LGBTQ people fear revocation of abortion rights

Josiah Ramos, a black transgender man, said he fears a Supreme Court decision overturning a longstanding precedent protecting abortion access will have a greater effect on transgender and nonbinary people, who already face barriers to receiving care. .

Josías Ramos.
Josías Ramos.Courtesy of Josías Ramos

“We should all have the right to decide what we want to do with our bodies,” said Ramos, 23, who is also co-director of Black Trans Blessings, a trans-led organization in New York City.

“I’m not ready to have a child,” he added. “So if I, God forbid, were to get pregnant and want an abortion, you’re basically trying to disenfranchise me… and that’s not fair.”

Monday night, Politico reported that a draft majority opinion written by Judge Samuel Alito showed that the court had voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision protecting access to abortion, and another similar decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the draft in a statement on Tuesday.

The opinion, which is not yet final, would give states the ability to regulate or ban abortion. If Roe is capsized, 23 states would institute bans, according to an NBC News analysis of data from the Center for Reproductive Rights. Thirteen states have so-called triggering bans, which would prohibit the proceeding as soon as the precedent is overturned.

Opinion could change in the next two months before it’s officially released, but LGBTQ people and advocates fear the consequences it could have. Advocates say LGBTQ people are already disproportionately affected by abortion restrictions due to higher rates of medical discrimination and poverty.

Some LGBTQ people also fear the impacts the decision could have on other LGBTQ rights-related rulings, such as Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015, and Lawrence v. Texas, which found that state laws criminalized consensual same-sex relationships. -Unconstitutional sexual activity in 2003.

Paige Alexandria, a queer woman living in Austin who had an abortion when she was 25, said queer and trans people will be among the first to be affected by the Supreme Court’s opinion if it becomes law in the land.

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Now 31, he is a board member of The Lilith Fund, an abortion fund in Texas, and said that “when Roe falls,” some people will be able to travel out of state to get abortions when they need them.

“But those who cannot secure the financial and logistical resources they need will be forced to carry on with pregnancies they are not ready for,” she said.

Several studies also suggest that LGBTQ people would be disproportionately affected by abortion restrictions.

A 2019 study found that all sexual minority groups who can become pregnant, except lesbians, are more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to experience an unintended pregnancy, teen pregnancy, or miscarriage. Bisexual women were three times more likely to have an abortion than heterosexual women.

Another 2019 study of trans, non-binary, and gender diverse people found that 36 percent of respondents considered trying to terminate a pregnancy on their own, without clinical supervision. The study said this “may reflect formidable barriers to abortion care in a facility, as well as a strong desire for privacy and autonomy in the abortion process,” and that efforts are needed to connect transgender people “with information about safe and effective methods of self-abortion”. -controlled abortion and dismantle the barriers to clinical abortion care….”

Ramos said she is concerned that the language people are using to speak about opinion, describing abortion as a “women’s issue,” will further exacerbate medical transphobia.

“It’s already having an impact,” Ramos said. “Many people don’t know that men can get pregnant and non-binary people…. The most important thing is that we are being ostracized because we do not enter the conversation.

Barbie Hurtado, a Planned Parenthood Texas volunteer and reproductive justice advocate, said the repeal of Roe would also have an effect on transgender and non-binary people seeking transition-related services, because some Planned Parenthood clinics and Independent abortion providers provide care like the hormone. therapy.

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“So if abortion clinics are closing, that means trans people can’t access that care either,” said Hurtado, who uses gender-neutral pronouns. They added that transgender people receive other care at abortion clinics, such as Pap smears and cervical and breast cancer screenings, but if abortion clinics close, there will be fewer places where they feel safe receiving that care. .

Some legal experts fear how the decision could be used in states that are in the midst of legal battles over laws that prohibit gender-affirming care for trans minors. In July, a judge from Arkansas blocked a law banning gender-affirming health care for minors pending the outcome of a lawsuit, and civil rights groups have sued to stop a similar law in alabama

Anthony Michael Kreis, an assistant professor of law at Georgia State University, said there is an affinity between abortion and gender-affirming care.

“Both are issues of bodily autonomy, both are medical decisions, and both are deeply personal decisions,” he said. “So the right to privacy should cover both. If the right to privacy is eroded, and Roe is a piece in the jurisprudential puzzle being solved, that is a less significant and more weighty precedent weighing in favor of trans rights and the right to health care, the right to gender expression.

He said the right to privacy is like an umbrella that covers a variety of other rights besides abortion, such as the right to access birth control, the right to same-sex sexual intimacy, and the right to marry.

“The court is about half a step away from taking away these other rights,” he said. Although he is hesitant to say that LGBTQ rights are in jeopardy as a result of overturning major abortion rights precedents, he said the foundation is “weakened.”

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Josh Roth and Andy Fontaine.
Josh Roth and Andy Fontaine.Courtesy of Josh Roth

The threat of leaked opinion eroding marriage equality has some gay couples scrambling to figure out how it will affect their weddings and family plans. Josh Roth, who lives in Orlando, Florida, and raises funds for the LGBTQ political advocacy group Victory Fund, said he and his fiancee planned to marry in February. But now they wonder if they will have to legally marry first.

“We know we’re not in a state that’s friendly to us, so the concern is, do we get married now and just hope that maybe all the marriages that took place before a certain decision date occurs will come to pass in the future? ” Roth said. “And I think one of the worst parts for us is why? Why, for what I love, do I have to have these concerns and other people do not?

However, legal experts do not believe that the doom of marriage equality is imminent. Mary Bonauto, who advocated for same-sex couples in Obergefell and serves as director of the civil rights project at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, or GLAD, said advocates know anti-LGBTQ groups are “trying to push us back ”. ”, and roll back LGBTQ rights.

He noted that Alito has expressed his opinion that Obergefell should be overturned. In 2020, he and Judge Clarence Thomas both indicated that they would be open to reverse it.

“Certainly Lawrence and Obergefell remain objective,” he said, also referring to the decision that struck down laws criminalizing same-sex sexual activity. But he said if those precedents are challenged, he believes LGBTQ advocates will prevail. “It would be outrageous to reverse any of those, because they are constitutionally correct,” he said. “They are good for people, they are good for children and families, and they are an example of how to get the government out of the way you live your life.”

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