More than a year has passed since then Roe v. Wade has been struck down, and abortion rights are clearly in serious crisis. Fifteen states have a total ban on abortion in effect and two others have a six-week ban. Most of the Southeast and Midwest are now an abortion desert, and pregnant people must travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to receive abortion care.
I have watched the escalating attacks on abortion rights with a mix of horror and outrage. I have experienced more than one abortion in my life, and for various reasons – because I was too young to have children, or because I did not have a stable relationship, or because I was sick at an early age and had complications. Every time I made this decision, I was confident it was the right one for me and I was fortunate to have access to the care I needed. I’m not ashamed of my abortions – I’m grateful.
Pregnancy is not always the magical miracle that anti-Semitists would have us believe. It is a complicated, messy and often dangerous medical reality that can have a variety of consequences for a person’s life and health. I have been an abortion rights activist for years; I was a co-founder A is for, a nonprofit organization that has been working to advance reproductive rights and eliminate abortion stigma for more than a decade. Now, in the tragedy that follows-roe In America, we see the real costs of restricting and banning abortion. I have been tirelessly committed to this fight since I was a teenager because I know that bodily autonomy without access to abortion is a fiction.
Increasingly, the health and lives of pregnant people are being put at risk by laws that have nothing to do with medicine but with an ideological fanaticism that ignores the realities of public health and punishes patients and their doctors.
In Texas, patients were denied standard, normal and essential medical procedures due to devastating complications such as premature urination, forcing them to carry dying fetuses in their bodies and risk sepsis, a life-threatening infection. Or forcing patients carrying fetuses with anencephaly, a fatal condition in which neither the brain nor the skull develops, to continue their pregnancies even though they know their baby will be stillborn. Where is respect for life in these cases?
But it’s about more than abortion, and that’s clearer today than ever before.
It turns out that banning abortion is pretty unpopular in America. In every single election since then where abortion has been on the ballot Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, legal abortion has won, even in so-called red states like Kansas and Kentucky. Legal abortion boasts Record high level of support; according to Pew, 61 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. This level of support is prompting Republicans to propose new terms for “for life“since the American electorate finally saw through the lie that it always was. It was never about life, but about control.
The same cannot be said for the increasing attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, particularly restrictions on trans minors’ access to gender-affirming care. Until now, almost 500 anti-LGBTQ laws were introduced in 2023, according to the ACLU, which tracks legislative attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.
84 of these bills in 23 states have been signed into law. Those from the “pro-life” group are particularly vile and hypocritical Wave of discriminatory draft laws that target transgender people, especially trans youth. Bans on public drag show performances, the requirement for schools to out transsexual young people to their parents, the ban on transsexual girls from participating in school sports – this is not about “protecting children”. It’s about bigotry, and it comes at a high cost to some of the most vulnerable among us. Half of trans and non-binary youth have seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, and trans youth report doing so higher rates of harassment.
“If you’re angry about Republicans’ erosion of abortion rights, you must also be outraged about the escalating attacks on queer and trans rights.”
— Martha Plimpton
The attitude of those who seek to deny the individual rights of anyone who is not white, Christian, cisgender, or heterosexual is consistently cloaked in the garb of religious morality. But it is a thin garment that we are all supposed to wear; one that attempts to wrap us all in the same dreary uniform and leaves no room for the amazing diversity of human life experiences that make each of us unique and valuable and worthy of dignity and respect. The fact that the United States currently has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world is immoral. That these rates are four times higher for women of color is immoral. The fact that trans children are terrorized and excluded is immoral.
If you’re angry about Republicans’ erosion of abortion rights, you must also be outraged about the escalating attacks on queer and trans rights. When you are not free to express your gender, when you are at risk of harm for simply being who you are, when you are forbidden from making decisions about what happens to your own body, whether it is an abortion or gender-affirming care , then your basic humanity has rejected this.
These are not separate issues – at their core, they are all about bodily autonomy. It is time for our movements to adopt this holistic framework. As my friend Amelia Bonow, co-founder of Shout Your Abortion, says, abortion is a shared responsibility. Likewise, the defense of bodily autonomy for each individual human being is denied.
That’s what A is For does. On October 1st we are hosting our annual fundraiser at 54 Below in New York City. Broadway Abortion Laws. This completely casual evening brings together the best of Broadway, karaoke, live auctions and surprise guests while raising important funds and awareness for reproductive justice. It is the Broadway community’s only fundraiser dedicated to abortion rights, and this year we have an intentional, focused theme: Bodily Autonomy for All.
“Safe, legal, and accessible abortion care allowed me to live the life I want, the way I want to live it. I am heartbroken and appalled that in states with abortion bans there are pregnant people who are denied this access.”
— Martha Plimpton
My friend and fellow A is For board member Jenn Lyon and I will co-host this unforgettable, star-studded evening in a spirit of solidarity and defiance to support abortion access and LGBTQ rights. Tony winners Bonnie Milligan, John Cameron Mitchell, Kelli O’Hara and Miriam Silverman are scheduled to appear, as well as Javier Muñoz, Carrie Preston, Michael Emerson, Ann Dowd and others. It is a single event on a single evening, but we hope it will be a powerful affirmation of the Broadway community’s unwavering commitment to bodily autonomy for all, regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation or pregnancy status.
Safe, legal, and accessible abortion care allowed me to live the life I want, the way I want to live it. I am heartbroken and appalled that in states with abortion bans there are pregnant people who are denied this access. Everyone deserves access to high-quality, compassionate healthcare. And while I’m heartened to see the increasing support for legal abortion across America in the shadow of roeIn the fall it is important that we use and expand this support. The right to bodily autonomy is sacrosanct, whether you are someone who needs an abortion, gender-affirming care, or simply wants to live your truth openly. “Physical autonomy for all” is the framework we need for a country in crisis. Let’s fight for it.