Why I Will Always Be Pro-Choice

Why I Will Always Be Pro-Choice

I will be pro-choice until the only thing that exists is the option for control over my own damn body.
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My least favorite time of the year is the spring when protestors flock the Oval and begin to essentially scream about how women belong at home, abortion is murder, and that all college kids are sinners for one reason or another. I could write an entire novel about these statements, but today, I want to talk about why I will always be pro-choice.

My favorite abortion debate story is from Todd Akin. Most of the time, the arguments that are shown from those who are pro-life infuriate me, bring me to tears, or even make me wonder how these people came into power. In 2011, Todd Akin was featured on a Fox News segment about abortion (and don't even get me started on Fox News). When asked if Akin would allow abortion in the situation of rape, he responded with "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." That is, in fact, a direct quote from the senator from Missouri. And that's where I think a large issue lies - men who claim to be pro-life are so poorly educated that they have no choice. So rather than ranting and raving about how passionate I am about the woman's right to choose, I'm going to educate you on the abortion debate.

First of all, pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. Many people who are pro-choice are actually against abortion, but the modern abortion debate isn't about abortion at all. It's about whether or not a woman has control over her own body. I am pro-choice and anti-abortion - personally, I would have a really hard time making that kind of decision. But I would be pissed beyond WORDS if it wasn't an option for me, because what if I was in a situation where I couldn't give that child everything he or she deserved? Why birth a child into a situation where they will suffer in one way or another?

Secondly, many pro-lifers will argue that a fetus is a life, regardless of whether or not a heartbeat is established. However, scientifically speaking, a fetus cannot survive without the woman, and the fetus' right to life does not trump the woman's right to choose what happens in her own body. The big moral question is what matters more, the choice of the woman or the right to life of the child?

Thirdly, the most infamous argument is that any woman who chooses to have sex should deal with the consequences. Personally, I find this argument particularly frustrating and stupid. The sex education in public schools is appalling - 37 states have laws where sex ed must include abstinence only education, and 26 of which require abstinence-only contraception is taught. Research has shown that abstinence-only strategies actually deter the use of contraceptives in teenagers, which INCREASES their chance of pregnancy. Allowing access to contraceptives like birth control and condoms will decrease pregnancy in all age groups (particularly in poor and uneducated women), and the need for abortions will decrease. Furthermore, just because a woman consents to have sex does not mean she consents to have a child, and on another topic, consent is always necessary for every action. Including pregnancy.

The most important thing to know about the pro-choice argument is that outlawing abortions will not stop abortions - it will increase the number of unsafe abortions; The WHO estimates that 47,000 women and girls die each year from unsafe abortions around the world, and another 5 million suffer disabilities as a result. Can I just say, holy shit? People who are pro-life care more about the life of an unborn child (who often doesn't even have an established heartbeat yet), than we do for the woman and girls who surround us. We are allowing women to risk killing or disabling themselves than allowing them control of their own bodies, the rates of abortion are comparable, meaning that outlawing abortion doesn't do much to deter women from seeking abortions out. If abortion continues to be illegal, women will continue to seek out abortions and endure many more consequences, rather than the safety of a legal abortion.

Also, many women who seek abortions are poor women who can't afford to have a child. Since many Republicans are pro-life, I'm going to make the leap that most pro-lifers are also against welfare. Allowing abortion to be more accessible will decrease the number of families on welfare, which is a win for Republicans!

Many people who argue the pro-life stance tell me that there's no way I could understand their point of view since their point of view comes from a religious standpoint. This past fall, I began my journey into entering the Catholic church. I understand where your religion could dictate your feelings on this, but I think it's important to recognize that the women in your life have just as much right to control their life as you have to control yours. (Just throwing that little tidbit out there).

I will always be pro-choice, but being pro-choice is more than just believing that all women should have access to abortions and to have control over their bodies. Being pro-choice also means that women should have access to sex education and to the birth control which works best for their body (I have the Nexaplanon implant, and it has changed my life). It means that women around the world should have the right to decide when, where and how they want to have children. I will always be pro-choice because it is one small piece of being a feminist, and one small piece of creating equality for women. I will always be pro-choice because bringing a child into the world where it will be born already at a disadvantage is unfair and cruel, but the fact that children can even be born at a disadvantage is a massive, but completely different but still incredibly relevant issue with society.

