Roe v. Wade overturned: It’s not really about the children

Published on: June 24, 2022 1:29 PM EDT|Updated on: July 13, 2022 3:08 PM EDT

Own Babiuch, 10, is held up by his father, Chris, during a protest after Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court.

I know many people who are rejoicing today that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, taking away the constitutional right to have an abortion.

These are good, nice, mostly religious people who believe that the decision will protect scores of unborn children. That’s what they believe, no amount of science or reason is going to talk them out of it and I’m not going to try.

But I will push back on — and even shout it from the rafters — the idea that you can care about the life of a person before they were born and not do anything to protect the health and safety of those children after birth. And, in some ways, go out of the way to harm them.

You can’t support that and tell me it’s about the children.

You can’t believe that lives are sacred in the womb but don’t deserve health care while in the hospital with their families after birth. You can’t consider that womb a sacred vessel and deny the person whose body it is the services they might need to care for their child. If you did, you’d believe in universal healthcare. In not gutting government benefits of their parents. In raising the minimum wage. In affordable housing. In safe schools.

But too many don’t believe in these things and have no right to say it’s about the children.

The Supreme Court justices don’t get to strike down restrictions on concealed weapons, even as Texas law enforcement scrambles to explain how guns didn’t stop the slaughter of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, and not connect the dots. Children don’t stop needing care the minute they take their first breaths. They need a place to live. Food to eat. Health care. An education.

I think you know that the people who will most be affected by the end of Roe v. Wade are the people who might need that help; a New York Times story noted that most of those seeking abortions are poor and already have children. The most wealthy and privileged among us will still find ways to get safe abortions. They will be able to travel to states like Maryland, where abortions are still legal, to pay for their procedures and afford recovery after. And those who cannot afford it, including the people who live in states where abortion services were all but abolished even before today, will not be able to.

So aren’t those children as valuable as the others? Maybe it’s not about the children.

If it’s not about the children, what is it about? Control? Authoritarian rule? A permanent underclass? I’m not trying to get all conspiracy theorist, but probably. The alleged notes in Supreme Court documents that listed the need for a supply of domestic babies for adoption turned out to not to be true, but there are a lot of people who dismissively say, “Well, just give the babies up for adoption.” Like pregnancy is easy. Like everyone has health care and time off. And therapy.

And it’s not like every baby born would have a family, let alone a qualified and healthy one, just waiting to take them in. My son came to me in a kinship adoption, meaning he was born into my family through foster care, but my late husband and I were originally licensed to adopt from among a pool of older children. And older kids, those with disabilities — and those who aren’t white — wait longer.

So maybe it’s not about the children?

Because if it were about the children, the same people who want them to be born would want them to be born into supported families. They would not cast people who are struggling financially as freeloaders looking for a handout while forcing them to raise more children. Who does that help? Does it make you feel better about yourselves? Do you feel more pious? Do you feel like you’ve solved a problem that doesn’t directly affect you so now you can go back to your life?

I don’t know everything that’s going to happen now. But I do know that a lot of families — existing families and the children they may now bring into the world — are going to suffer if there is not economic and moral support for them. You can’t claim to love babies and not care what happens to them.

Unless it’s not about the children?

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