Gen Z’s housing crisis extends to reproductive care

A few weeks ago, I was scrolling on Instagram and came across an infographic from the New York Times. The title was a question: Where Can Gen Z Buy a Home? The post was subsequently broken down into two columns, easiest and hardest cities to buy a home. The data was computed based on ratios of average earnings and home prices. I was dismayed to realize that the places I would want to live in the future were all in the latter column. Looking to commiserate, I opened the comments section. As I began scrolling, I realized many comments were authored by women, specifically pointing out that most of the locations in the hardest to buy column are in states with restrictive reproductive rights. Many shared the same sentiment: women in our generation should not be forced to choose between protecting their reproductive rights and owning a home. I concur with their feelings, and believe that these protections should be extended to any individual regardless of gender.  

Since the historic overturn of the landmark case Roe v. Wade in mid-2022, several states have enacted stricter laws surrounding access to abortion, birth control and reproductive care, particularly in the American South. Notably, Texas and many of the surrounding states have put into place full bans, even going so far as to criminalize abortion. Out of the 10 cities in the easiest to buy column, five are located in states that have a full abortion ban in effect, and another three are in states that have bans after a gestational limit. 

Texas is mentioned three times in the easiest to buy column, the most out of any state in the column. If I were to move there, I would live in fear of needing access to medical care that is expressly forbidden. In addition, I would worry about what other rights may be taken away from me, given that the political climate of the South is vastly different from that of the Northeast, where I grew up.  

In the last few years, many women have taken to the internet to share their experiences living in states with abortion bans. In an article by NPR, several women residing in these locations shared their pregnancy stories, where emergency reproductive care was needed. One woman, Texas resident Dani Rios, recounted her experience of having a miscarriage, yet being forced to deliver her baby naturally. She wanted to end the pregnancy as the fetus was no longer viable, but due to restrictions, nothing could be done in her home state. Rios and her family weighed the options of flying to states without restrictions for her to access care, but faced long waitlists. She ended up developing an infection, and only then were doctors in her home state able to induce her and have her deliver the baby naturally. 

States like New York, California and many others on the American coasts have pledged to protect access to abortion and placed new protections in place, some of which can be honored interstate. Yet, seven out of the 10 locations in the hardest to buy column are located in the state of California. Therefore, protecting my reproductive rights would come at a high cost of housing. Accounting for general cost of living, Texas ranks less than New York, the former ranking below the national average and the latter being significantly above. Not only is housing disproportionate, but day-to-day cost is as well. 

In just over a year, I will be faced with the decision of whether to pursue graduate school, or take some amount of time off from school and enter the workforce. A big factor in this decision is finances and, by extension, cost of living. Many graduate schools are in big cities where I would professionally thrive, yet affording rent and necessities on the typically low stipend while saving to eventually purchase a home would be near impossible. If I choose to enter the workforce, where I live will be less restricted, yet areas with low cost of living where I could both afford essentials and save for the future restrict necessary rights. But, at what point does cost of living outweigh secure reproductive rights and mental peace?

One Comment

  1. So the moral of the knowledge being ?
    Keep your legs closed and focus on studying vs riding the carousel

    Alumni
    Gina B

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