With all of the heat surrounding the new abortion laws, I can barely get on the internet without seeing far-left and far-right opinions all over my news feed. I read a lot of people's opinions who say, "Abortion is sometimes the only choice," and I also read opinions that say, "If you don't want to get pregnant, then don't have sex."
Though I understand the point trying to be made in that latter statement, I have a problem with it.
My brother flies planes, but that doesn't mean he wants to die in a plane crash if he forgets the fuel or the maintenance crew forgot to check the engine. I run on the treadmill, but I don't want to break my knee if I don't stretch properly or the machine malfunctions.
Even so, not all unwanted pregnancies are because of people making "irresponsible" decisions about sex.
Say there is an impoverished married couple, and say the wife works in construction. The wife gets pregnant. Now, she can no longer work to safely carry out her pregnancy, and her employer doesn't provide her with paid maternity leave. She can no longer help her husband with the bills, and they eventually get evicted from their house. The woman gives birth, and she, her husband, and the baby are now all homeless. She and the baby do not receive adequate healthcare or nourishment.
Are you going to tell this woman she should've "closed her legs" if she didn't want to have a baby? She had sex with her husband-- because that's what married people usually do-- but that doesn't mean she wasn't ready for motherhood.
Now, please do not interpret this as me saying she should've had an abortion. Instead, let me tell you some 100% fact-based reasons why she, and many other women, do feel like abortion is their only option. Then, maybe if these things are fixed, abortion won't even be such a highly prevalent issue.
1. A lot of young girls are shamed for getting pregnant.
Teenage girls who get pregnant are called "sluts" at school, kicked out of their houses, and get shunned by older ladies at church who turn their noses up at them. Often, people make assumptions about a pregnant girl when they have NO idea how she became pregnant. Rape? Incest? First time having sex? Defective protection?
Sadly, most of this judgment comes from the same people who are anti-abortion. As a Christian myself, I know that the Bible says having sex outside of marriage is a sin. At the same time, I know the number one thing Jesus told us to do was to show love to everyone. Judging others isn't exactly showing love--and Christians are some of the most judgmental people I know.
2. Many times, there are absent fathers.
Many times, fathers walk out on their pregnant girlfriends OR never even know they are fathers, leaving the woman to provide for the child alone (EVEN THOUGH the US has signed multiple agreements stating it is a HUMAN RIGHT to share EQUAL parental responsibility).
3. Paid maternity leave is not required.
Only four states and Washington, DC require paid maternity leave, meaning there are many single mothers that have 0 income when they take time off to birth a child. Also, women are often denied physical labor-intensive jobs because employers do not want to give them time off if they become pregnant.
4. Rape is a thing. So is incest.
I don't need to explain any further to make evident why this needs to change.
5. Birth control is a tough subject.
Women are often expected to be responsible for birth control, even though pregnancy is the result of a sperm fertilizing an egg, meaning a male sex cell is what causes pregnancy. Girls under 18 are usually on their parents' health insurance, meaning their parents have access to their medical records. If a girl wants to have practice safe sex and use birth control but is too scared for her parents to find out, then she has to pay for it herself.
6. Women are denied participation in pursuit of their goals.
There are schools, clubs, and other organizations that make all females sign contracts stating they will be terminated if they become pregnant. Usually, this line is accompanied by other "if" statements like "if you are ever convicted of a crime." Last time I checked, the miracle of life isn't exactly something I associate with drug deals and theft.
7. The foster care system can often be corrupt.
Some foster parents abuse and neglect children, take money from welfare and use it for themselves, and hide their dirty laundry when it comes time for inspections. Foster care has been called modern-day slavery.
Overall, my point here is, a baby is not the source of the problem. The problem comes from a society that causes women to feel like having an abortion is their safest option. I mean, I can see why legalizing abortion seems easier than eliminating a nation's widespread stigmas and discrimination ingrained into the culture. It's heartbreaking that a baby's life is brought into question because of grown-ups who don't know how to have empathy for and support women. If they did, it's likely abortion wouldn't even need to be discussed in the first place.