Following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, many cis-women have expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling, which has upended their rights to safe abortion and reproductive health care. However, activists argue that cis-gender women are not the only ones affected by the ruling and that the conversation must include those who identify differently.
Trans men are attempting to demonstrate that the limit on abortion is not just a women’s issue, and activists argue that those who claim this do not have a complete picture. According to activists, by focusing on the effects of abortion rights on women’s pains alone, we undermine the experiences of those who identify differently.
Bryan Eliot, a non-binary transgender man living in New York City, spoke with ABC news about his need for an abortion in 2015 after a sexual assault and how he felt he was being discriminated against based on his sexual identity. His experiences made him understand the need for conversations on abortion rights to be more inclusive.
“Trans men who are open about having these conversations are open because we have nothing else to lose,” Ellicot said to ABC News. “I want to support people, but I also want to validate that my feelings are part of this conversation.”
A group of researchers who provide surveys to non-hospital abortion providers estimated that as of 2017 alone, five hundred and thirty men who identify as trans men or people who identify with either gender had abortions. However, the trans people who need this care reside in areas where abortion bans are most prevalent.
Even before the abortion ban, it was difficult for many trans and non-binary people to get an abortion. According to a National LGBTQ Task Force report, nearly one in every five people have been denied medical care because they are transgender or gender nonconforming.
Medical practitioners are calling for inclusive language to acknowledge everyone with reproductive organs. Dr. Heather Irobunda, an obstetrician-gynecologists who served in the US army and is pro-abortion rights, noted that there are a lot of clinics in the US that still call themselves women’s health clinics, and this makes trans men feel like they do not belong.
“If you are a trans man, you’re like, ‘I’m not a woman,'” Dr. Irobunda said to ABC News. “So, is this a place for me?
As the conversations around abortion rights crescendos, those in the LGBTQ+ community are working to change the language used in the abortion rights debate to ensure that Americans have a complete view of the issue. Cazembe Murphy Jackson, a former community organizer for the Rising Majority in Georgia, told ABC News that such discussions are critical.
“We say men can have abortions, and I think it’s a provocative statement and also one that can shift the narrative,” Jackson said. “I think had I been denied access to my abortion, I’m just not sure if I would still be here.”
Source: ABC News