...is a Constitutional Right
Reproductive Healthcare and access to abortion goes far beyond what you would normally think of when you hear the word "Abortion". It is a life-saving procedure thousands of women undergo every year in order to save their own lives, literally, physically, mentally, and financially. To take away this choice is to take away a woman's right to life, liberty and her pursuit of happiness.
As many of you know, I am pro-choice, but also a moderate democrat. I understand the mindset of a person who is against abortion. However, aside from the religious argument which has no place in the court of law, there has been no substantial alternative given to women in the case of unwanted pregnancy.
I am a very strong believer in compromise, and I believe we can find one if we're willing to think outside the box when it comes to the larger affects of banning healthcare.
Let's take a step back; why are women getting abortions in the first place?
Well, that has a lot of answers - to sum it up, some young women opt for abortions because we have not given these women enough resources or opportunity to be able to have a child without sacrificing everything else. Some have abortions because their doctors tell them it's needed to save their lives. Some have them because they were sexually assaulted and raped. Some have them because they are simply just not ready for children. Whatever the reason, pregnancy has been presented to young women as a bad thing. We have always conditioned our young girls to be ashamed of pregnancy - that it is a negative, painful experience that we should want to avoid. We must ask ourselves; Should we ban abortion? Or should we expand resources for single moms? If we change the way we treat women who accidentally become pregnant and end the stigma behind having children outside of marriage, we would see a natural decrease in abortion.
However, we know we can't change societies 'norms' overnight. So what are some realistic solutions?
The reality is: Removing access to abortion is life-threatening, and isn’t actually an effective (or safe) way to reduce the number of abortions. Preventing people from accessing abortion does not make them need abortions any less, but instead adds another barrier to safe reproductive healthcare.
Instead, a compromise.
First, my more conservative view, is to compromise on the regulation of abortion. Here's the idea;
- Any person can receive an abortion for any reason up to the first trimester (~12-16 weeks)
- After the first trimester, a person may receive an abortion for any medically related reason, inclusive of incest and rape at any time - the crime does not have to be reported to law enforcement.
- Medical abortions after the first trimester must be approved by an individuals physician.
- Abortion procedures must be available at all state licensed women's clinics and all private reproductive health clinics.
However, abortion is something that should free of restriction for the best possible outcome for our young women. To account for wide access to abortion, we would also need to be creating additional legislation; not necessarily to decrease abortion, but to make women feel like they have more options during an unwanted pregnancy. Through this, we will see a natural decrease in abortions as well. No one wants to be put in a situation where abortion is something they have to think about, so we need to change the system to keep women from finding themselves with unwanted pregnancy. Not pregnancy in general, but stop the feeling of guilt, panic, fear, and shame when a woman finds out she's pregnant. These are just some examples, but they would be a great place to start.
- Birth Control that is covered by insurance, free, and accessible
- Comprehensive Sex- Education in High schools
- Expand Medicaid to cover hospital births
- Allow first-time single mothers to apply for WIC, Medicaid and claim dependents while pregnant
I am not someone who claims to have all the answers; but I believe that we owe it our mothers, daughters and sisters to establish a system that supports them, and see a decrease in abortion at the same time.
**** This page focuses on reproductive healthcare for cis women. To read more about the LGBTQ community and their need for reproductive healthcare, click here.