Women Remain Strong Even When Stripped of Rights


Reese Haggerty

In a spring 2022 survey of 30 West Po high school students assigned female at birth, 33% (10 out of 30) said they would kill themselves if they were pregnant.

Women’s history month has just begun, which gives us women the opportunity to make our voices heard especially loud. Because this month is about celebrating women throughout history and all of the struggles we faced and accomplishments achieved, I wanted to touch on a current struggle we are having to navigate. This struggle is dealing with the effects of Roe vs. Wade being overturned, and why that decision was questionable to say the least as well as hurtful to women in America. Also, I want to point out that women are not the only people affected by this, as all assigned female at birth (AFAB) people are also directly affected, but because of the focus this month, I will be writing about women specifically.

The government has incredibly conflicting views towards fetuses, and only tries to view them as babies when it comes to abortion. There are many examples of this and how hypocritical the government actually is. Some of these include how pregnant women cannot take out life insurance on a fetus, and aren’t entitled to a life insurance policy on it if they have a miscarriage. In addition to that, women with low incomes don’t get more food stamps and welfare while they’re pregnant, and pregnant women also can’t claim their fetus on income taxes for that year. These are just a few examples, and there’s many more that show how fetuses are only considered people when it’s used to control women’s bodies, and never when it could benefit them in any way.

Last year, I did a project on Roe vs. Wade being overturned, and how it might affect women in America. To do this, I asked 30 AFAB West Po students what they would do if they got pregnant and abortion was banned in our state. Their answers fell into 5 categories: have the baby and keep it, have it and give it up for adoption, physically induce an abortion on them self, try homemade concoctions to induce one, or flat out kill themselves. I didn’t think the last answer would be the most popular answer,

…but 33% of students surveyed said they would commit suicide if they became  pregnant in our state if abortion were not legal. 

The reasons consisted were many, such as saying that they couldn’t handle the social repercussions of people knowing, they wouldn’t be able to face their parents, they didn’t think they could handle the changes to their teenage bodies, and many more. On top of this, 40% answered that they would try to induce an abortion on them self. Oftentimes, self-induced abortions likely end in death as both types of attempts most often lead to excessive bleeding, organ failure, seizures, and other incredibly harmful things. This means that in this scenario 73% of students, 22 West Po students, would likely end up dead.

Much more could be said about this topic, such as how anti-abortion views are rooted in classism and racism, and how many religions can no longer practice their beliefs of saving the mother over the fetus with certain abortion laws in place. I urge everyone, not just women, to look into it more. 

As Women’s History month goes by, I want to highlight how strong women are, and not just historically, but in today’s political climate. It is not easy getting our rights stripped from us, but if we continue to educate ourselves, and make sure our voices are heard, we will be able to make a difference and keep women across America safe.