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Invisible Women: Roe v Wade

Invisible Women
Invisible Women: Roe v Wade
By Caroline Criado Perez • Issue #102 • View online
My dear GFPs,
I had not been intending to write this week, as I’ve been really snowed under with podcast work, but well, then America lost its mind and I couldn’t not write a brief note.
I’ve also included some quick playground-related homework, and some much-needed Poppy pics of the week at the end for you x

GFPs, the news about Roe v Wade being overturned is devastating.
I’ve said this before, but the stats are so clear on this: banning abortion Does. Not. Result. In. Fewer. Abortions.
Notably, rates have diverged between countries with fewer restrictions and those with more: Between 1990–94 and 2015–19, the average abortion rate in countries with generally legal abortion (excluding China and India) declined by 43 percent. By contrast, in countries with severe restrictions on abortion, the average abortion rate increased by around 12 percent. (Source)
What abortion bans do categorically result in are:
An increase in maternal mortality, both from desperate women – and let’s not forget, children – who will seek unsafe abortions when there are no legal abortions available, and women who develop complications in their pregnancy but cannot access the healthcare they need because anti-abortion laws mean doctors won’t treat them.
This is not alarmism. This is not scare-mongering. These are young women and girls who have died because we refused them treatment. And more will come. This is now the future facing women in America and any pregnant woman who happens to be visiting America if something goes wrong with her pregnancy.
And again, this is not an exaggeration. This literally just happened to an American woman on holiday in Malta.
US woman left traumatised after Malta hospital refuses life-saving abortion | Abortion | The Guardian
Doctors have denied an American woman on holiday in Malta a potentially life-saving abortion, despite saying her baby had a “zero chance” of survival after she was admitted to hospital with severe bleeding in her 16th week of pregnancy.
Despite an “extreme risk” of haemorrhage and infection, doctors at the Mater Dei hospital in Msida told Andrea Prudente that they would not perform a termination because of the country’s total ban on abortion.
And let’s be clear. This is a woman who wants her baby. But her baby is going to die. And she needs treatment if she isn’t going to die too – which is what happened to Savita Halappanavar in Ireland.
On This Day: Savita Halappanavar dies after being denied an abortion in Galway
Savita was 31 years old when she died. Her baby was never born.
As well as resulting in an increase in maternal mortality, abortion bans also result in an increase in female incarceration – including of grieving women who have suffered a devastating miscarriage. Women who have suffered a horrific loss – and then get imprisoned for years for something over which they had no control. Again, this is not scare-mongering. This is simply what happens.
The women who get life in jail after suffering miscarriages | World News | Sky News
And it’s already happening in the US – there’s been a three-fold increase in women being imprisoned for miscarriages in the US since 2006. This will only get worse following this Supreme Court decision.
An Oklahoma woman's jail sentence for manslaughter after a miscarriage highlights an 'extreme acceleration' in prosecuting pregnancy over the last 16 years
As someone who has experienced the pain and trauma of a miscarriage, this horrifies me. The thought that on top of the grief and fear I’m already experiencing, to have to worry about explaining myself to the state, who might lock me up if they were unsatisfied with my answers? It is barbaric.
I am also someone who is at high risk for an ectopic pregnancy. This is when a foetus grows outside the womb. If your pregnancy is ectopic, your foetus cannot survive – and sometimes it can kill you. Ectopic pregnancies can sometimes dissolve naturally – but if it doesn’t, and the foetus is not medically removed, it can cause a life-threatening rupture and bleed. An ectopic pregnancy always requires immediate, life-saving, medical attention. Will women in America be able to rely on accessing this treatment now? Don’t bet on it.
Women die after Nicaragua's ban on abortions
Two weeks after Olga Reyes danced at her wedding, her bloated and disfigured body was laid to rest in an open coffin — the victim, her husband and some experts say, of Nicaragua’s new no-exceptions ban on abortion.
Reyes, a 22-year-old law student, suffered an ectopic pregnancy. The fetus develops outside the uterus, cannot survive and causes bleeding that endangers the mother. But doctors seemed afraid to treat her because of the anti-abortion law, said husband Agustin Perez. By the time they took action, it was too late.
This is an issue that primarily faces American women, or any pregnant woman who visits America (or is at risk of becoming pregnant while in America) – but men of the world, let me assure you, the women in your country are watching on with horror and fear, as they see how women’s rights can be so easily rolled back. We know we can never be complacent. We know our rights could be taken away too. We’re scared.
I would just like to conclude by pointing out the desperate irony at the heart of all this, which is that the US has the WORST maternal mortality rate of any developed country. And that, unlike everywhere else in the world, it is actually increasing. Add to that the fact that the US is one of only six countries in the world without national paid leave – that includes maternity, paternity or caring for sick children, and that access to childcare is practically non-existent.
Come back to us when you’ve got serious about supporting the children who already exist in the world, and the women who care for them. Until then, don’t you dare call yourself pro life.
PS: if you want to help American women now, here is a list of places you can donate to help them continue to access the medical treatment they need:
Roe v Wade struck down: Where to donate to abortion funds right now | The Independent
PPS: Shortly after I wrote this, I listened to Sarah Ditum’s incredibly powerful exchange with a pro-life Democrat on The Nolan Show on BBC Five Live. You can catch up here from 2 hours 18 minutes in:
Stephen Nolan - 25/06/2022 - BBC Sounds
Only low-point was the moment where we inexplicably cut to some guy called Dave whose position can pretty much be summed up as:
Sarah Ditum
@CCriadoPerez Why do women not simply have a half a baby
Thanks, Dave. We appreciate your helpful input.
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Homework
GFPs, I do have one more thing to add – it’s not about abortion, instead it’s about another way we teach girls that they don’t matter.
If you listened to last week’s episode of Visible Women, you will have heard us trying and failing to get the UK’s Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi, to engage on the topic of fixing playgrounds for girls. We closed the show with a request for YOU, our dear listeners, to contact him as well, to make sure this issue gets to the top of his inbox.
We’ve now made this super easy for you. Simply click here, wait for the banner at the top of the page to load, and then click on THAT to generate a pre-populated email, ready to send to Nadhim Zahawi. Let’s fix this, GFPs ❤️
Visible Women with Caroline Criado Perez - Tortoise
Poppy pic of the week
I don’t know about you, but I’m in dire need of some Poppy pics – have a whole load of them
That’s it for this week – until next time, my dear GFPs xoxoxo
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Caroline Criado Perez

Keeping up with the gender data gap (and whatever else takes my fancy). Like the Kardashians, but with more feminist rage. Plus, toilet queue of the week.

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