A Perspective on Abortion

I generally dislike engaging in political arguments. I naturally shy away from conflict, even beyond the political sphere.

I would not say I even have extremely established political beliefs overall. Maybe it’s because I was raised in, you could say, a politically balanced household: my mom is a Democrat, and my dad is a Republican. They have very different political views, though I would not categorize either of them as extremist one way or the other.

I have always been exposed to both sides of the argument, and I think what I gained from this more than anything was tolerance. I really respect people’s right to their own political beliefs. I think beliefs come from personal experience and from different personal values that result from those experiences. That is part of what it means to be American – to exercise your right to hold your own opinions, whether or not they conflict with your friends’, your family’s, or those of the current administration in the White House.

What motivated me to write this was what I believe to be a complete abuse of this right. I believe that to try to aggressively and forcefully push your beliefs on other people, especially when it is something as personal as the issue of abortion, is wrong and unjust.

I respect that people have certain religious and moral beliefs, and that those beliefs could extend to believing that getting an abortion is morally wrong. It is your personal prerogative to hold those beliefs, and if you ever were to find yourself in the position of having an unwanted pregnancy, I would respect your declining to have an abortion for your own moral reasons.

It is, however, completely not one’s place to try to take a decision as personal, potentially heart-wrenching and difficult as that and politicize it by attempting to take away the freedom for someone to make that decision for herself.

HERSELF.

That is why it was incredibly infuriating and deeply upsetting to me to find a group entirely comprised of men in black and red robes campaigning about the issue of abortion, passing out fliers that read “10 Reasons to Save the Unborn,” or something of the sort, in the main quad at my school this past Wednesday.

Not to say that they did not have a right to be there so long as they remained peaceful, but it was for me an upsetting experience to be approached by a man I had never met before with the intent of telling me what I should be doing with my body should I find myself in the position of having an unwanted pregnancy.

I happened to be on the phone with my grandmother when I was walking through the chaos on the Diag at the time. She is currently in recovery from a surgery just days prior, so I could not bring myself to tell her what I was witnessing. For her, it would be extremely personal.

My grandfather, my grandmother’s husband, worked in family planning and reproductive health for the majority of his life. He put all of his passion and energy into the development of contraceptives for women and increasing the availability of those resources, specifically in developing countries where over-population is a serious health issue. It quite literally brings me to tears when I think of what he would feel if he knew the challenges that this women’s right is facing today.

But this article, rant, whatever it is, is not a call for anyone to change his or her beliefs, on abortion or any other topic of debate. It is, however, a request to respect others’ privacy, respect their opinions and their right to make decisions for themselves that will ultimately only significantly affect their life, to not push your opinions on other people or tell them what they should think without hearing their perspective and, more than anything, realize that the ONLY person with authority over his or her body is the owner of that body. Period.