With the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last week, lots of people have been taking to the internet to express their thoughts. From Instagram, to op-eds, to even LinkedIn, people have been sharing their opinions, arguments, and even abortion stories. But left out of the conversation has been the disability community, and even worse, arguments surrounding abortion rights on both sides have been drenched in ableism.
Reproductive justice is a part of disability justice, yet the fear of disability has long been used to manipulate individuals towards abortion upon finding out the fetus will have disabilities. Many disabled advocates tell the stories of their parents being told “your child will never walk/talk/be “independent”/what have you—you should terminate the pregnancy.” Spoiler alert: disabled people have meaningful lives and often can do those very things with accommodations or accessibility aids.
There’s been an outpouring of personal abortion stories with traumatic maternal conditions which are often followed up with a one-two punch of “you might be forced to carry a disabled baby! This is horrible!” Pro-choice TikTok is filled with horrible content using the Horace filter making fun of the idea that having a disabled child is the worst part of losing reproductive rights.
I never thought I’d have to break it down this far, but in case you didn’t know: having a disabled child is not a tragedy. The lack of human rights for disabled people—and now, anyone with a uterus—however, is.
Disability is the largest marginalized community, comprising at least 20% of the population, and it is the only community that you, or anyone you love, can join at any time—yet disabled people have to fight to even be thought of in circles surrounding human rights because we are still trying to fight the stereotype that we are, in fact, real and full human beings. While abortion is health care, and should be a personal choice between a pregnant person and their doctor, the notion that having a child with a disability—or “deformed baby,” as TikTok is referencing—is harmful to actual disabled people who will be seriously impacted by this ruling.
Disabled people have long struggled with not having autonomy—over 1 million people live under conservatorships (you know, like Britney) and even more disabled adults live under strict guardianship. Disabled people are seven times more likely to be victims of sexual assault, and 5 out of 6 sexual assault crimes against disabled people are from someone in their close circle (so yeah, their rapist could force them to have an abortion or continue the pregnancy against their will). Disabled people are 11 times more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth than non disabled people. The disabled population will be disproportionately affected by the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and even more so for people who are BIPOC and disabled, yet are being used as pawns in a debate where nobody wins and disabled people definitely lose.
When leftists make jokes about disability being tragic, disabled people being unwanted and useless members of society, they actually feed Republican talking points that contribute to further marginalization of disabled people. Let’s face it: disability is a tough thing to navigate, but not because disability is a bad thing—it’s a tough thing to navigate because society wasn’t built for disabled people (transportation, literally buildings, etc.). The rare times elements of society were created with disabled people in mind, they were usually built to oppress us (forced sterilization, ugly laws, subminimum wage). Believing that disability is a bad thing is counter to the fight of disabled activists.
The other important thing to note is that not all disabilities are visible, detectable or even existing at birth. Children and adults can acquire disabilities at any time. Because the system is so broken, consequences like burnout and poverty amongst families (because medical care is expensive, hello?) statistically lead to neglect or abuse of disabled children. Navigating the disability world is hard on parents, so stigmatizing disability at any stage of life is extremely damaging.
The best way to support the best interests of pregnant people and disabled children is to have access to abortion rights, destigmatized medical care, and creating a world that is safe and accepting for all disabled people.
So what can you do?
Speak out: when you see ableism on social media—on either side of the aisle—you can stand up and say something.
Encourage your local abortion fund to have an accessibility plan: You should be donating anyway, send them an email while you’re at it asking for an inclusion plan and hold them accountable to adding it.
Take personal responsibility: We need everyone to learn about ableism, disability rights, and disability justice so that disabled people are included from the beginning.
Image: Maite Pons / Stocksy.com
A little over a month ago I had emergency surgery to treat an ectopic pregnancy.
It was scary and painful and unexpected and I am still recovering physically and emotionally. I am lucky to live somewhere where, when the doctors realized it was not a simple case of appendicitis and I was already open on the operating table, they did not hesitate to perform the surgery that saved my life. My abdomen was already full of blood, and my fallopian tube on that side—which had to be surgically removed—was ruptured due to the expanding embryo. I was about five and a half weeks pregnant at the time (I know specifically, down to the day, since I’m an IVF patient). If it had been possible to preserve the pregnancy somehow, I would have done it happily, but science hasn’t found that path yet.
Some questions I ask myself: Was it an abortion, since an implanted, fertilized embryo was removed from my body? Was it a miscarriage, since it could never have grown to term, no matter what anyone did? Does it matter? To me, it doesn’t, since the outcome would always be the same, and I have absolutely no issue referring to it as an abortion. An ectopic pregnancy is never viable, and I was already bleeding internally when I went into surgery. To the rest of the world in a post-Roe v. Wade society, that seems to be a very important question. Whatever you want to call the operation that was performed on me, it saved my life. I just wanted to take a minute to remind people of that, especially the Supreme Court and certain Oklahoma senators who ask why exceptions to trigger law abortion bans have to include treatment for ectopic pregnancies. (Because they lead to death. That’s why. Without care, you die.)
I was genuinely surprised by the way my ectopic pregnancy unfolded, and by the things I found out after—from how common they really are, to signs that you should go to the hospital.
It’s Not As Rare As You Think
According to the American Pregnancy Association, the rate of ectopic pregnancies is 1 in 50, or roughly 1 to 2%. To me, that doesn’t sound that rare at all, even though it is still classified as a rare diagnosis. I felt this on a physical level when I came into the emergency room and it still took over 12 hours to get me into surgery, and even then it was for what was assumed to be appendicitis, not an ectopic pregnancy. There is a genuine misconception that it’s such an uncommon diagnosis that it probably isn’t happening to you.
Here’s another kicker: it’s slightly more common in IVF patients, so I was already at a higher risk. There are other risk factors I didn’t have, but even having one seems like enough of a reason to consider it more seriously early on. I think a part of me was also a bit in denial, and I kept hoping the doctor would tell me I could go home. It’s a good thing I didn’t.
It’s The Leading Cause Of Maternal Death In the First Trimester
If an embryo implants anywhere but the uterus, it isn’t a viable pregnancy and requires medical treatment. In cases like mine where the ectopic pregnancy is in the fallopian tube and the tube has ruptured, surgery is necessary. I don’t need my fallopian tubes as much now that I’ve moved from IUI (intrauterine insemination) to IVF (in vitro fertilization), because the embryo will be implanted directly by a doctor as opposed to a fertilized egg traveling down my tubes. That’s my silver lining: one less tube, one less potential problem!
Ectopic pregnancies can be diagnosed at different stages, and not all need emergency surgery like mine, but they are the leading cause of maternal death in the first trimester. That’s a scary statistic. They do happen, and when they do, they’re dangerous—even if they are caught early on and can be treated without surgery.
Getting A Diagnosis Can Be Confusing
I wasn’t bleeding, as far as I could tell. I wouldn’t find out about the internal bleeding until later. My stomach felt distended and uncomfortable, but bloating is common in early pregnancy. I’ve always had digestive issues, so the G.I. symptoms and pressure weren’t all that uncommon, either. I think the real moment when I should have started feeling more alarmed was when I had intense pain and extreme pressure in my lower abdomen on one side.
I remember a moment where I was on my hands and knees on the bathroom floor. When I stood up, my legs shook uncontrollably and I had to try not to pass out. I went to the emergency room shortly after that; it was probably in those minutes that my tube ruptured fully. For the next 12 hours or so, some of the sharpest pain subsided, but there was a consistent throbbing, sick feeling in my stomach. It still took hours and hours to diagnose. So my advice would be to seek help immediately if you have pain like mine, and to ask the doctor early on if an ectopic pregnancy could be possible. I assumed that because I’d told the treating doctor in the emergency room that I was pregnant, they’d take the possibility into account, but sometimes (always, as someone with a uterus seeking care) you do have to push harder. Don’t dismiss it, or wait to see if it gets better, and ask to talk to the ob-gyn on call if you can’t see your own. The sooner treatment can be given, the better.
When I woke up from what I thought was an emergency appendectomy to a doctor telling me I’d actually been treated for an ectopic pregnancy, I was devastated. But I also knew that I was alive, that my fertility treatment didn’t depend on my fallopian tubes, and that I could probably try IVF again. In all the time spent trying to get pregnant, an ectopic pregnancy wasn’t an outcome I expected—and I thought I was prepared for all the worst possibilities: failed embryo transfers, miscarriages, complications, the works. But this one I didn’t see coming.
It’s important to realize ectopic pregnancy happens more than you’d think, and when it does, it can be life-threatening. I’m lucky to be healing well from that day. Every day I feel stronger. It’s a weird sensation, to feel lucky after having gone through what I did, but I received the care I needed in time. That’s a miracle in itself in this country right now.
