I have always been a supporter of a woman's right to choose. It is not simply that I am a supporter of abortion. I have never had an abortion and do not think I could. However, I should have the right to make that decision myself – not have it forced on me. My position on abortion is really very simple – it should be legal, safe and rare.
The most important reason for my belief that abortion should be legal and safe is very closely tied to women's rights. A society that controls and shackles women's freedom can not be wholly free. I do believe the issue is one of power and control – of domination – over women. If men could become pregnant abortion would not even be an issue. Pregnancy and child care have long been ways that men have controlled and dominated women as well as restricted their education and professional lives. When abortion is outlawed or restricted by laws then it becomes even more of an issue of control and discrimination – aimed at the lower classes. We know that abortion will never disappear entirely, at least until universal fail-safe birth control exists, and that people of means will be able to obtain a safe abortion here or abroad. Outlawing abortion simply ensures that the poor and disadvantaged will have no safe alternative.
I have never understood why so many people put so much time, money and effort into outlawing abortion when spending that same time, money and effort on helping women without choices and helping the many abused and neglected children we already had would do more to prevent Abortions than any law ever could. Contrary to many abortion foes belief, I do not believe abortion is an easy choice for most women – and for those it is an easy choice it is probably better they are not given responsibility for the health and welfare of a fetus or child. Many women who choose to have an abortion feel they have no alternative. Why not work to really help those women so they do have choices and options? Until our society truly takes its responsibility to the children already born so we have no child suffering starvation, poverty, neglect, and abuse – and all our children are given every opportunity for a quality education and future then I do not want to see Time and resources devoted to the prevention of abortion. Think of helping these disadvantaged women and children as preventing the abortions of tomorrow. Simply outlawing abortion will not solve the root problem, instead it will drive those in need of an abortion into back alleys, but if you can solve the problems of abuse and poverty then there will be few unwanted pregnancies and fewer abortions.
Another important reason I believe the choice should be left up to the woman in question is that I believe the decision to reproduce has to be made willingly and only by the person involved. Pregnancy and childbirth is a physical ordinal that can have a lifelong impact on a woman's mental and physical health and well being. In addition, the decision to raise a child has a great personal, professional, and financial repercussions. While it takes two to make a baby, all too often in the case of an unplanned pregnancy it is the woman who is left to cope alone. It is really quite simple. I believe that if I am going to undergo a process that effects my physical and mental well being as well as my financial and professional future then I should be able to make the decision myself. I am a mother and I love my child more than anything, but my pregnancy and childbirth were difficult and life threatening. I am not sure if I could have survived either without the support of my husband, family, friends, and co-workers. I know this group has been even more important to me while raising my child. I am an educated professional with a good job and a good support system. I can not imagine how people with fewer resources do it. We are failing as a society when we force so many to do so.
If we want a society that is truly free and truly responsible for all its members then abortion must be legal and safe. If abortion foes really want to stop abortions then they should work on addressing the root causes of abortion – poverty abuse, and lack of opportunity. The more we do to give women freedom of choice and control over their lives then the rarer abortion will be. Then everyone wins.