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The Importance of Being Pro-Choice Even If You’re Anti-Abortion

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

There’s no time like the present to talk about this.

Let me just start by letting you know a little bit about me. I’m a political science major – so this is my area of interest – but I’m a moderate on almost all levels of politics. I believe in marriage equality, but I’m also a fiscal conservative. I dislike Trump, but I don’t foam at the mouth when I hear his name – and frankly I appreciate some of what he’s done (i.e. his position on Israel and the decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem), but I do disagree with him on other issues. I’m a feminist and a strong supporter of gender equality, but I have yet to go to a women’s march. Since I’m constantly straddling the middle in a partisan world, it takes a lot to get me really worked up. Abortion, though, is one issue that does just that.

I’ve never had an abortion, but I think this issue hits close to home for all women simply because it’s an issue that deals with having the right to your own body – something I can’t believe we’re still arguing about in 2018. The main point that I’ll always go back to is this: you can be anti-abortion, you can agree or disagree with the act itself – but you shouldn’t take away anyone’s right to make the decision for themselves. Doesn’t that seem fair?

For some yes, for some no. The entire reason for this article stems from a recent conversation I had with an anti-abortion friend during the State of the Union address that ignited something in my core. I respect his right to free speech and the right to voice his opinion, and I listened to what he had to say with the respect he deserves (it bothers me when people don’t listen to other opinions because they’re not in line with their own), and I waited until he was done to analyze what he said. 

I started struggling with the issue that this is my friend and he’s a person with an opinion; his opinion just happens to be different than mine. I’m not going to get rid of a friend because of our different beliefs. If I cut off everyone I knew that had different opinions than me, I’d be pretty lonely. We can both believe whatever we want – t hat’s the great thing about living in a free country.

Here’s the problem: his opinion profoundly impacts the ability for me to control my own body. It takes away my rights. It shapes my present and future, and changes the lives of the people involved. So, it’s not really just an opinion. It’s much deeper than that. 

The issue is a lot bigger than just the conversation between two people. That talk reflects a national issue. His thoughts on the subject in a voting booth can become dangerous for me and any other woman who wants to the rights to control her own future.

 Image via Bama Media 

It’s critical to spread the message of why pro-choice is so important, and what it means to women everywhere. Being pro-choice doesn’t mean you have to be pro-abortion. You can still disagree with it, and you don’t have to support the actual act, but you wouldn’t be taking away anyone else’s right to control their body. You wouldn’t be telling complete strangers what they can and can’t do.

From my personal experiences and conversations with anti-abortion supporters, I’ve found that those who are viciously against the very thought of it are only thinking in the short-term. They refuse to kill a baby or let anyone else kill a baby, forcing the mother to carry a child for nine months and give birth. Her decision to keep the baby or put the baby up for adoption is of no interest to the anti-abortionist.

What I don’t understand is why those opposed to abortion are constantly thinking about quantity, not quality. One more child saved, one more life given – but what about the quality of that life that you’re fighting so hard for? Is a poor quality of life truly better than no life at all? If the family can’t support the baby, if the mother is in poor health, if a parent will have to raise a child alone and doesn’t want to, if the child will have to struggle in any way – these are all important questions that always seem to be missing from the anti-abortionist agenda. They force the mother to carry the child and then wash their hands of the issue once the child is born, leaving her to deal with repercussions that she didn’t want to have to face. They have no interest in the life of the child and family after the question of abortion is out of the picture.

Why are there people fighting so hard to have children raised in homes where that might not be what’s best for those already living there? Even a couple living in a great home may just not be ready for a child yet, and that’s their choice. A loving family and capable set of parents may already be living comfortably with a few children, but one more would be too much for their budget. Should they bear a child anyway, when that’s not in their best interest? Should that decision be up to someone in Congress who’s never met them before? I don’t think so. 

Image via ABC News 

If you oppose abortion for religious purposes, that’s fine. You don’t have to support it, and you are free to choose what you believe in and how strongly you believe in it. But do not push your religion and your own beliefs on others who feel differently from you. If freedom of religion is a part of our country’s core, then one person’s religion shouldn’t be imposed on someone else. Your religion should not impact my choices if I don’t share those beliefs. 

But if this comes down to a religious issue, then why is it up for discussion in the political realm to begin with? Did we abandon the separation of church and state? It can’t be strictly a health issue, because there are women who have had abortions who continue to live healthy lives. So, if we’re down to a religious issue, surely that already crosses a line – religion is a part of private, not public, life. It certainly shouldn’t be a part of political life. 

My body, my rules. It’s a sensible mantra. It’s your body, your rules, your opinion – and that’s fine with me. There are a bunch of opinions I’d like to change, but that’s not possible and that would impede on others’ freedom. That’s why I believe so strongly in pushing the message of being pro-choice. Everyone has the right to agree to disagree, but don’t strip someone else of their freedom to choose their future.

If you want to counter my argument, don’t try with the whole “adoption” spiel. I don’t know firsthand, but I imagine the most difficult thing in the world would be having to give up a child after going through the nine months of pregnancy. You’re also requiring a woman to go through a grueling process, watching her body change and experiencing a roller coaster of pain and emotion. Then, you expect her to easily hand her child over when it’s all done. If you’re someone who counters an abortion argument with the statement that adoption is the other option, please think about this when applied to real life – it’s not that simple. 

I realize that this is a personal, sensitive issue, and it’s therefore difficult to change minds easily, no matter how many or which words I use. I don’t expect someone, even the friend who started this whole discussion, to change the beliefs that are inherent to them at this point. But, I do hope that the pro-choice argument has resonated on some level with those who haven’t considered it in the past. Respect that no one should control another person’s decisions, especially when it comes to profound, life-changing ones. Remember that there are people, both across the country and down the street, that you’ve never met and whose situation you don’t understand – let them choose for themselves.

If we want to live in a free country, we have to stop stripping women and their families of their right to decide their future. Choose your own – and don’t impact another’s. That’s what makes our country free, and we need to keep it that way.

Becky Sorensen is a senior at Penn State, double majoring in Public Relations and Political Science. You can find her on campus with an iced coffee in one hand and an everything bagel in the other. Clear your schedule before asking her how she feels about the Harry Potter series, New York City, or about the next trip she’s planning - she tends to ramble. Loudly. You can follow her at @beckylalalaa on Twitter and @beckysorensen on Instagram for hilarious puns or her undying love for THON and Penn State football.
Allie Maniglia served as the Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at Penn State from 2017-2018. She majored in public relations with minors in international studies and communication arts and sciences. If she's not busy writing away, you can find her planning her next adventure (probably back to the U.K.), feeding an unhealthy addiction to HGTV or watching dog videos on YouTube.