Images: Sergey Filimonov /Stocksy.com
ICYMI (we’re guessing you didn’t), the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24, officially reversing the landmark 1973 decision that once protected citizens’ right to an abortion. Now, the power lies in the hands of state governments, where trigger bans in 13 states “will prohibit abortion within 30 days,” with at least eight states’ laws going into effect immediately. As thousands took to the streets in displays of sadness and rage, celebs far and wide used their platforms to share their thoughts on social media. I guess it’s true—celebrities, they’re just like us… really fucking mad when we lose fundamental rights.
Here’s what a few stars had to say on Twitter:
I’m absolutely terrified that this is where we are – that after so many decades of people fighting for women’s rights to their own bodies, today’s decision has stripped us of that. https://t.co/mwK561oxxl
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) June 24, 2022
People who have the money, time, and resources will still find avenues for their procedures.
But the most vulnerable of our community? What choices are those individuals, who are mostly BIPOC, left with?
This is the catalyst for a public health crisis.
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) June 24, 2022
It’s ABSOLUTELY ABOUT POWER & CONTROL!! https://t.co/Bx9VJH1PTj
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 24, 2022
I’m past disgusted w/ my country and their constant inability to protect one another’s right & keep their word. How u overturning the wrong things? So many things to overturn that make sense. But this is what you chose??
— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) June 24, 2022
What a sad day for this country. Guns for everybody and no reproductive rights. Twisted. Twisted.
— Andy Cohen (@Andy) June 24, 2022
Meanwhile, as Glastonbury returned for the first time since 2019, musicians like Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish used the festival to voice their opinions loud and clear.
Rodrigo was joined by special guest Lily Allen for a performance of “Fuck You” dedicated to the Supreme Court, telling the crowd, “I’m devastated and terrified. So many women and so many girls are going to die because of this. I wanted to dedicate this next song to the five members of the Supreme Court who have showed us that at the end of the day, they don’t give a shit about freedom. This goes out to the justices: Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh. We hate you!” Say it louder for the people in the back.
Eilish also addressed the decision before singing her song, “Your Power.” She explained, “The song we’re about to do is, I think, one of the favorites that we’ve written and it’s about the concept of power and how we need to always remember how not to abuse it,” she said. “And today is a really, really dark day for women in the US. I’m just going to say that as I cannot bear to think about it any longer in this moment.”
Megan Thee Stallion and Phoebe Bridgers also used the stage to express their frustrations, leading chants of “My body, my motherfuckin’ choice” and “Fuck the Supreme Court,” respectively, while Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong told the crowd he’s renouncing his U.S. citizenship as a result of the decision.
If you’ve also noticed a general lack of male responses in your feed, you’re not alone. In her acceptance speech for Best Female R&B/Pop Artist at the BET Awards on Sunday night, Jazmine Sullivan addressed the issue head-on saying, “I want to speak directly to the men. We need y’all. We need y’all to stand up. Stand up for us, stand up with us. If you’ve ever benefited from a woman making one of the toughest decisions of her life, which is to terminate a pregnancy, you need to be standing with us. This is not just a women’s issue. This is everybody’s issue. And we need your support more than ever, okay, fellas? Y’all got us? ‘Cause we got y’all. Y’all got us?”
In addition to voicing their opinions, celebrities are also sharing resources and making donations of their own.
Hollywood icon Viola Davis reposted a series of informational slides from the account @so.informed, writing, “And so it goes… .Gutted. Now more than ever we have to use our voice and power! WE the people…”
Ariana Grande also shared slides from a post by @impact to her Instagram story highlighting safe abortion resources for people in areas where abortion is, or will soon be illegal, while Lizzo announced she’s pledging $500,000 from her upcoming tour to Planned Parenthood and Abortion Rights, with Live Nation agreeing to match the donation for a total of $1 million.
As we continue to cope with the consequences of the ruling, know that it’s okay to feel. Whether you’re sad, angry, or confused, we feel that too. Check out The Betches Sup for more updated information, resources, and places to donate.
