If you don't like guns, don't buy one. Don't like abortion? Don't have one. And moreover, the term "heartbeat bill" is a misnomer and is intentionally misleading. But science isn't exactly on the minds of legislators who are drafting and passing these kinds of bills. The clear effect of such legislation, if they were permitted to stand, is that a whole lot of women would not get prenatal care. And if you actually care about LIFE,  including the lives of women and the potential life growing in their wombs, you would care about that.

Wired - “Heartbeat” Bills Get the Science of Fetal Heartbeats All Wrong