The past few weeks have been really hard for me, listening and reading news about the newly-empowered Republican party’s attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, the many (surprisingly –and scarily– successful) attempts at criminalizing abortion, miscarriages and any “attempt on a fetus’ right to live” –even if that runs counter to a mother’s right to live, and even the New York Times slut-shaming an 11 year old girl after being gang-raped by 18 different men.
This is particularly difficult for me because I am a sexually active, unmarried Black female pro-choice feminist. This is also difficult for me because I’m not an evangelical idiot who seems to cherry-pick Scripture to suit my needs and also has forgotten the basic principles of “separation of church and state”.
Abortion, according to Christian beliefs (I lay no claim to knowing if this is the case in other religions), is wrong. So is homosexuality. But if we’re really going to be picky here, so is eating pork and shrimp. And I can bet you that if God were going to come down on us today based upon all the rules laid out in the Bible, every last one of us would be going to Hell for one reason or another — most of which can be found on your average Chinese takeout menu or in a McDonald’s, but I digress.
Let me make it very clear that while I am pro-choice, I am NOT pro-abortion. Abortion is a terrible, terrible procedure and I wouldn’t wish that decision upon my worst enemy. Herpes, the clap, and an unfortunate case of halitosis, maybe, but not the decision on whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. For those that argue that abortion is the easy way out, I would disagree. I, thankfully, have not had to make this decision, though, after an unfortunate experience with a man who confused lust with love and “no” with “yes”, it was on my list of options.
It’s those options that pro-life activists would deny women everywhere.
The issue isn’t abortion providers. I disagree with what they do in theory, but in practice, they’re necessary. Without them, there will be, not might be — will be an influx in illegal procedures in direct proportion to botched-abortion-related deaths. There will be an uptick in women who die in childbirth because the law prevents doctors from saving her life over that of her child’s. The foster care system will be even more overloaded than it is with all the unwanted children resulting from these unplanned pregnancies. Outlawing abortion will not fix the problem.
Educating people about their options will. The issue here isn’t abortion providers. It’s what to do about all these unplanned pregnancies. It’s about educating people about their bodies. Teach kids while they’re relatively young about the consequences of unprotected sex. Teach abstinence if you want to, but know that the more you tell a teenager not to do something, chances of them doing exactly that will rise exponentially. The point is that we need to teach people about what their options are instead of restricting their choices out of a sense of paternalism and hoping that will deter them from defying your will.
You can only make an educated decision if you are educated.
Fix the educational system and you’ll fix a whole lot of other problems.