Alabama, Missouri, Georgia, Mississippi and Ohio have all passed legislation commonly known as “heartbeat bills,” effectively banning abortions after as early as six weeks of pregnancy/gestation. Alabama’s is the strictest, outlawing abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.
As the abortion debate continues, LGBTQIA-plus members are being neglected. Many news sources are writing about the anti-choice legislation as if it is a women’s-only issue.
It is necessary to acknowledge that these new conservative laws overwhelmingly and appallingly affect women, particularly women of color and those with lower incomes. It is also essential we acknowledge that women aren’t the only people at risk of losing authority over their bodies with abortion bans and more-limited healthcare access.
Our community knows (or should know) that uteruses do not only belong to cisgender women, but also to a variety of other identities. Transmen in our community carry children, as do nonbinary and intersex folks.
While some organizations are shifting language around abortion, including Planned Parenthood — stating on its website, “Millions of people face unplanned pregnancies every year, and about 4 out of 10 of them decide to get an abortion — social media is still a place where organizations and individuals can be found using the word “woman” to encompass all those affected by the abortion laws.
Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims (D-182nd Dist), in several statements, used only “women” when speaking about anti-choice protesters. In his apology, he stated, “I’m angry that women can’t access the care they need and deserve.”
No statistical analysis is available regarding how many men have received abortions or experienced pregnancy. However, Australia’s 2014 official Medicare statistics revealed 54 men gave birth.
A lack of research and understanding adds to the absence of representation of transgender, intersex and nonbinary folks in a conversation about abortion.