Images: Harry Durrant/Getty Images; @taylorswift13, @PadmaLakshmi, @KingJames, @KekePalmer, @Andy / Twitter
As a woman, I can’t recall a time (before childhood) when I didn’t feel as if my body and my rights were up for debate — if not under attack. But now, with a president who has been accused of sexual assault and rape by upwards of 25 women, an accused sexual predator in the Supreme Court, and access to abortion being chipped away in states like Alabama, Texas, Georgia, and Missouri, I am experiencing the legitimate fear that my body and my choice might actually be taken away from me by federal law.
As women, we have been fighting for our rights for a long time, but since Roe v. Wade determined that we had the right to abortion in 1973, we at least have been able to say we have the legal right to decide what happens when we get pregnant. This is not to say it’s a right we haven’t had to continuously and rigorously defend, but it has at least stood in place. As a woman of privilege, I have always felt that if I needed to get an abortion, I could. But now, with the newly conservative-leaning Supreme Court, I have found myself asking, “What would happen if abortion became illegal? What would I do if I got pregnant? What would this mean for American women?”
A powerful new film called Ask For Jane explored and answered these questions for me, as well as made me ugly cry on my couch while reflecting on the resilience of women. It’s a film we should all watch like, yesterday, and I’d like to tell you why.
Ask For Jane follows a group of women who took matters into their own hands when abortion was illegal in most states throughout the 1960s. The film is based on a true story and is set in Chicago, where a group of college women created an underground network that helped women with unwanted pregnancies get abortions. The women were known as “The Jane Collective” because they referred to themselves as Jane and instructed women to call them on their secret landline and to “ask for Jane.” This was the code that was used to perform an estimated 11,000 safe abortions for women who couldn’t afford to travel to the few places where abortion was legal. We god damn f*cking love to see it.
A film that shows women banding together and building an incredibly organized and highly effective system that helps keep women safe and in control of their bodies is obviously very inspiring, but it also serves as a warning, or as producer Caroline Hirsch told Betches: “This is a reminder of what could happen.”
The opening scene of the movie shows a desperate pregnant woman punching herself in the stomach and eventually jumping off of a building in order to terminate her pregnancy. It also shows us young middle school girls who discuss drinking rat poison; one ends up dying as a result. Additionally, we see a character with slit wrists because she is pregnant and doesn’t feel she can go through with it. As we know, when women aren’t given access to safe, legal abortions, many of them turn to unsafe alternatives, which can tragically lead to death.
Abortion saves lives, and this film reminds us of the dire situation that led these women to doing what they did. While what they did is amazing, we hope we never have to do it again, because too many lives are at stake.
The specific story told in Ask For Jane is inspiring because it shows a particular group of women in a particular place who were able to overcome the law’s attempt to strip them of their freedoms, but the film as a whole shows us a dark world where this freedom wasn’t available to most women — a world we ourselves are heading towards today. Hirsch told me, “This couldn’t be any timelier. We had a screening in New York this past May and when we were finished, everyone’s phones lit up because what had happened in Alabama, where it would be made a criminal offense if a woman was seeking an abortion or had an abortion.”
The film is made by women, which is apparent by its authenticity and clear understanding of the nuances of feminism and autonomy. Hirsch told us, “Of course this movie would be made by women. If it was up to men, this movie would never have been made. And of course the cast is made of women because it’s a true story of women. There were women behind and in front of the camera.”
The film is written and directed by Rachel Carey, and the original concept came from the film’s lead actress Cait Cortelyou. And while the premise’s main focus is abortion, it also gives us a close look at how other issues of feminism played a major role in how women were denied agency over their own bodies during this time.
For example, the main character, Rose (played by Cortelyou), attempts to obtain birth control from her doctor so she can practice safe sex with her fiancé. However, her doctor refuses to give it to her before she gets married, and when she tries to protest, he says he would need to speak to her male fiancé about it. Another character, Joyce (played by Sophie von Haselberg) sits idly by in her hospital bed while a group of male doctors discuss with her husband whether or not they should do a procedure on her that would save her life but endanger the baby growing inside of her. Another main character, Janice (played by Cody Horn) sums the significance of all of this up by saying, “Women will never truly be liberated unless they can control whether or not they are pregnant.”
You can stream Ask For Jane on a variety of platforms including Amazon Prime, Apple TV, iTunes, DirecTV and
You know what to do.
