As a patient of and volunteer for Planned Parenthood, I have seen firsthand the positive impact of abortion and reproductive-care clinics on society. From STD testing to low-cost birth control options, women’s health clinics have revitalized healthcare for their patients. By providing access to safe abortions and accurate information, the pro-choice movement has also protected pregnant women from the dangers of unsafe abortion. In doing so, abortion clinics and the pro-choice movement have managed to actually protect life by providing healthcare and education, unlike the pro-life movement.
The pro-life movement claims the moral high ground of “protecting life”, but it often fails to actually protect it. Instead, its members stand outside of abortion clinics to harass women seeking a wide range of services, most of which aren’t even abortions. Many self-proclaimed “pro-lifers” also oppose free birth control and comprehensive sexual education, yet complain about the world’s overpopulation problem. In addition, once babies are born, they don’t do anything to protect them as many pro-lifers oppose life-saving gun control and remain silent in the face of atrocities committed by the government such as the separation of children from their parents at the border. They often also oppose free healthcare after birth and work to defund institutions that provide low-cost healthcare such as Title X clinics.
Truthfully, there is nothing more beneficial to life than the pro-choice movement. The pro-life movement’s platform rests on criminalizing and restricting abortion access, which increases the rate of unsafe abortions. The pro-choice movement doesn’t encourage abortions; it lobbies to keep it legal as a form of healthcare. Numerous studies have proven that abortion does not decrease when it is banned; it becomes back-alley and unsafe.
Researchers from the Center for Disease Control examined national data from before and after Roe v. Wade was passed and found that abortion rates plummeted from around 130,000 to 17,000 between 1972 and 1974. The number of deaths associated with illegal abortion decreased from 39 to five in that same time period.
Even when abortions were illegal, they were still occurring, even at a higher rate. They were just underreported and clandestine due to legal restrictions preventing abortions. Researchers concluded that legalizing abortions was necessary to reduce maternal mortality rates, specifically in Black communities, who were most vulnerable to the impacts of unsafe abortion.
Historical abortion trends make it clear that, regardless of the legality of abortions, women will continue to seek out abortions. The more that we restrict abortions, the more unsafe they become. Some popular methods to induce abortions in countries where it is not legal are piercing the amniotic sac with a metal hanger, knitting needle, drinking Lysol, injecting one’s body with plant poison, and jumping off roofs. All of these methods and unsafe and usually lead to sepsis, if not the death of the woman seeking out the abortion.
When abortions are illegal, more roadblocks are created for women to access contraceptive resources and even seek out healthcare. In South America, numerous children were forced to birth their rapist’s baby because of the restrictive abortion laws. Women experiencing miscarriages are invasively investigated and often jailed for having a “natural abortion”. Pregnant women with cancer are left to die because chemotherapy would terminate the pregnancy.
As a feminist, I believe that abortion is a human right, despite the anti-choice movement’s best efforts to portray it as murder. Regardless of the morality of abortion itself, it is clear that banning it is immoral due to the impact that it has on a woman’s right to live. As a future healthcare professional, I believe that being pro-choice is integral to my patients having autonomy over their own medical decisions and access to reproductive healthcare. Finally, as a woman, I believe that I have the final say in what decisions are made about my own body, including the decision to take birth control and abort a pregnancy. It is imperative, now more than ever, that we continue to fight for our reproductive rights and vote pro-choice.
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