“The Supreme Court seemed poised on Wednesday to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, based on sometimes tense and heated questioning at a momentous argument in the most important abortion case in decades.” – New York Times, 12/1/21
Living in a time of increasing extreme weather events and decreasing reproductive rights can be a real drag. It means more preparation for unpredictable emergencies caused by the dual crises of climate change and lack of access to essential medical care. But it doesn’t have to be as stressful as it sounds. Though not ideal, there are still options in these dire circumstances, like using mattresses as makeshift rafts and getting back-alley abortions. Oh, wait—I just realized I don’t have a contingency plan for a quickly approaching scenario: If all the back alleys are flooded, where will I get an abortion?
How about the internet? Pretty soon, doctors probably won’t be allowed to prescribe abortion pills anymore, but I’m sure I could still get them online. Those should work just fine. However, I won’t know for sure if they will work just fine, because you never really know what you’re getting from an unregulated online pharmacy or the Dark Web. Hmmm, I’ll also need water to wash those pills down, but as rising global temperatures lead to the growth of excess algae and deadly pathogens in water supplies around the world, there’s less and less certainty I will have some when I need it. I could try taking them without water, but I guess that could be dangerous. Imagine choking on black-market abortion pills because there’s no clean drinking water. Awkward!
Okay, next idea: home. I could just research how to give myself an abortion in my living room, problem solved. That is if I can get online. Or charge my phone or laptop. Power outages have been more and more frequent with the extreme cold spells we’ve been having. So I guess I might not be able to look up that information if I need it. Or be able to see what I’m doing if it’s dark. Or keep my home at a tolerable temperature while I attempt the procedure. And as we all know—or soon will—nothing makes a do-it-yourself abortion during a winter weather emergency more unpleasant than the cold speculum. Brrr!
Maybe I could ask Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, or Elon Musk to shoot me off this dying planet and into outer space, where the streets aren’t flooded, and the US government hasn’t—to the best of my knowledge—made abortion illegal yet. I could just take a space taxi, see a space doctor, get a space abortion, and return to Earth in time for that evening’s wildfire. Those guys seem to only shoot themselves or other rich guys into space, though. I could maybe convince even one of them to put a small fraction of their wealth into developing realistic, scalable solutions for the climate crisis and resisting illegal limitations on reproductive freedom, so I don’t have to deal with this problem. Still, I know how far-fetched and absurd that plan sounds. Forget it.
As a last resort, I guess I could just try to go through with a pregnancy that I don’t want, isn’t safe, or isn’t viable. But ugh, who has the time? We almost had a federally guaranteed right to paid family leave (not to mention vital environmental protections), but a seventy-four-year-old man who lives on a yacht, drives a Maserati, has a net worth of over $7 million, and a last name literally pronounced “mansion” was worried about the country spending too much money on luxuries.
Well, no contingency plan I’ve come up with seems super doable, so I’m stumped. But I’m sure there will be other options for reproductive health care even if (when?) all the back alleys are flooded. So what if extreme weather poses a constant mortal danger to humans, more and more limitations are being put on reproductive rights, power outages are increasingly frequent, clean drinking water is disappearing, space abortions are inaccessible at this time, politicians are rejecting environmental protections for their own financial gain, and we have no time to recover from being pregnant and/or having children? Wealthy white men like Bezos, Branson, Musk, and Manchin (and his like-minded government colleagues) have the power and resources to offer solutions to these existential threats. With their track records so far, is there any question how things will turn out?