I will be pro-choice until the only thing that exists is the option for control over my own damn body.

Cover Image Credit: Oregon Live

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Listening To Vic Mensa

A social commentary through music.

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In the fall of my junior year, I acquired an aversion to elephants and the color red. The red elephants on my television screen were revolting: come January 2017, an openly sexist, racist bigot—the antithesis of the American spirit—would hold our country's highest office. My calculus homework was long-forgotten on the kitchen table as I sat next to my mother in silence. I envisioned repealed civil liberties for minorities, eradicated universal healthcare, and an ominous wall that separated us from the rest of the world. I felt helpless—but, I was not alone. 2,140 miles away in an Atlanta hotel room, the face of social hip-hop, Vic Mensa, fielded phone calls from his dejected sisters and dealt with his own incurable disgust.

Mensa grew up in Chicago's South Side. His parents (both educators) taught Mensa the importance of politics, literature, and mathematics, while the rest of the South Side exposed Mensa to humanity's unsettling realities: gun violence, drugs, and police brutality. Following the murder of his childhood friend, Mensa decided to create music that inspires political and social change. Mensa writes and performs powerful songs packed with an effective combination of both rhetoric and personal experience. To him, the 2016 Election results were not disheartening; instead, Trump's win only strengthened his vision. "I realized that [Trump] had to happen because we've been pacified by having Barack [Obama] in office. That pacification would have only continued by having Hillary elected," Mensa stated in an interview with CNN the day after the election, "My fight doesn't end here no matter the outcome".

Mensa's debut album, There's a Lot Going On, was released a few months prior to the presidential election. On the seven-part album, track six, "Shades of Blue", is the most politically-charged song included in the collection. The first time that I heard the song during the summer of 2016, I focused solely on the appealing beat and pretty harmonies. I understood the obvious reference to the Flint water crisis; however, I overlooked the lyrics' full significance. Listening to the song post-election was a drastically different experience. As Mensa predicted, Trump's hateful rhetoric and racist remarks pushed social justice issues towards the forefront of my mind. This elevated awareness made me conscious of "Shades of Blue"'s allusions to social justice, and Mensa's intricate lyrical tools reinforced my sense of purpose: taking a firm stance against injustice to spur political change.

As I later discovered in "Shades of Blue", Flint is a segue to other social justice themes. Race, socioeconomic status, government inefficiency, and white-centric media coverage are all problems that are exacerbated by the Flint crisis. Mensa utilizes potent images, the "color of morning pee coming out of the sink" and "lead in the water gun," to highlight the severity and transparency of the crisis. Mensa further articulates his point on race and class disparity by comparing the Flint crisis to a sinking boat: if the boat contained white people, the government would intervene and help; yet, since the boat contains minorities (both racial and socioeconomic), the government will allow it to sink. Mensa's lyrics also explain the government's inability to aid poverty-stricken areas. Our representatives allow inner-city areas to flounder under mounting violence while allowing media sources to emphasize the stagnant stalemate between the U.S. and Russia. Rather than confronting the rising crime rates in places like Mensa's native South Side Chicago, the government chooses to work on "true" American problems like Russia and to leave the "black problem" to fester and deteriorate. For me, these verses highlighted the government's incompetence and failed attempts to provide tangible assistance for specific minority groups which amplified my frustration with the inequality in America.

Trump has forced America to recognize some of its ugliest truths. His supporters no longer have to hide their racist opinions; the enemies are clearly targeted, and the lines have been erased—anything is fair game. For years our nation has suppressed underlying marginalization, and now that these sentiments are public, our generation can identify, confront, and combat racism. I have followed politics from a young age, but Mensa's music inspires myself and my peers to actively participate in politics. With the Trump administration bearing down on valued American institutions, the public must unify and stand as an ally for groups who have been ignored and suppressed throughout history. Our strength and influence is derived from passion, large numbers, and ceaseless agitation. "Change gon' come," Vic Mensa promises in "Shades of Blue", but "it's all on you."

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