Updated: May 12, 2021
Since the 1960s, women have been letting it be known that the future is female. Well, this is the future! In 2021, women have been taking over, starting with Madame Vice President Harris, being the first woman and first woman of color to serve as the Vice President of the United States, and continuing with Senator Sarah McBride as the first openly transgender state senator in the state of Delaware. Even in the sports and entertainment realm, with first ever female NFL officiate in a Super Bowl, Sarah Thomas, and Chole Zhao becoming the first Asian woman to win a Golden Globe for best director, the speculation that the future is indeed female is ringing true this year.
Women are pushing the envelope and making their presence felt more than heard. Women and their voices are creating more substantial and equal rights for themselves and the generations to come. Women and the fight for equal rights is more prevalent today than ever before. The fight for equal pay and reproductive healthcare is slowly but surely changing for the benefit of women.
Women and the proper rights to healthcare is a worldwide fight that starts with local areas and states like North Carolina. Recently, members of the N.C. General Assembly developed an act that would end the hard boundaries put in place that hinder women form getting abortions.
The Remove Barriers and Gain Access to Abortion Act, or the RBG Act, if passed, would allow “advanced practice clinicians and other medically trained professionals to perform the procedure,” meaning that the number of qualified providers will be increased and not only limited to physicians.
With the restrictions on abortion and reproductive healthcare affecting the women in the lower class and the women in the Black community, the national COVID-19 pandemic has only created more difficulty in this civil right for women in North Carolina and beyond.
North Carolina has fifteen of the eighteen most common restrictions, including parental consent for minors, mandatory counseling, and a 72-hour waiting period, it is safe to safe that “these obstacles serve no medical purpose,” said one of the sponsors of the RBG Act, Mecklenburg County’s Sen. Natasha Marcus (D.).
“[The] obstacles are created by politicians, mostly men, who think that women cannot or should not be permitted to decide for themselves when and whether they need an abortion, the burdens placed on patients are political, paternalistic, and unacceptable,” Sen. Marcus further explained, as reported by The Fayetteville Observer.
A majority of NC counties fail to have a primary provider for abortions forcing women who are closer to the eastern part of the state to be treated in Fayetteville, N.C., which currently has two clinics that provide abortions as a service, including the Fayetteville Planned Parenthood location and Hallmark Women’s Clinic.
This form of “urgent healthcare” is needed in North Carolina and other states, so this is a big step for women in these areas where access is limited.
The director of engagement with the North Carolina Abortion Fund, Mars Earle, makes a point that: “[it is] a form of violence to deny people healthcare based on their financial situation and it’s a form of violence to tell people that they are unable to choose their own reproductive outcomes.”
2021 has the intent to truly being the year of the woman. Lifting the restrictions on abortions is only the beginning for this new breed of powerful, educated women.
As one of the RBG Act’s sponsor’s Wake County Rep. Julie Von Haefen (D.) told the Fayetteville Observer: “As North Carolinians, we should be focused on making healthcare more accessible and more equitable, we should be finding ways to eliminate barriers and increase the number of supportive policies in our state, instead of continuing to place barriers to accessing healthcare. This is particularly important during the pandemic.”