Abortion is a really tough subject. Most people never change their beliefs on it, and that’s okay. For those of you who are pro-life, my goal is not to change your mind, but to share my own beliefs with you. I believe that abortion is a woman’s right and her personal choice. I also believe that it is wrong to shame any woman for choosing to have an abortion.

I often find that people on both sides of the argument struggle, and even refuse, to hear an opinion different from their own. Growing up, I saw a pretty even mixture of pro-choice and pro-life in my home town. When I moved to Oklahoma in college, I found myself surrounded by pro-life supporters, and very few pro-choice. There are times at which I feel the need to bite my tongue, to give no opinion on abortion, just to avoid an argument with a friend or classmate. I also admit that I have at times struggled to hear the beliefs of another. Just because we disagree, or cannot fully understand the beliefs of another person, does not mean we have the right to shut them out or shame them for their opinion. In fact, I think that we all have a responsibility to listen to other ideas, rather than ignore them.

I grew up in a family full of strong women, many of whom are outspoken and bold in their beliefs. Some of them, I know, will read this article and wonder how I ever got to be so comfortable with the idea of abortion. Others of them, like my mother, will be proud of me for voicing my opinion. My mother, like me, is pro-choice. When I was first asked how I felt about abortion, in 7th grade history class, I immediately said that I was pro-choice. I didn’t even have to think about it, because I held the same opinion as my mother simply because she was my mother.

As I got older, I grew firm in my belief. I knew a lot of girls in high school who found themselves pregnant at a young age. While many of them chose to raise their children, I know some girls who chose abortion. I think both of these choices are equally beautiful. Yes, I think choosing abortion can be beautiful. In high school, you have so much life still ahead of you, and choosing not to bring a child into your life at that time does not make you any less of a woman.

Choosing not to bring a child into your life, at any time of your life, does not make you less of a woman. There are women who find themselves pregnant at an older age and feel that they cannot carry a child at that time of their life. Whether this decision is made because of health concerns, or simply because the pregnancy is unplanned, choosing abortion is still perfectly okay.

Choosing abortion is okay. Not choosing abortion is okay.

Believing abortion is wrong is okay. Believing abortion is a woman’s right is okay.

Shaming a woman for choosing, or not choosing, abortion is not okay.

Shaming a person for their beliefs regarding abortion is not okay.

A woman's reason for abortion is her own business, not yours.

Next time you find yourself in a discussion about abortion, I hope you will remember to consider the feelings of the person sitting opposite you. We all have personal reasons for the beliefs we hold on this topic and we should all be considerate of others’ beliefs. Next time you find yourself judging a person for their opinions on abortion, remember that whatever a person believes, it is okay.