People gather outside the U.S. Courthouse to protest the June 24, 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe V. Wade. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

OPINION |

by Cait Cowan, Republic

In Missouri (and several other states), the only abortions allowed are ones that will save the birthing person’s life. Rape and incest are not included in what is considered to be “life threatening” and no exceptions will be made for those cases. No exceptions will be made if the fetus has a life-threatening condition, either. 

So fetuses that have genetic conditions like anencephaly (no brain stem and cannot survive outside the womb), congenital heart defects, Edward’s syndrome, chromosomal disorders, neural tube defects, etc., will be forced to be taken to term and birthed, even though they will likely die soon after birth.

Birthing people who are forced to carry pregnancies to term not only put their lives at risk (all birth is risky), but they also put their mental health on the line. Rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, self harm, PTSD, alcoholism and other addictions, homelessness, more children in foster care than there are placements for, child abuse, infanticide, and botched home abortions (which also means birth defects and death of birthing people) are likely going to see a huge increase. 

Accidental pregnancies don’t just happen to those who “sleep around.” They also happen to people in solid, committed relationships, they happen to people whose birth control and condoms fail. They happen to women who are close to menopause but are still ovulating (thus increasing the risk of birth defects).

And they happen to people who take every precaution but something failed.

Shaming people for the number of sexual partners they have, as a way to not get pregnant, doesn’t work, and it’s one of the grossest excuses to make someone have a baby. Stop it. Teach safe sex, teach how to prevent pregnancies, teach about consent, teach men that they are 100% responsible for every birth in the world, stop shoving unwanted religion down the throats of people who do not believe the same thing, and make abortion safe and accessible to those who make that choice. It doesn’t affect you, or anyone else, what a person does with their body. No one should have dominion over anyone else’s body. Period.

Cait Cowan is a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) Certified Birth & Bereavement Doula (CBD) Certified Childbirth Educator (CCCE)