Content warning: This article includes discussion of sexual assault and abortion.
This past summer, Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion, was overturned. States can now choose if abortion should be legal. States that do allow abortion can also heavily restrict access to the procedure. This is seen by many as a women’s rights disaster. While this is something that negatively impacts women, they are not the only groups affected. LGBTQ+ people, specifically transgender men and non-binary individuals, are also affected by the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Fully transitioning takes a very long time, and some transgender people choose not to have sex-change surgery. Others might not be able to afford the surgery or have it covered by their health insurance. As a result, some trans men do have uteruses and can still become pregnant. Due to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, transgender men and non-binary individuals will not be able to terminate pregnancies. This violates their expression of gender and can even be unsafe, as most facilities that help with pregnancy are geared toward cisgender women.
Even if a transgender man or non-binary person partakes in safe sex or abstains from sex, they are still at risk. The William Institute School of Law states that transgender people are four times more likely to be victims of violence than cisgender people. The violence mentioned includes sexual assault.
Furthermore, the Human Rights Campaign, an organization dedicated to fighting for LGBTQ+ individuals, did a study in which LGBTQ+ people who have been pregnant were found to be more likely to have unwanted pregnancies than cisgender heterosexual women. The overturning of Roe v. Wade can also be seen as a racial issue. The19th.org, a news organization dedicated to reporting on gender, politics, and policy shows evidence for this claim. It states that trans people, especially trans people of color are more likely to struggle with job discrimination and poverty, making leaving a position less of an option.
“My thoughts on abortion are that it is a private medical decision that individuals should be able to make with their health care providers,” says Dr. James Waters, associate professor in the Department of Biology and the Neuroscience program at Providence College. “Fundamentally I think it’s a question about bodily autonomy and I believe we should have the right to make decisions about what happens with our own body.” Dr. Waters also stated that while the decision most immediately impacts people with uteruses, the loss of rights will ultimately affect every person, regardless of their sex or gender identity.
Roe v. Wade being overturned isn’t just a woman’s problem, nor is it just an LGBTQ+ issue. It is a humanitarian issue because it takes away one’s right to choose what does and does not happen to their body. While many say people can choose when they get pregnant, that is not always the case, as evident in the statistics discussed prior. While abortion is now illegal in some states, I have faith that someday people’s right to choose will be restored. Until that day, can we truly say that the U.S. is “the land of the free” when it is suppressing the rights of so many of its citizens?