I know what you're thinking, "Oh man, here goes that crazy girl ranting about women's rights again!"
You'd be right. If it bothers you, feel free to move along and close out of this article with disgust.
You see, my opinions are exactly that, my opinions. You don't have to agree. You have the utmost right to feel how you want to feel. If you feel strongly enough, pick up a pen and do what I do - share your thoughts with others. Be careful though, not everyone will like what you have to say. People will see you in a whole new light and your family members may even have some terrible things to say.
Now, onto the real purpose of this article. With everything happening right now concerning Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination and Trump being, well, Trump, women's rights are a hot-button issue at the moment.
Abortion is a tricky subject. Some people flinch when it's brought up. It's caused rifts at family gatherings and has drawn an invisible but widely acknowledged line in the sand between people of all races, genders, ages, and religions who either support it or don't.
But the biggest problem is that we aren't having enough conversations about it. We aren't talking about its history. We aren't talking about the stigma surrounding women who have had or have considered abortions. We aren't talking about what pro-choice really means. I believe that's why there's such a dramatic difference in opinions between supporters and opposers.
If you've read my past articles, followed me on social media, or even just talked to me in general, it's not hard to guess that I fall under the pro-choice umbrella. But if you write me off as soon as I say that, if you turn your nose up at me without a second thought, if you don't have a mature conversation with me, then you'd never understand why I feel the way I do.
For a lot of people, the word pro-choice doesn't even register. As soon as it's said, they immediately replace it with "pro-child-killing" in their minds.
Let me tell you why it is that I'm pro-choice, and why it doesn't mean what you may think it means.
To me, believing in the concepts of the pro-choice stance equates to believing that women are capable of making their own bodily decisions without government oversight or interference.
It doesn't mean I want women to abort their children. It means that I believe that the decision should be theirs and theirs alone. It doesn't mean I don't understand the value of children or pregnancy or life in general. It's actually the opposite. It means that I value the lives of women so much so that I believe they've earned the sole right to decide when and how they start a family. It means that I don't support the suffering of a woman who is forced to go through with a pregnancy she doesn't want.
Studies have shown the numerous negative effects on a woman's physical and mental health when they go through with an unwanted pregnancy. These women are twice as likely to develop depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideations. Women who can't obtain a safe, legal abortion are also more likely to resort to dangerous alternatives to terminate their pregnancy.
Abortion today, even with the advancement of women's rights, is still only given a large stage. By this, I mean that we only tend to hear about it on the news, regarding politics and legislation, and from large health organizations. It's time we started talking about it in smaller circles. With friends, with parents, with teachers and classmates. It's one of the most controversial topics in American politics and we should be fostering an open environment where abortion and other women's rights issues aren't considered inappropriate or taboo.
Whatever your opinions, whether you're pro-choice or pro-life or somewhere in between, take the time to educate yourself on the opposing side. Converse with those whose opinions differ from yours. Take the time to understand why they feel the way they do before you make a judgment based on one statement.
Just because someone says they're pro-choice, doesn't mean they're pro-abortion. It means valuing the independence and intelligence and privacy of women enough to the let them decide what happens to their body. I support a woman's right to choose and a woman's right to autonomy over her body. Women aren't breeders. We aren't made for the sole purpose of having children and building families, and the law shouldn't force us to.