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.