States like Minnesota will provide access to health care without government intrusion

From Jessica Erlandson, MAHS graduate, Columbus, Ohio

First, I would like to say how glad I was to read the guest opinion included in the July 18 edition of the Tribune. This refreshing perspective is so essential in the face of the Christo-fascism advanced by the extreme right-wing section of the Republican Party. In this context, I cannot help but think of the students that have just graduated from high school and will be eligible to participate in elections for the first time. What issues are the most pressing for them? 

Contrasting their circumstance with my own when I graduated from MAHS 10 years ago, certain challenges are perennial. Such examples include the soaring cost of higher education and economic prospects for future employment. This graduating class now also must grapple with the fact that one month after their graduation occurred and celebrations concluded, approximately half of them had one less constitutional right and their access to reproductive healthcare will be dependent on the state they live in. 

Since 2018, I have lived in the Columbus, Ohio metropolitan area with my husband. In 2020, we welcomed a healthy baby boy. I was fortunate to have the ability to choose when to start my family and at a time when I felt fully prepared to welcome a child into the world. During that pregnancy, I did not have to worry about what would happen to me if I started to experience a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. If either occurred, I would have been treated promptly with the appropriate medical care to preserve my health. Now, if this happened in any of the states that have restricted reproductive health care access, my care would be delayed until I was sick enough (with greater risk of hemorrhage or infection), or the fetal heartbeat disappeared before life-saving medical care would be provided. 

In the week after the Supreme Court overturned Roe, the story of a 10-year-old victim of rape having to travel to Indiana from Ohio for an abortion made international headlines. Current Ohio law doesn’t make exceptions for rape. The current dogma of the Republican party in power is pro-forced birth, wanting children and women to be forced to birth their rapist’s child, even if it risks severe physical disabilities and indescribable mental anguish. How will this messaging have any appeal to the generation coming of age now? 

As for now, if I expand my family at some point in the future, I do not think I will be comfortable living in Ohio while pregnant if the current laws are not significantly changed. I would ideally relocate home to Minnesota again, where I know I would have access to healthcare without government intrusion (brought to you by the party of small government). States like Minnesota that have these protections will remain more attractive for opportunities in higher education, employment, and better health outcomes for those who choose to have families.