Keep your laws out of women’s bodies

A recent proposal in the Iowa Senate to ban abortions after a heartbeat is detected illustrates how women’s reproductive rights are still under attack.


Maddi Shinall

Photographer Maddi Shinall shares her opinion against the proposed heartbeat bill.

Maddi Shinall, Photo Editor

It has become abundantly clear that Republicans are no ally to women or their reproductive rights. Republicans in the Iowa Senate were responsible for approving a so-called “heartbeat bill”  on Wednesday, Feb. 28 that would ban women from having an abortion after a heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

However, women should be able to decide what they do with their own bodies. That should not be controversial. But yet, here we are.

Women should not be subjected to this or any law that takes away their right to choose what they do with their own bodies. If you need ‘proof’ of that, besides the fact that it should be common logic that women are in fact capable of making their own decisions, the Supreme Court has already ruled on this issue in Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court said that a woman has the constitutional right to make her own healthcare decisions, including abortions, without politicians interfering.  It has been established, the Supreme Court has ruled on it but there are still politicians trying to restrict women’s control over their own reproductive health.

If you don’t like abortions, then don’t get one. Easy as that. What you shouldn’t do is try to stop a woman from having access to one simply because of your opinion on what she should do with her body. Besides that, it’s already been shown that making abortions illegal doesn’t actually lower the number of abortions, it just increases the number of unsafe abortions.  A 2016 study published in the medical journal, the Lancet, and funded in part by the World Health Organization found little evidence that restrictive abortion laws decreased the number of abortions. In countries where abortion is always illegal or legal only in cases to save the woman’s life, the average abortion rate is 37 out of 1000 women. In countries where abortion is legal in most to all cases, the average abortion rate is 34 out of 1000 women. This shows that instead of not getting an abortion at all in places where it’s illegal, women will instead turn to unsafe methods to end a pregnancy.

Ironically, it seems that the people who call the loudest for small government and less regulation are often also those who call for more laws policing women’s bodies. People who want to cut funding for sex education, teen pregnancy prevention and contraception access are also the ones who push to restrict women’s access for abortion. If people who are anti-abortion actually wanted to cut down on the number of abortions in this state, in this country, they should actually expand funding for sex ed, contraception and teen pregnancy prevention.  For example, in Colorado, the teen pregnancy rate fell 40 percent and their abortion rate fell 42 percent simply by giving teens access to free birth control. California slashed their teen pregnancy rate in half by implementing comprehensive, medically-accurate sex education. But people against abortions are either too busy tirading against choice or too dead-set in their own beliefs to see that.

Besides the bill being awful for women’s rights, it could lead to other consequences.  The Iowa Board of Regents has recently come out against the bill because the University of Iowa’s obstetrics and gynecology residency program could lose its accreditation with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education if the bill becomes law. Iowa Senate minority leader Janet Petersen, says this bill could also cause the program to shut down entirely. Fewer resident OB-GYN graduate students would come to the University of Iowa so fewer would stay and practice in Iowa. This is the only OB-GYN residency program in the state, and losing it in addition to this abortion ban would be disastrous for women’s healthcare in the state.

Women’s bodies have become ideological battlegrounds, but that needs to end now. Women’s reproductive rights aren’t up for grabs and their bodies aren’t bargaining chips for politicians to use to promote their anti-choice agenda.  So, please, keep your laws out of women’s bodies. I, along with millions of other women, would greatly appreciate it.