By Jen Bonardi
As if striking down Roe v. Wade wasn’t bad enough, the Dobbs Supreme Court case implied that the next judicial attack would be on LGBTQ rights. While that threat should concern the queer community, we need to understand that a ban on reproductive rights directly affects queers of all stripes, and none more than bisexuals.
When we consider the impact of abortion on the LGBTQ community, we often think of cisgender bisexuals with partners of the opposite sex. Penis-in-vagina sex is, unsurprisingly, still the most popular method of becoming pregnant. This type of sex can result in unplanned pregnancy, which is more likely than a planned pregnancy to result in an abortion. And even planned pregnancies are not immune to abortion, as they might produce an unviable fetus or one that endangers the mother’s life.
But the public seems to miss that penis-in-vagina sex can also happen between various couplings of nonbinary, intersex and/or trans people, with or without cis people. Thus, an unplanned pregnancy is just as possible for genderqueer people, including pregnancy as the result of sexual assault. (In fact, nonbinary people and trans men reported being sexually assaulted at higher rates than other populations.)
Queer couples with genitals that are incompatible for conception — including cis same-sex couples — aren’t safe from the abortion issue, either. Among the limited methods for any such partners to have children is artificial insemination, specifically IUI or IVF, both of which typically involve fertility drugs. The drugs used in IVF yield a 30% chance of having multiples (i.e. twins, triplets, etc.). With IUI, the chance of multiples varies depending on the drug but can be up to 32%.
To prevent births of more babies than desired, doctors exercise “selective reduction” and eventual embryo destruction, unless donated to another couple. However, the politicians banning abortion do not make exceptions for any form of embryo destruction, even to ensure the safety of the pregnant person. It’s all abortion to them. This means that potential parents using artificial insemination would have to decide whether they want to risk being Octomoms (or Octodads). Anecdotally, I find that they sure as hell do not.
Bisexual people, by definition, are affected by all of these facets of abortion. Moreover, people in the bi+ community suffer aggravating factors. For example, bi+ women are three times more likely to have an abortion than straight women. For another, bi+ people are more likely to be in abusive relationships than monosexuals (i.e. straights, gays and lesbians). Being forced to give birth to your abuser’s baby will likely tie you to that person for 18 years.
The bi+ community’s biggest challenge is health. Myths and stereotypes that plague our community result in biphobia and erasure which, for some, are compounded by intersectionality issues. The results are that bi+ people are less likely to be out to our doctors, have fewer appropriate health resources and are discouraged from accessing health care. Under these circumstances, the spreading bans on reproductive rights put us in dire straits.
Abortion is a sexual health issue that touches everyone under the bisexual+ umbrella. Queers can’t afford to wait until we think we’re being directly attacked; we already are. If you’re fired up and want to help, my abortion access project called Little Free Bodies needs volunteer zine-deliverers. Visit www.tiggyupland.com/little-free-bodies.
- RMA Fertility Clinic: What are my odds of having multiples if I do IVF?
- Extend Fertility Clinic table: CHANCE OF MULTIPLES WITH IUI VS. IVF
- Guttmacher Institute: Sexual Orientation Differences in Pregnancy and Abortion Across the Lifecourse
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Domestic Violence and the LGBTQ Community
- HRC report: Health Disparities Among Bisexual People