Letters 1/21: On reproductive justice

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Reproductive justice in 2021

Colorado voters decisively shot down a proposed abortion ban (Prop. 115) in the 2020 election, demonstrating continued support for legal access to essential health care. Messaging in favor of the ban spread harmful myths about abortion later in pregnancy, denying autonomy to pregnant people. In the face of continued attacks on reproductive health care, as well as Colorado’s position as a safe haven for abortion, we need to recenter the conversation around abortion in 2021 to one of destigmatization and action towards reproductive justice.

Abortion later in pregnancy occurs after 21 weeks of pregnancy and makes up about 1% of abortions in the United States. Despite the frequent demonization of people seeking this type of abortion, these abortions are predominantly sought in emergencies. For example, by a person who wants to carry out a pregnancy, but has received a devastating lethal fetal diagnosis, or by someone whose health is at risk. Colorado is one of few states to protect abortion later in pregnancy and Boulder is one of few cities with a clinic that provides this vital health care. 

Especially in light of President Trump appointing Supreme Court Justices with an eye on challenging Roe v. Wade and restricting abortion, as seen in the recently upheld limitation on abortion pill access during the pandemic, state and local reproductive justice efforts are more important than ever. We need to transition our public discourse about abortion from myth-filled debates over whether pregnant people deserve autonomy, to open conversations about reproductive health care and the preservation of Colorado as a haven for abortion. 

One in four women will seek an abortion in their lifetimes, and it’s time to move past rhetoric that seeks to stigmatize abortion and push reproductive health care into the shadows. I invite all Coloradans to join me in starting conversations with people in our lives about what reproductive justice means to us and to show support for people in accessing essential health care.

Sydney Welter/Boulder