For Everyone Who Is Pro-Life

 

The United States is more divided than ever after the inauguration of Donald Trump. One of the most discussed issues of the moment is abortion.

Many women were outraged when the women’s march dropped the pro-life group, New Wave Feminists, from its list of sponsors, just one day before the march. It was in response to backlash from pro-choice women who claimed that being pro-choice is an essential part of feminism.

A few days later, Donald Trump reinstated the Global Gag Rule (surrounded by men, may I add), which bans all non-governmental organizations from using any of their money to fund abortions even if the patient specifically asks. This includes all of the organizations’ money, not just money given to them by the United States. In the past, the Global Gag Rule did not stop abortions from happening, it just made them less safe.

The March for Life, an anti-abortion demonstration, took place on Jan. 27 -- speakers included Mike Pence and Kellyanne Conway. Trump also wants to cut off all funding to Planned Parenthood, which has been being discussed for a while. Former President Obama tried to prevent this and protect PP, but his efforts will most likely be overturned.

Anti-abortion bills are being introduced all over the country. A “Heartbeat Bill” was introduced in Tennessee, outlawing abortions after six weeks. Another bill was introduced in Texas that would make it legal to charge women and providers with murder for an abortion and would not exempt abortions of pregnancies as a result of rape, incest or fetal abnormalities. Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, introduced this bill and said making abortion a crime would force women to be “more personally responsible” with sex. *Rolls eyes into back of head*

I understand why people are pro-life. They believe that abortion is the same thing as murdering a baby, and murder is obviously wrong. Although, there are many aspects of this viewpoint that I cannot empathize with. Contrary to popular belief, us pro-choice advocates -- just like pro-life advocates -- do not like abortions. Nobody likes abortions. Getting an abortion is a very difficult decision for a woman to make, and many factors go into that decision.

There was a post on Twitter after the second presidential debate with a picture of a 36-week old baby in a hospital after it is born that reads, “This is a 36 week old baby. If you agree with Killary, that aborting babies at this age is okay; you agree with murder.” This post just begins to cover the ignorance and misconceptions about abortion and being pro-choice. People do NOT get abortions at 36 weeks. Hillary Clinton and other pro-choice advocates do NOT want anyone to get an abortion that late in a pregnancy. Abortions occur early on, when the fetus doesn’t resemble a person at all.

There are many reasons that the legality of abortion is necessary, even if you think it is wrong: Cases like rape or incest, when it threatens the health or life of the mother, birth defects where the baby will not live, and others, are just a few of the many examples. It is cruel to force someone to have a rape or incest baby, when the woman did not consent to having sex in the first place (even though a woman should have the right to choose even when she does consent).

Even if abortions were illegal, it is not likely that they will not stop happening. They may not even decrease -- but they will become extremely unsafe. A lot of people had signs at the March for Life demonstration that read, “Adoption not Abortion.” And yes, adoption is good in theory, but there are over 400,000 children waiting to be adopted, just in the United States alone. Some women’s bodies can’t handle the stress of having a baby -- and emotionally, adoption can be very hard. It is not a good choice for everyone.

The abortion rate in the U.S. is at its lowest since Roe v. Wade, the decision in 1973 that made abortion legal. How have abortions decreased after they were able to be done legally? Because of birth control. For abortion rates to decrease, women have to have easy and affordable access to birth control, and people have to be educated on sex and sexual health in order to be able to prevent unwanted pregnancies. It is very simple. If you don’t want women to get abortions, then help them not get pregnant.

What is a huge organization for women’s sexual health and accessible birth control? You guessed it: it’s Planned Parenthood, actively protest by pro-life advocates. Planned Parenthood does so much for women’s sexual health -- it provides birth control and other contraceptives, cancer screenings, pap smears, STI testing and treatment, mammograms, prenatal care and more.

At the Women’s March on Lansing, a young woman named Jessica Lumbreras told her story about Planned Parenthood, and it really stuck out. She was in college and got pregnant at nineteen. She went to PP with her boyfriend and planned on getting an abortion. She arrived, amid the protesters standing outside, and was very scared and nervous. Then, when she went inside, the people working at PP didn’t even mention abortion at all -- they cared about her, her health and the health of the fetus. They made her feel safe, and because of the way they treated her, she decided not to get an abortion after all, and had her baby. Planned Parenthood actually prevented an abortion.

Without PP and the services it provides, the numbers of unplanned pregnancies and abortions would be nearly two-thirds higher than they are now. Here’s a statement that will make some pro-life advocates angry: If you are pro-life, then you should support Planned Parenthood for all of the ways they help the lives of women, not want to defund it. If you want to read more about the important ways Planned Parenthood and birth control have helped women, read this fact sheet.

Rep. Tinderholt, who said women will be “more personally responsible” with sex as a result of stronger abortion laws, failed to mention the men who have sex with women. Men aren’t expected to do anything to prevent pregnancy. Yes, they wear condoms, but women are the ones who are expected to take responsibility -- using some sort of birth control or Plan B making sure a condom is being used and dealing with the repercussions of accidental pregnancy. Men can have all the sex they want, but women who have sex are thought to need to be “more personally responsible” by men in the government who want to control women’s bodies. Abstinence is not realistic. People have sex. Sex is good for health and for relationships. Women shouldn’t have to stop having sex. Male lawmakers should not be able to control women by making them fearful of getting pregnant.

If abortion is actually made illegal, then it should also be made illegal for a man to leave a woman he gets pregnant. They should also be forced to take responsibility. If the roles were reversed, things would be very different. If men had to be the ones in charge of preventing pregnancy and had to take birth control, then none of this would be an issue. Birth control would be available over-the-counter in grocery stores and abortions would be given out like free candy. There was already an experimental birth control for men, and the men stopped the trial run because of weight gain and acne. How sad. Male lawmakers who are pro-life don’t sympathize with women at all.

There is something I really don’t understand about many people who are pro-life: Many are Republicans who do not support welfare programs or funding to public education, among other family programs. Pro-life advocates want all women to have children and not have abortions, but don’t want to help those children and their families after they’re born? Many pro-life advocates think that an unborn fetus deserves more rights than the woman carrying it, but don’t want to help give it a decent life after birth. Once the baby is born, Republican lawmakers don’t seem to care about the baby’s rights anymore. If you criminalize abortions, then you also have to help the life of the child and its family after it is born -- with various welfare programs and public education. It is very hypocritical to preach about protecting life, but casting that life aside once the baby is born.

No matter if you believe abortion is right or not, the government shouldn’t have a say over what a woman does with her body, especially when most of those lawmakers are men who will never know what it is like to make that choice. You shouldn’t force people to live with your beliefs. If you think abortion is wrong, don’t get one. Abortions are sometimes necessary, and shaming women who get them is wrong.

Abortion is a hard subject, but it should not be illegal because a woman has the right to choose.

If these arguments haven’t phased you at all, watch this video of Bill Nye the Science Guy explaining scientific facts about abortion. We all know from middle school that he knows his facts.