America, land of the free, unless you’re a woman who wants an abortion. Per usual people are trying to get all up in other people’s business here in America. Like, WTF I thought we moved past this back in 1973 with that whole Roe v. Wade thing? You know, the one where the Supreme Court decided that abortion is legal and none of your damn business? Some people (aka “anti-choice activists”) just can’t move on, and find ways to make it harder, if not impossible, for a girl to go out there and make her own choices. Since Roe v. Wade is legal at the federal level, the only way that anti-abortion crazies get to pass laws are through the states. So before you start hooking up with your new Hinge guy you may want to find out what your options are in your state. Let’s be honest, he could turn out weird and who knows if you want to be tethered to him for like forever, forever.
Who TF is Stirring the Pot?
You ever wake up in the morning and think that had to have been a dream, no way that shitty thing actually happened irl. Bet that’s how a lot of people woke up feeling in Iowa this week after state legislators passed the “Heartbeat Ban” early in the morning. This is the strictest abortion law that has been passed to date, TY Iowa you suck. As you can guess by the name as soon as there is a heartbeat, no more abortion. And that happens somewhere around 6 weeks, which gives you no time at all to even realize you’re preggers. Like most people seeking an abortion prob weren’t planning to get pregnant so then why tf would they be checking to see if they were?
Types Of Laws To Watch Out For:
1. Laws Based On How Long You’ve Been Pregz
This week Iowa passed the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S. with their “heartbeat bill” a bill that bans abortion after a heartbeat is detected, usually around 6 weeks. Casual reminder many women don’t even realize they’re preg until 7-8 weeks, aka after your first missed period. While Iowa is the worst (congrats Iowa!) other states do have a variety of rules saying what is the acceptable time to get an abortion. The most common is at 20 weeks in states like Texas, Missouri, and Ohio. Slightly later at 24 weeks in Pennsylvania, New York, and a few other states. Then at viability for states including Illinois, Maine, and Washington. In case you aren’t a human calculator: You are pregg for 36 months so basically these laws prohibit abortion in the third trimester. 43 of the 50 states have these laws, so like, everyone.
2. Laws Based On Who Knocked You Up
Some states only let you get an abortion is you are a victim of rape or incest because that’s apparently the only legitimate way to not want to give birth. So like, if you weren’t violated you have to have a child even if you do not want to. Shout out to our betches in Ohio, because the state wants to pass legislation that would prohibit abortion even if you were raped. Ohio can go suck a dick because that is literally the worst thing I have ever heard. Anyway, Now feels like a good time to plug our Handmaid’s Tale recaps.
3. Laws Based Off Health Of The Mother
If your baby is killing you, or you or the fetus might be endangered if you carry the baby to term, you can still get an abortion pretty much everywhere. Yay? Tbh the fact that this is not literally legal in every state is disturbing me more than I am happy women can make the difficult decision to get an abortion for health reasons.
4. Laws That Make You Wait
Ok so this one had me shook. 27 states make women wait for a period of 24-72 hours before they can receive the procedure. So you go in a wreck because this is a huge life altering decision and then you talk to a counselor who says ok come back in a couple days and if you still want to do this we can. This means 2 trips to the doctor where you are prob taking off work and don’t want to be like “Hh yeah sorry boss gotta go abort a baby, so I won’t be at the meeting Tuesday or Thursday.” That’s also two times you have to walk past the inevitable protestors calling you a baby killer at the clinic. Seems like a lot of peer pressure to really think about what you are going to do… not like it’s been keeping you up at night for weeks already by the time you decide to go to the doctor.
5. Laws That Make It Expensive Af
Bad news for anyone with insurance (or without insurance – go get insurance!): it prob won’t cover all, or even part. of your abortion. You can purchase additional plans that cover insurance and if you live in a state that allows coverage for abortion, maybe think about getting it? You never know when you might need one – hence the “unplanned” part of “unplanned pregnancy”. But don’t even bother if you live in one of the 11 states that actually restrict private insurances’s ability to cover abortion. Also don’t even consider being uninsured and having an unplanned pregnancy because 32 states and DC don’t provide public funding for abortions. If that isn’t fucked up I don’t know what is.
Now that you’re fully pissed that Roe v Wade is essentially a hoax meant to make women feel like they have control of their bodies, you prob want to see what laws your state has. Hopefully you aren’t from Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky, or Mississippi because then you’re laws are all under attack anyways and may have total abortion bans in no time. In fact, many of these laws (hi Iowa) are specifically designed to go to the Supreme Court with the aim of getting Roe V. Wade overturned.
Again, we’re recapping The Handmaid’s Tale, and you should check it out.
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