Abortion is Essential to Joy

Chelsea Webster
3 min readJul 3, 2022

This post originally appeared in The Joy Thief newsletter. To get more articles like this straight to your inbox, subscribe.

Access to abortion is ACCESS to joy.

I know a lot of people are going to disagree with me, are going to question how something so momentous as abortion can be joyful. I’ll preface by stating I understand that no one, absolutely NO ONE, makes the decision to have an abortion lightly and there will be varying amounts of grief and relief attached to that decision.

But…

Joy, and I mean true authentic joy, is fundamentally about every person thriving in a system that makes life easy, restful, fulfilling and joyful. Joy involves itself with having access to a life that sustains us. And, a sustaining joyful life includes access to health care, bodily autonomy and freedom of choice. For those who can get pregnant, abortion is at the heart of nearly every right that can be enjoyed.

Abortion is health care.

Abortion is bodily autonomy.

Abortion is choice.

If abortions are these three things, and more, then my conclusion has to be abortion access is a type of systemic Joy for anyone who can get pregnant.

Removing the ability to have an abortion… that is joylessness, pain and misery being forced onto us.

Removing abortion rights forces choice.

Removing abortion rights removes autonomy.

Removing abortion rights risks health.

There is no joy for women (and other genders) in restricting abortion.

I grieve for those in the states who have been robbed. They have had fundamental rights and joy stolen from them. I grieve for the Gilead-style cage that has been placed around them.

I am also reminded to grieve for the women everywhere else who are also caged by a joyless patriarchal ideology that controls our bodies.

Amongst my grief is fear. Do you feel it too? Fear for what is to come in this society that is sick and hellbent on stealing from us, hellbent on taking joy from us. I am scared because our rights can so easily be taken. Even in the UK, we have a right wing government whose members would take autonomy from us too. We have Tory MP’s celebrating the restriction of women by retweeting their support for values that steal what is ours and ours alone.

It’s a genuinely scary time to be a menstruator. But actually, hasn’t it always been?

Joy is fundamental to a sustainable, happy life. I think we all want more joy to carry with us. I write about joy how power systems steal your joy to highlight the knowledge and tools for you to steal it back.

I hope you leave this newsletter ready to embrace joy and hold disruptions of joy accountable for the joylessness they create.

If you enjoy this read, I’d really appreciate it if you could share it! It helps The Joy Thief movement to grow. Thank you!

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Chelsea Webster

Activist for Joy. Writes to highlight how power systems steal your joy & how you can steal it back from a disabled, neurodivergent, working class perspective..