My Body, My Choice: Abortion and Why It Matters

By Olivia Pan

 

Sometimes in life there are no “good solutions.” Sometimes there are only hard choices to be made. Who gets to decide and make those choices is crucial. The Trump administration recently chose to “expand the rights of employers to deny women insurance coverage for contraception” on the grounds of employers’ religious beliefs (New York Times). Of course, with abortion rates at an all-time low in this country, that decision is nothing less than absurd. Many of these people who are in favor of the restriction of contraception coverage are the same people who are also against abortion. I am sincerely trying to wrap my head around this contradiction in terms. You want to restrict access to birth control and restrict access to abortion.  If you do not want women to have unplanned pregnancies that lead to abortions, wouldn’t it make sense to expand their access to birth control? Also, whatever happened to the separation of church and state? Are we now writing legislation based on religious preferences and beliefs?

Of course, it probably comes as no shock that I am 100 percent pro-choice. No one has the right to determine what a woman does with her own body, especially men. She is the only one who can make that decision. Don’t get me wrong: You can be pro-choice and that does not translate to pro-abortion. Whether an abortion is the result of protecting the mother’s health, or due to rape, or an unplanned teen pregnancy, no one is happy about the need to terminate a pregnancy. I understand what a prickly subject this can be. However, one must acknowledge that it is every human being’s right to control their own physical being. To disallow that and rob women of the choice to give birth or not is draconian and patriarchal.

If we remove religious leanings and emotion from the discussion, some of the facts are: Abortion rates are actually down in this country, and that is directly related to access to resources such as Planned Parenthood, which provides the birth control pill and IUDs to girls and women. According to a 2014 report conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, “The abortion rate fell to its lowest level since the historic Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court Decision” (NPR). They credit this fall in the number of abortions to increased contraception access. Contraception is the only way to prevent unplanned pregnancies which may lead to abortions. The Trump administration’s latest decision to cut back funding to these resources, as well as alleviating coverage for contraception, will only work to increase abortions in this country. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to understand the cause and effect of access to contraception: PLANNED PARENTHOOD (the name is a big giveaway) and lower abortion rates.

Access to safe abortion is a necessity for women. And even the most conservative person out there has to acknowledge that this is especially true pertaining to cases of rape and incest. A rape is traumatizing enough, but to have to carry your rapist’s child inside of you for nine months is akin to being raped all over again. The same is true of incest. A twelve-year-old girl should not be forced to give birth to her father’s child. Any person who argues against that lacks even the most basic sense of decency or compassion.

Rape and incest aside, all women deserve access to safe abortions. Restricting access to abortion and contraception will not rid the world of abortions. It will rid the world of safe abortions. Do we really want women reverting back to coat-hanger abortions because conservatives refuse to put their religious and moral beliefs aside for the sake of women’s health? You’re allowed to feel how you want to feel about abortion. However, you are not allowed to govern women’s bodies with your personal beliefs and opinions. You are not allowed to use religion as a weapon against women’s rights.

As a female, I know that my rights have been and continue to be up for debate. However, I know that what I do with my body and the control I have over my body is one matter that is not up for debate or discussion. So, I fight for the right of women to have safe and healthy choices regarding their bodies and their choice to give birth or not.

The Trump administration has also removed the adoption credit that many adoptive parents rely upon to help offset the astronomical costs of adopting a child. So, let’s see:

  • Lack of funding for Planned Parenthood (don’t know about you, but planning parenthood is always good).
  • Tax credit to families who adopt children who, guess what, were not aborted. Yes, let’s make it harder for those babies who were not aborted to be adopted.
  • Last, Joe Blow employer gets to go cheap and not pay for basic health care and maybe even do so claiming a religious belief, whether it be real or not.

= More abortions. Sometimes there are no good solutions, just hard choices.

Photo Credits: Socialistworker.org

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