Last night I told my husband that if I had to, I’d fly either of our twenty-something daughters to Canada for reproductive choice. Then I said, “just imagine all the girls whose families can’t afford to do that.” We both just sat there looking at one another because we’re parents. We can’t imagine how heartbreaking it would be to have our daughters forced into giving up their health, their plans for the future, their autonomy, because birth control failed or they were victims of violence, or they just plain made a mistake (because you know, ALL human beings make mistakes).
What laws like the one passed in Alabama do is widen the gap even further between the “haves” and “have nots.” My college-educated daughters have resources available to them that insure they will never have to take on the care of children unless they are ready and willing to do so. But for so many other women in this country the denial of reproductive choice means sentencing not only them, but their children, to a lifetime of hardship and poverty. It means keeping them in the “have nots.”
And the inequality doesn’t end with individuals. I recently read an article about what’s called the “brain-drain” phenomenon in the U.S. Over the last several decades, certain states have been losing educated population while others have been gaining it. It will come as no surprise that the states experiencing “brain-drain” are the same states passing laws like the one in Alabama. This means states that have been losing their best and brightest since the 1970s are now passing legislation that insures those who are left will remain undereducated, poor, and without the ability to better their lives or the lives of their children. The cycle will continue, and states like Alabama will fall further and further behind.
Reproductive choice is about women’s bodies, but it is also about economics and education and the future of our country. What is most clearly a war on women and children is beneath the surface so much more — it is a cementing of the widening education and income gap. It is a further wedge between wealthy states that are progressing and advancing and poor states that are regressing and suffering. Remember that this all ties together. Reproduction is an economic, healthcare, and social factor that impacts everyone. This isn’t about men vs. women, or old vs. young, or republicans vs. democrats, this is about the haves and the have nots. It always has been and it always will be.