I’ve been trying to put this off until I could calm down and maybe get my thoughts together, but every time I start thinking about it I begin to fume.

The news leaked some time ago, but was made official on Friday: the Supreme Court has reversed its ruling on Roe vs Wade, and abortion is now no longer protected by the Constitution.

While this decision doesn’t explicitly ban the practice, many states have “trigger” laws, meaning that abortion would immediately be illegal in that state if RvW was overturned. Some of those states have exceptions for incest, rape, or danger to the mother. Some of them don’t, which is horrifying.

What this all means for our country is anyone’s guess, at this point. My opinions on abortion are complex, but ultimately I think this is a massive mistake.

I remember opting to write an editorial on abortion in 7th grade and concluding that abortion should be illegal except in cases of incest or rape. I can only assume at that point in my life I was unaware that other legitimate cases could be made for abortion, such as birth defects or the potential for a pregnancy to end a mother’s life. What can I say? I was 12 and extremely naive about such things.

As a father, I’ve heard the beating hearts of my children from within the womb. Having heard these budding lives it’s unfathomable for me to imagine even the slightest consideration of terminating a pregnancy. Not every pregnancy is wanted, however. Nor is every pregnancy intentional.

You can take all the precautions in the world, but sometimes nature just…happens. In those cases, is it really fair to expect a woman to endure a 9-month pregnancy? To endure morning sickness? To suffer through labor? To miss weeks’ worth of work they may not be able to afford? To incur crushing medical debt? All for a child she doesn’t want? Shouldn’t she be able to choose not to go through that?

What if a pregnancy puts the mother’s life in danger? What if a fetus has a physical defect or genetic disease? Shouldn’t the option of terminating the pregnancy be an option in those cases? It sounds horrible, but in some cases, life with certain diseases or deformities isn’t worth living.

Let’s say you’re of the opinion that the woman made her bed and now has to sleep in it. Perhaps you believe she needs to see the pregnancy through and have the child because “life is precious”. What kind of life is that for the child? What trauma awaits an unwanted kid? What if the parents can’t afford food or rent? What if the parents are too young to care for a child? Or too old? Or handicapped? Or addicts? Or criminals? Is that a precious life? Or is that another life that will end up in an already overtaxed foster system?

“Too bad,” you might say if you’re pro-life, “Put the child up for adoption.” Sure, kids who are adopted don’t have any problems. Plus, adoption is a lengthy process not a lot of people will want to go through. Or can even afford. In my home state, the licensing requirements can take anywhere from six to twelve months. And the legal fees can add up to thousands of dollars.

What about children who are already born and need help? Who will care for them? There are an estimated 440,000 kids in the foster system whose mothers already gave birth and had them taken away. Why would we, as a society, want to add to that number? Why would we want to lessen the odds of adoption for a child who has already been a victim of neglect or abuse?

Pro-life folks will paint those who support abortion as Satanists or murderers, but the reality is no one wants to have an abortion – it’s just the best choice sometimes. Kind of like when those same “pro-life” folks laud the death penalty for murderers. The logic may seem cold and practical, but there are already 12 million kids going hungry in this nation. It makes absolutely zero sense to toss gasoline on that already raging inferno by forcing the completion of unwanted pregnancies.

Criminalizing abortion will force women to look elsewhere for an abortion, and that can be lethal. In certain states, women who need an abortion to save themselves from an unsafe pregnancy will die because the procedure that will save their lives is illegal. Worse, some women whose pregnancies fail naturally will be investigated and/or tried for murder, and that is fucking insane.

The reality is we just took a giant step back in the US. Not only will this reversal lead to more suffering for women and children alike, but it may also serve as a gateway to other rights being taken away. Justice Clarence Thomas (the personification of moral integrity) has suggested that the precedent used to reverse RvW could also be used to reverse other protected rights, such as interracial marriage, gay marriage, and even contraceptives. Apparently, Mr. Thomas would like to hop into a Delorean, fire up his flux capacitor, and zoom back to 1955.

Conservatives confound me. They are always crying about their religious rights being infringed upon when something doesn’t go their way but will not hesitate to turn their own beliefs into laws that violate the secular rights of others. If you think abortion is wrong, then don’t get one. But don’t go swinging your religious moral compass around and expect everyone to fall in line. Remember that book you guys thump everyone with? You know, the Bible? It says God will judge us, not you. This country was founded on religious freedom and separation of church and state. Your religious views have no place in our laws, so leave it be and let God sort it all out.

If you want to be pro-life, great! Start with people who already have lives. Shelter the homeless. Feed the hungry. Assist the poor. Support gun and police reform. Donate to heart disease and cancer research charities. Normalize good mental health. Those are all things you can do to support lives that already exist. Banning abortion is pointless, counterproductive, and removes one of the most basic of freedoms from women: choice.