Wyoming Bans Abortion Pill, Reaffirming Dystopian Nightmare


Getting reproductive healthcare has been difficult since the summer of 2022. (Courtesy of Twitter)

The healthcare landscape of the U.S. since the overturn of Roe v. Wade last summer has become what many view as a living nightmare, as red states across the country sprint towards complete abortion bans and the revocation of longstanding maternal healthcare policies. These policies have been passed under the guise of “protecting the family” and the “sanctity of life.” Conservatives are spewing a narrative of morality while simultaneously endangering the lives of millions of Americans they swear they’re protecting. They are unconcerned with the spike in maternal mortality, with 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared with a rate of 23.8 in 2020 and 20.1 in 2019. And clearly those one in four girls being sexually assaulted before the age of 18 couldn’t be negatively impacted by sweeping abortion bans that make no exceptions for instances of rape or incest, right? Over half of U.S. states have moved to restrict abortion access in the last year — meaning more people from low-income and marginalized communities will be forced to carry to term regardless of circumstance or risk. 

The dystopian nightmare so many people fear has been a long time coming, but the ways it disproportionately impacts groups of people unable to remove themselves from terrifying environments, like post-Roe Wyoming, makes the most recent developments in abortion bans all the more heartbreaking. As of July 1, 2023, abortion pills will no longer be accessible to people in the state of Wyoming. Another harrowing blow to women’s healthcare in a sea of terrifying news which most impacts the young, impoverished and marginalized. 

This Wyoming law comes in tandem with a Texas judge’s order for the FDA to withdraw approval of mifepristone. Mifepristone is one of two drugs taken to terminate pregnancy before 10 weeks, and is prescribed using the mifepristone ​​system risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) by a healthcare professional or pharmacist. The ridiculous legal argument against the drug is that its approval in 2000 was “rushed” despite two decades of evidence proving its safety with a fatality rate of less than a thousandth of a percent. The case was filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a known hate group who is also to blame in the filing against Roe v. Wade. They are invoking the Comstock Act to argue that it is illegal to send or receive mifepristone, or any other medication or device used to provide an abortion, by mail — keep in mind that this act was made so people couldn’t mail pornographic material. There is a big difference between ordering Playboy and getting medication by mail, even though both are your right by way of the First Amendment and Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), respectively. 

As a woman, the last year has felt like a waking nightmare in a lot of ways, but I am not among the most at risk by any stretch of the imagination. Living in New York City, coming from a middle-class family, being white and literate in relevant medical information all shield me from the worst of America’s war on women. I am among the few. More than 20 million people of reproductive age across the country have lost their right to adequate and necessary healthcare, and it is only getting worse. I refuse to demonize the South because it is not the majority who are making these atrocious decisions. It is policymakers and hate groups who will continue to have abortion access when their 13-year-olds get pregnant while simultaneously denying abortion access to their constituents. The hypocrisy is palpable but by no means humorous. 

It would be irresponsible to view what’s happening as an evenly-distributed injustice — Black and Indigenous communities across the country are fighting more than any resident of a state with abortion access because apathy is not an option. Black and Indigenous women are over three and two times higher, respectively, compared to the rate for white women, to die during childbirth. What makes this fact all the worse is that the majority of the states making sweeping bans on abortions are home to gigantic and diverse communities of color. These states are also the top contenders for childhood poverty and childhood violence and rank among the worst for childhood access to health insurance, education and maternity care services.

 Marginalized communities in these states face hostile environments on any number of fronts every single day, and the people most equipped to do something choose instead to exacerbate the issues or be apathetic. There is this desire to, at best, write off these states as lost causes in liberal communities and states and, at worst, demonize every resident living there. But that is neither productive nor fair. The United States has a long history of pitting feminine presenting people against one another, and I think we can often overlook the evils of allowing who we consider outside of our community to bear the weight of oppression in hopes of sparing our own. Regardless of personal belief or geographic location, removing access to abortion also means losing access to important healthcare for everyone, everywhere. 

 It is incredibly easy to choose the path of indifference in the face of what is happening across the country, especially while living in a city where you can safely walk into a Planned Parenthood and have birth control delivered to Fordham’s post-office via an app. But the reality is that nowhere is safe so long as we sit by while women in less fortunate situations become victims to a government that cares more about an unborn fetus than a living, breathing, experience-having person. Once those children are born, conservatives could not bring themselves to care about the world that child will be brought into, so we have to care. Part of that responsibility is continuing to support and advocate for women who want and do not want to have children in whatever form that takes, and ensuring that women, children and everyone of all backgrounds have basic human rights. We are by no means helpless in the face of what is happening, and we should be angry and scared for ourselves and our communities throughout the United States. Financially supporting organizations like Planned Parenthood, dumping your anti-abortion partner, advocating for others, knowing who you’re voting for, educating yourself and your community and keeping each other safe are all vital to getting through today and making sure that this nightmare ends.

Alexandra Rapp, FCRH ’24, is a history and international studies major from Hershey, Pa.