In life, we are allowed many choices. There are the smaller ones, like the choice of where to go for lunch or what shoes to wear. There are also the bigger ones, like where to go to college or who to enter a relationship with. And yet, we are all able to make these choices of our own volition. As American citizens, we are incredibly lucky to have certain rights that give us this power. I can’t imagine how having that ability is a negative thing.
So, you can call me pro-choice. I’m pro-choice in the sense that I enjoy making my own decisions and advocating for the ability to make them. But, of course, I’m also pro-choice in the more contemporary sense of the word: I believe in the legality of abortion. I think that women should have the right to make decisions for their own bodies and for what’s occurring inside of them.
Around the country, there is a constant battle against abortion. Bills and laws are being passed in state after state that are denying women their choices. Recently, in Kansas, our beloved governor Sam Brownback signed a bill into law that bans dilation and evacuation abortions, the most common type of second trimester abortion. These kinds of bans, while oftentimes used as political strategies, turn out to be extremely harmful to women’s health.
Banning abortion and limiting women’s reproductive rights doesn’t lower abortion rates. It doesn’t stop women from getting abortions or seeking to end their pregnancies. All it does is lead women to undergo dangerous, illegal procedures that could lead to serious injuries or death. A woman who is desperate to end her pregnancy will not just give up because of the law.
A typical argument for those wanting to ban abortions, or at least specific types of abortions, is that banning abortion will save the life of a fetus. However, when we value the health of a fetus over the health of a woman, can we really consider ourselves humane? Are we really saving lives?
Abortion and reproductive rights are considered women’s issues. Women are the ones taking birth control, getting pregnant and having abortions. Women are the only ones who can understand the emotional toll it takes to be pregnant and to have to make a choice: whether or not to go through with their pregnancy. This entire experience is female-exclusive, and yet our reproductive rights are overwhelmingly being decided by men.
Take a look at the 114th Congress. Or at the current Senate. Or at every single President we’ve had since 1789. I don’t know if it’s just me noticing a trend, but there seems to be an abundance of men involved in the making of legislature. Most of the people deciding women’s reproductive rights have and will never undergo a pregnancy or take birth control. So why are they the ones deciding these things for us?
We, as women, are completely capable of making our own decisions. We know how to evaluate a situation, we care about our health and we don’t need to be told what’s good for us. It shouldn’t be up to hundreds of old, white guy politicians to give us an oversized lollipop, pat us on the head and tell us to go play while they discuss “grown up” stuff. It’s demeaning and it’s sickening.
Women need to have a hand in deciding our reproductive rights. In 1993, Supreme Court Justice and badass feminist Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated this pretty clearly: “I said on the equality side of it, that it is essential to a woman’s equality with man that she be the decision-maker, that her choice be controlling. If you impose restraints, you are disadvantaging her because of her sex…The state controlling a woman would mean denying her full autonomy and full equality.” We are not equal unless we can make our own decisions. We are not incapable of understanding the weight of our choices. We are not incompetent.
I am pro-choice because I believe in the beauty of equality. I cannot begin to understand what it’s like to be pregnant, or to feel so desperately that I shouldn’t be. But I do understand that it is a basic human right to have the ability to make my own choices. To be completely autonomous. I know my body, and though it is a constant search to know my self, I know that I am strong enough to do what is best for me. And I know that we can all harness that strength, because deep inside, it is burning brighter than ever.