She could be your daughter, your niece, your granddaughter. Maybe it's that sweet girl at the Starbuck's window, or one of the ticket counter workers -- you know, that cute one who's always so polite -- at your favorite theater. She's 18, maybe she's in college, just experiencing life on her own terms but not sure how to handle it all yet. She goes to a party, gets drunk, has a one-night stand with some guy from her history class. Or maybe someone she's known for a long time. Whatever, whoever, they acted stupidly and irresponsibly, as kids are wont to do, and some weeks later, she discovers she's pregnant.
She's terrified. She knows her parents won't help her; matter of fact, they'll refuse to have anything else to do with her once they find out what she did. She can't possibly afford to have a child; she can barely afford to eat. She's too young... she knows she was irresponsible... oh, God, does she know. And what about school? She had been planning to go to nursing school. All she ever wanted, after seeing her grandpa die from cancer when she was 5, was to be one of those angels in scrubs, serving humanity and easing suffering. What would happen now? What if she had the baby... could she do it? She's only able to go to school because of financial aid, grants, and scholarships. If she chose to have a baby, she'd never be able to stay in school; she'd lose everything. They'd have to live "on the bad side of town," and God only knows if they'd be able to survive. She hoped she'd have kids one day but not now, not like this.
And so she spends the next few days agonizing. She never thought she'd be in this situation. Babies should be born in love, not from some stupid, drunken encounter. Never again, she vows, and opens the phone book, her mind made up.
Of course, this is a fictional tale but something pretty similar has happened time and again. Not every woman who chooses abortion has a story like this; the stories and reasons are myriad. But they should all have the same ending -- access to safe abortions performed by competent, compassionate doctors who understand that this is one of the most difficult and heart-rending choices a woman might ever need to make.
I am pro-choice, not pro-abortion. I don't want women to have abortions. I don't think anyone, save the sickest, most twisted and perverse among us, wants women to have abortions. But neither do we want women to bear the babies of rapists or those who perpetrate acts of incest. Nor do we want babies born to women who don't want them and would abuse them if they had them. (Not everyone can or will "step up.")
We don't want to find dead babies in trashcans. We don't want children having children, regardless of the reason. We don't want botched self-abortions or Mexican abortions or abortions done by some back alley quack -- too many women have died from a lack of access to safe, legal abortion. Many of us believe that "right to life" extends to the mother. We trust that most women know how to make the best decisions for themselves and their lives.
This is not something anyone takes lightly. Stories from women who have made the hard choice to have an abortion tell of the struggle they went through to reach their decision. Not that I'm saying it never happens, but I have never heard of a single person saying that the decision was on par with what to have for lunch or which pair of jeans to buy. I don't think that I, personally, could ever do it. . . but I will defend the rights of other women to make that choice.
Abortion is going to happen, whether anyone likes it or not. It's been done since time immemorial, when women went to the shaman or the witch and asked for the special herbs that would cause the body to reject the pregnancy. It was done back before Roe v Wade. You can wish it wouldn't happen, but the reality is that you can't make it not happen. So reality must be faced, and common sense and safety need to prevail. Access to safe, legal abortion providers must be protected. And if you want to see fewer of them, access to free birth control would drastically slash the numbers. (Source: http://healthland.time.com/...)
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