In 1973, Women were given the right to have a safe and legal abortion under Roe V. Wade. Since then the fight has raged between those who were pro-life and those who were pro-choice. Perhaps the most controversial political issue of the 20th century, abortion overwhelmingly divides people, with little chance for compromise. For the majority of the time since Roe v. Wade, the country has been pro-choice, that is until recently.
Now, Gallup polls show that only 44% of women and 39% of men are pro-choice and on the whole, 51% of the country is pro-life. Even Democrats are increasingly identifying as pro-life. Bill Ritter, the governor of Colorado, is one such Democrat. He is joined by Senators Harry Reid (Nevada) and Bob Casey (Pennsylvania) as well as Representative Lincoln Davis (Tennessee) and many others in the House.
So why, all of a sudden has the country switched from supporting abortion to the majority being against it? I would argue that the persistence of the pro-life movement has greatly contributed to this. They have been vocal, unforgiving and at times very graphic in their attempts to convince Americans that the practice should be banned. It’s hard to look at pictures of a dead fetus and not stop to think. It’s hard to ignore the voices of millions calling women and abortionists murders. Many of their tactics, whether valid or simply scare tactics have worked. When even members of the Democratic Party are starting to actively speak out against abortions, it’s hard to convince those who are on the fence that keeping abortion legal is still a good idea.
For many, this switch may seem like a good thing, but for millions of women, this is not a shift that pleases us. I know many will disagree with me, but this is not a right woman can lose.We must fight to make sure it is not taken away.
No one is “pro-abortion.” No one is encouraging women that is the decision that they should make. Most people who are pro-choice are also in favor of reducing unwanted pregnancy and leaving abortion as a last resort. It is a decision that a woman must make for herself, a decision that is between her and her God (if she believes in one) and the baby’s father. It is a choice so personal that to push a belief system on a woman would be unfair. We have no set standard for morality in this country, and for most, the pro-life opinion is very linked to the Judeo-Christian tradition. Limiting rights based off of religious thought would be unreasonable, and the government should not regulate society’s morality or push one moral agenda. Many women are not religious or believe that God will understand. We reject those who claim the LGBT movement is immoral based on religious reasons, but accept those who claim the pro-choice movement in immoral. This is unfair and hypocritical..Personal choice is a right we hold dear and the government should not take it away in interest of improving the morality of society.
The argument of when life begins is one that will never be reconciled. Views vary due to personal, political, religious, and philosophical beliefs. However, to suggest that a fetus should be placed on the same level as an adult woman, who is thinking, functioning, and fully conscious is frankly disrespectful to a woman. Women have fought for years to earn equal status in society. We are finally to the point where a woman can have a career and complete economic freedom. To restrict reproductive rights entirely would be taking away all of these advances and diminishing a woman’s freedom to act for herself in society. Many will argue that she knew the consequences of having sex and she should live with them. Mistakes happen, perhaps if we increased sex education and access to contraception, then it wouldn’t happen as often (but that’s a whole different debate), but the reality is that women get pregnant at an undesirable times. Should a woman be forced then, to raise an unwanted child in the interest of appeasing society? That is unfair to not only the mother but to the child as well. The result of carrying an unplanned pregnancy to term is often an unwanted child. This can have significant financial and emotional ramifications for a woman, even if she does give the child up for adoption. An unwanted pregnancy, no matter what course of action a woman takes will have tremendous consequences. These are all issues for a woman to consider, absorb, and make her own judgment about the situation.
Further, anti-abortion laws unfairly target low income women for whom pregnancy may be even more devastating. Limiting their right to choose may lead to an increase in unsafe abortions in this population, whereas a rich woman has the means to travel or find another way.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of programs that would help reduce abortions. We need effective sex education in schools, access for all women to contraception and increased family planning. No one would like to see a rise in abortions. I see pro-choice legislation more about woman than abortions. It emphasizes a woman’s right to make her own decisions, plan her own family, and do it all when the time is right for her. This is not a fight that the pro-choice movement can afford to lose. We cannot be forced to make decisions based off of the opinions of the government officials in Washington. This is about what is right for each individual, and each individual woman will have to make this decision herself.