Abortion Rights Are a Parenting Issue

As we brace ourselves for the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, we stand with you and demand reproductive justice.

The U.S. Supreme Court Issues Opinions
Abortion-rights activists chant during a rally in front of the Supreme Court on June 23, 2022 in Washington, DC. Photo: Getty Images/ Nathan Howard/Stringer

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" I spotted this question on a bulletin board in my daughters' school recently. The answers, posted on index cards with photos of different smiling kids, ranged from artist to veterinarian. But when I think about the future I wish for my girls and all our kids, what I want most is for them to be free. Free to decide who to love, how to identify, what books to read, and what is best for their bodies. Sounds simple, right? Not anymore.

Today, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to abortion with more than half of all states quickly moving to ban the procedure. As a parent, woman of color, and human being, I can't stay quiet. How can people be forced to give birth in a country that denies us support in the form of paid family leave, child care, and maternal mental health—and can't even guarantee that we'll be able to feed our babies?

We know that more than half of people who have abortions, are already mothers—yes, parents like you and me. For many, terminating a pregnancy is a choice they make to be able to care for the kids they already have. It's by no means an easy decision but one they contend with because we live in a nation that makes it tough to be a parent, especially for those who are already struggling to get by.

I say all this as someone who willingly chose to have children and has never regretted it for a second. In fact, it was a decision years in the making. My husband and I discussed the right time to start trying, what kind of support we could count on, the impact to our relationship and lifestyle, and the financial costs of expanding our family. It was a choice we made with eyes wide open and behind closed doors.

No one else got a say, not even my own mother, who made no secret of her desire to become a grandparent. Much less politicians with zero idea about my lived experience. That is because having a baby is deeply personal. It must be when you consider the steadily rising maternal mortality rate that forces Black women to weigh family planning decisions against the gut-wrenching fact that they are three times likelier to die from a pregnancy-related cause. For some women, an abortion becomes the only way to save themselves if their life is on the line.

While I had two healthy births, I can't help but think about the first time I became pregnant. It ended in a "missed miscarriage" that required me to get medical help. I still remember the brightly lit room where a group of attentive medical professionals calmed my nerves before performing a procedure to remove the pregnancy tissue. I was grateful to be in good hands in a safe environment. I wasn't worried that something so common as a D&C (dilation and curettage) could be construed as a crime and require an investigation because of its similarity to an abortion. But increased scrutiny is exactly what women will face in prohibition states, where they can be denied treatment for miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and pregnancy complications.

We saw it this week with an American woman visiting Malta, who had to be airlifted to another country because she was vacationing somewhere abortion is prohibited. Her story made the news but similar tales will largely go unheard as denying essential health care to women becomes the norm.

At Parents, we remain committed to telling your stories—all of them. We've always been there to support caregivers and guide them in raising children, but we also believe that all people should be able to make their own reproductive health choices. It is necessary if we want our children to continue dreaming about the future.

Grace Bastidas is the Editor-in-Chief of Parents. A bilingual New Yorker raising two daughters, she also hosts the podcast That New Mom Life. Before her current role, she was the founding editor and content director of Parents Latina, a multicultural brand reaching moms and dads across the country. She has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and New York, and has always been passionate about giving voice to underrepresented communities. Grace is proud to serve as an ambassador for the Good+ Foundation, a nonprofit working to break the cycle of family poverty.

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