President Donald Trump announced a new conservative justice to serve on the Supreme Court – one who is virtually guaranteed to overturn Roe v. Wade. As one of the few abortion providers in the state of Arizona I’m already well versed in what a post-Roe America will look like. Thanks to an onslaught of state laws that restrict when and how I am allowed to end a pregnancy, and political and financial pressures that have limited the number of medical professionals willing to learn how to perform abortions, terminating a pregnancy for any reason is already extremely difficult here. Removing that last fig leaf of legality may not have much impact on those who are marginalized already by race, geography or economics. But it will be a wake-up call on those who long claim to oppose abortion, yet still demand it be accessible for themselves when the time comes that they are the ones who need it.
Make no doubt about it – a significant number of those who come through the doors of my clinic consider themselves ”pro-life.” They explain to my staff in great detail how they oppose the right to choose, even as they themselves are making that very same personal choice. They sneer at the other patients around them, believing that their own cases are completely different because the other women are avoiding responsibility whereas they just can’t be pregnant right now. They insult my colleagues for doing their jobs, they malign my clinic because it is a place that exists just to perform abortions, they tell us they would prefer to be in a hospital or a doctors office or anywhere that separates them from the rest of the people doing exactly what they are doing – ending an unwanted pregnancy.
And yet they get the abortion. Every time. And then they leave and still they consider themselves “pro-life.”
Just like before Roe, making abortion illegal will not end these abortions, not even for those who will have voted for just such policy. A politician looking for an abortion for his mistress will find a doctor who will do it secretly. That well-connected Christian family who doesn’t want their pregnant daughter to lose her chance at a good future will find a physician willing to terminate her pregnancy just this once. The GOP business owner who thought she was done having children until that one surprise showed up will be able to find a way to take care of that through a contact if she looks hard enough.
But as for the others – the ones who oppose abortion in every circumstance except their own? They are the ones most likely to feel the impact of Roe when it falls.
Some would say they brought it on themselves. They would argue that this is what the right deserves for taking away a person’s legal right to bodily autonomy. But as a physician – and as a person who believes that carrying a pregnancy is something that cannot be forced on another human being against that person’s will – I will never support taking away any person’s right to terminate a pregnancy.
No, not even for the people who advocated to take it away themselves.
Dr. Gabrielle Goodrick is the owner and medical director of Camelback Family Planning, one of only four private abortion clinics left in Arizona. She also serves on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona.