Our right as women to body autonomy: Women in Perth speak out about how US abortion law is felt by all

The ripple effect of a decision made last week in the US Supreme Court has been felt worldwide, especially by Perth women who have endured the ordeal of having an abortion.

Announced in the early hours of Friday, June 24, the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling overturned Americans’ constitutional right to abortion.

The decision means individual states in the US can now legally prohibit or restrict abortion.

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28-year-old Perth woman Emily Elliot said she was “heartbroken” after hearing the announcement.

“I hate to use this word, but after hearing the decision was reversed, I was so triggered,” said Ms. Elliot.

“I sat on my bed and was just beside myself, thinking about the women who have now made this very personal choice for them.

“And my thoughts only went up because the number of women who will now die from unsafe abortions in the US will only rise.”

Ms. Elliot boldly shared her traumatic personal story with PerthNow this week about undergoing an abortion to raise awareness.

Despite being on the Pill, a home pregnancy test confirmed Ms. Elliot’s pregnancy at just five weeks.

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She said that when she found out she was pregnant, she immediately struggled with “the right-wing rhetoric” of taking a life away from considering abortion.

“Although in Australia we have the choice to go ahead with the abortion, there is still so much stigma and not nearly enough support for women who choose to continue,” said Ms. Elliot.

“But I had only been in a relationship with my current husband, Scott, for six months at the time, so in the end, I had to consider whether I wanted to bring a child into a house that wasn’t ready yet.

abortion law

“A lot of different things went into it — I didn’t have the financial means, and Scott didn’t want a baby, and neither did I.”

Ms. Elliot contacted Nanyara Medical Group, a licensed abortion clinic in Rivervale, to schedule her procedure which would cost $500.

She said she cried at the clinic all the time she was there.

“I had experienced many traumatic moments in my life with childhood trauma, but this was the most traumatic experience of my life,” said Ms. Elliot.

“I remember laying on the bed and looking at the roof, and there was a picture of a little flower around which it was written, ‘Just close your eyes, and everything will be fine’.

“I’m glad we live in a country with access to abortion services, but they’re not where they need to be.

“All the way through, I felt so guilty and judged, which confirmed that it was almost the wrong choice.

“At the time, I knew deep down it was the right choice to make — abortion isn’t bad; there just needs to be more acceptance and support.”

Hundreds of protesters went to the US consulate on Monday in anger at women in the US being deprived of the right to abortion.

Among the protesters were placards that read ‘No womb, no opinion’ and ‘Healthcare is a human right’.

But online, opinion among Perth residents was divided as to why Australians reacted so strongly to a decision in the US that was believed to have not too much affected Australian women.

This was when Ms. Elliot used social media.

Camera icon The Facebook post-Mrs. Elliot wrote on Monday, June 27, in response to the online comments. Credit: Included

“I got frustrated because people were saying, ‘oh, it’s in America; it’s so far away from us,’ but that’s such a naive way of looking at it,” she said.

“I wrote the post because, in my opinion, the same men who benefit/could/could help from women undergoing abortions are not speaking out against Roe v Wade.

“Abolishing women’s rights and thus their reproductive rights in any country is a humanitarian issue, not a country issue.

“And people keep saying it will never happen here, and I hate to be cynical, but I don’t believe it – South Australia only decriminalized abortion last year.

“So what am I to say that our rights are being taken away here? The destruction of Roe v Wade shows us that only a few people are in power to have the last word over an entire nation of people.”

A demonstration for abortion rights will be held at the Murray Street Mall next Saturday, July 2, at 1 p.m.

Ms. Elliot encouraged everyone to attend the protest in hopes it would continue talks about abortion rules, especially in WA, where Health Secretary Amber-Jade Sanderson this week acknowledged that the state’s abortion laws were outdated.

“If you go to a protest, even on a micro-scale, it changes the ripple effect,” said Ms. Elliot.

“Everyone should work together to fight for the right to make informed decisions about our bodies, regardless of gender.

“People also need to understand that abortion is not just for people who don’t want a baby, but also for miscarriages.

“I sometimes hear people talk about abortion as something that women just decide to do for fun, and it’s not — I had my abortion in 2017, and I’m just now starting to feel good.”

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John D.Mayne
I love to write. When I wasn’t writing for my school newspaper or college blog, I was writing personal essays and journal entries. Then I discovered I loved to write. In college, I wrote for my school paper and my campus radio show. I started doing freelance writing for the Huffington Post in 2009. Then, I joined the team at Newsmyth as a writer/editor. Now, I spend most of my time writing for Newsmyth and as a guest blogger on a handful of other blogs. When I’m not writing, I like to read, travel, cook, and spend time with friends.