The Dissolution of Healthcare Access in America

Riley Justice "RJ" (she/her), Journalistschoo

On the Saturday of October 2, Denver’s Capitol Hill and the rest of the United States saw thousands of people march in the name of reproductive rights. This march was sparked by the passing of the Texas heartbeat bill, which declares that abortion is no longer legal after six weeks of preganancy. The heartbeat bill abruptly cut off reproductive rights in the state of Texas, and the suddenness of its effects is what drove the immediate large marches and outrage by pro-choice Americans. 


I attended the Womxn’s March in Denver with my sisters, mom, and several friends and neighbors. I was driven to attend the march based on my own staunch belief that each person should be able to make their own choice in regards to their own body, but I discovered much more about reproductive laws and the inclusivity of reproductive movements while attending the rally. 


Reproductive rights include far more people than women. Any person with a uterus, including transgender people, people of color, immigrants, and the LGBTQ+ community are affected by reproductive laws. In fact, marginalized communities are far more disproportionately affected by reproductive laws in comparison to middle class white women. It comes down to the fact that abortion is more than a religious belief, it is a necessary healthcare that all should have access to. Marginalized communities typically have less access to healthcare resources, lower incomes, and are forced to work longer hours in order to provide basic necessities for them and their families. For people in these communities, not having access to abortion healthcare can be crippling. 


This leads to the issue of abortion rights being slowly chipped away at for years. Before joining the rally, I was under the impression that the threat to Roe v. Wade was a recent development that had come into play with the recent Trump Administration and his additions to the Supreme Court. I was unaware that the Texas heartbeat bill was not, in fact, the primary bill to remove access to abortion healthcare. It was simply the most publicized because of its suddenness. Abortion access has been slowly dissolved in southern conservative states over the course of decades, through one small restrictive law at a time. There hasn’t been the same amount of pushback against these smaller laws because they are flying under the radar; in other words, people don’t know they’re happening. 


Roe v. Wade has been a constant source of stability for as long as I’ve been alive, but this precedent no longer holds a cemented standing in today’s Supreme Court. Aside from this being a personal issue, in which I believe I should make choices about my own body, this is a major problem for marginalized communities. Many people in these communities don’t have the privilege to take time off of work to travel to different states in order to have safe abortions, much less protest the infringements on their healthcare rights. It comes down to all of us to bring accurate information about our healthcare rights out from lobbying special interests, and into the wider media and our public education. We can no longer rely on precedent court cases to protect our rights; we must do it ourselves. We must bring these discussions between politicians out from behind closed doors because people are unaware of the healthcare decisions being made on their behalf. And to emphasize: abortion is healthcare. We need education and we need to support all people who need healthcare, including both privileged and marginalized peoples.