Healthcare choices have been taken from the hands of millions in the U.S. after the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision granted pregnant people the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. Yet now, states have the power to regulate and ban abortion, and many are doing so. Several have made it illegal to obtain an abortion, with very few exceptions.
With all the new restrictions, understanding what choices are still within your control can be confusing and scary. Yet, taking charge of your health is one of life’s most important responsibilities. Having the power to choose how to care for yourself is essential to independence. Here are some tips for preserving the ability to make your own decisions.
1. Use Birth Control with Long-Term Protection
Long-acting hormonal birth control methods are a game changer for those trying to control whether or not they become pregnant. If you struggle to remember to take the pill every day, consider your other longer-lasting options. An IUD or a contraceptive implant can last three to ten years following insertion. This longer window of protection may bring peace of mind if you’re worried about limited choices if you become pregnant.
A few options for birth control are more permanent. Some women may undergo a tubal ligation, commonly called getting your tubes tied. The fallopian tubes are cut, tied, and then blocked during the procedure, eliminating any future chance of pregnancy. Not all women can receive this surgery, so speak with your healthcare provider about your options. A vasectomy for men is another effective way to prevent pregnancy permanently.
2. Take Advantage of Online Resources
The internet allows you to greatly expand your access to resources regarding pretty much everything, including healthcare. Having a doctor you trust is integral to health independence, and the internet can help you find the right fit. Additionally, online healthcare providers make receiving care more accessible, especially if you’re living in a place with limited options.
The web is a goldmine for important information about your healthcare options. For example, if you need to get an abortion, an online search can help you find out where to go. This is especially true if you live in a state prohibiting the procedure. The American Civil Liberties Union has compiled a list of links to reproductive freedom sites. The website includes information on clinics, laws, emergency contraception, global health, advocacy groups, abortion funds, and more.
3. Stay Informed
The rules of today’s world are changing at a rapid rate. New state and federal laws prohibiting access to abortion have become increasingly common in recent years. Keeping up with the news cycle is crucial to being an informed citizen, which is also essential for a functioning democracy. Follow local and statewide media outlets to stay in the loop on proposed legislation in your community and state. Attending local government meetings is another effective way to keep tabs on what’s happening in your community.
Staying informed gives you a better chance to speak out on issues you care about. For example, your state legislature might propose a bill banning access to the abortion pill, which recently happened in Wyoming. It could be too late if you don’t find out about this until the bill becomes law. On the other hand, being aware before the vote gives you time to contact elected officials and voice your opinion. It also grants more opportunities to spread the word and possibly turn your opposition into an effective movement for change.
The right to vote is a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Generations of people fought for the ability to cast a ballot and elect leaders they believed in. Using that right by voting in local, state, and federal elections is part of being a responsible member of society. You get to have a say in the people that represent you and your fellow citizens. All elections matter, and those elected to positions of power ultimately get to make decisions affecting millions of lives.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade put the power of choice in the hands of state legislatures. Voting in statewide races is essential for electing people that believe in bodily autonomy and personal freedom. Skipping an election could hand the win to a candidate with an agenda to strip more people of their rights. The ballot box is the most effective way to make your voice heard and work toward a better future. Voting is also a respectful way to pay tribute to those who fought for the right to do so.
The Power to Choose
The overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022 impacted the health of millions of people in the U.S. The right to choose is now decided based on what state you live in rather than being federally protected freedom. Losing that important personal choice makes it challenging to protect your health independence, but it’s not impossible. You still have options when it comes to making the right decisions for your life.
If you live in a state where you still have access to abortion, find ways to support those facing restrictions. That support could look like donating to an abortion fund or participating in protests speaking out against new restrictive laws. While it’s easy to feel helpless, remember that you still deserve the right to do what’s best for your body.