Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

What’s at stake in the U.S. election: The Globe and Mail has asked a group of writers to offer their opinions. Scroll to the bottom for links to the full series.

Every year since I was born in 1982, I have watched and listened while people debated whether I had a right to make my own health care decisions.

As one of eight children, my mother and father took us to marches, where angry adults carried signs with images of aborted fetuses on them and speakers described women as murderers.

Story continues below advertisement

In high school, debating abortion was part of any lesson in rhetoric or government. I’d silently bite the inside of my mouth until I tasted blood while I heard classmate after classmate determine it was wrong for me to decide what happened to my body.

In college, after an assault where I’d gone to a Planned Parenthood for help, I was too afraid to hear people criticize and pick apart my trauma, so kept secret what happened to me.

And then, as an adult, as I was contemplating an IUD to help regulate hormonal fluctuations that my doctor thought were linked to my debilitating migraines, a family member screamed at me and called me a baby killer. “IUDs are basically abortions,” he said.

His wife later apologized on his behalf.

Now, as an adult, I listen as lawmakers annually stand up in state Capitol buildings, the House and the Senate, to clasp their collective pearls and argue that women need waiting periods and health care limits but not Planned Parenthood or birth control. If we get birth control, we should have to pay the full price. And speaking of paying full prices, we must cover the cost for cremation and burials of miscarriages as if the fault were ours.

During the eight years of president Barack Obama’s tenure, abortions in the United States went down, not because they were outlawed, but because people had more access to health care, birth control and the insurance gap was slowly closed.

In Iowa, where I live, the GOP-led state has dismantled funding for Planned Parenthood and replaced it with a reproductive health system that includes dentist offices, blood labs, a homeless shelter and a dermatologist as care providers. Not surprisingly, STI cases are increasing in the state, as are abortion rates. Iowa was also one of the states that attempted to stop abortions by declaring them not an essential medical service during the pandemic.

Story continues below advertisement

A lawsuit by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU sorted that out. But now Senate Republicans are cramming Amy Coney Barrett on to the Supreme Court, a justice who was a member of an anti-choice group while serving on the University of Notre Dame’s faculty. In 2006, she signed a newspaper ad calling for the end of Roe v. Wade that described the decision as “barbaric.” And she has criticized the Affordable Care Act and cases where the act has been held up in court. Dismantling the ACA would leave not just women without health care, but anyone with pre-existing conditions.

In the U.S., women have always teetered on the edge of full autonomy. It feels like hanging off a cliff, clinging to a rope, so close to the top, while people just continually debate whether you deserve to be safe.

The election in America, should Donald Trump be removed from office, cannot undo the years of the erosion of basic human rights and dignity and court packing, but it can provide stability. Joe Biden has indicated he would make Roe v. Wade into a law rather than Supreme Court precedent, a move that could end so much of the annual parade of sexist rhetoric and misogynistic laws and erosion of our human rights. That could end the debate on whose life matters more – a mother or a child’s – and move the conversation forward to an understanding of how pitting the two against each other, as if they were in opposition, is just an unscientific argument that only divides a human into parts.

During the pandemic, women in the U.S. have already been pushed out of the work force at unprecedented levels. This is a recession of women. A crisis not just for individual women, but for a nation that has benefited from their creative and professional contributions, far more so than whatever their uterus does or does not do. During the 2016 election, the Trump campaign vowed to push through child-care policies and parental leave options that promised to help women. Instead, we got Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Justice Coney Barrett as well as a Senate that can’t even reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act because Senator Joni Ernst won’t cave on closing the boyfriend loophole, which would prevent violent partners from buying guns. Why? Because the NRA doesn’t like it.

For women in America, our grip on the rope is slipping.

Should Mr. Trump be re-elected, consider our rope cut.

Story continues below advertisement

Lyz Lenz’s most recent book is Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women.

More from the series



Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies