Overturning Roe is a disgusting overreach by conservative politicians to rob birthing parents of bodily autonomy and force religious mores into a secular democracy. The anticipated decision will have horrible consequences for pregnant people, and for the children they birth.
Right now 75% of people who seek abortions are low-wage earners, many of whom already have children. Forcing these people to birth more children will plunge their families deeper into poverty. In a country where the child welfare system conflates poverty with abuse and neglect, we run the risk of the state terminating parental rights and seizing children whether their parents want that or not.
Systemic racism leads Black and Indigenous families to experience poverty at disparate rates. The child welfare system is already more likely to police and tear apart Black and Indigenous families, and overturning Roe will only exacerbate this structural problem, and land more BIPOC children in foster care.
Very few children are adopted out of foster care. Instead, these children are far more likely to suffer sexual abuse, run away, and suffer mental illness, including rates of PTSD twice as prevalent than in war veterans. More than half of foster care children experience arrest, and foster children are incarcerated at higher rates. One-third of unhoused people aged 18-25 spent time in the foster system. All of these will disproportionately befall Black and Native people.
There is simply no way to fairly claim that forced birth benefits babies and children. Instead, it strengthens cycles of abuse, poverty, mental illness, substance abuse, and dysfunction. More families will end up decimated unless we codify Roe v. Wade immediately and trust birthing parents to know what the right sized family is for themselves.
We must demand that Congress pass legislation to ensure that parents, and parents alone, are able to determine their family size.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.