Disclaimer: As a woman in a country that is once again politically declaring what women can and cannot do with their own bodies I feel it necessary to express my opinions on the matter.
I firmly believe a woman should have the right to terminate a pregnancy if she chooses to do so. I do not believe anyone, other than the woman who has conceived, and her partner, if he is in the picture, has the right to tell a woman what she may and may not do with her body. I am going to lay it all on the line here. I have never had an abortion, but I would like to know that if the fates were against me I would have the option to safely have one should I medically need one or be in a situation where I would not be able to sufficiently care for a child. Several women I cherish as close friends have had abortions. Some of them now have beautiful, happy, healthy children. The women I know who had abortions did not do so lightly and all suffered emotionally for quite some time after their abortions. I dare say, they chose not to have those children from places of great selflessness as opposed to selfishness. None of them would have been able to emotionally or financially support a child at the time of their abortions. Were they reckless, careless women having sex with every guy that hit on them at a bar? No. They were all in relationships. They were all working hard and trying to find their paths in this world at the times of these abortions. Had they chosen to have those children they would not be the women or the mothers they are today. They would not have furthered their educations, established their careers, or emotionally done the necessary work to be positively contributing members of society and nurturing mothers who can provide for their children. Do I cringe when I think of what might have been had they not had abortions? Yes. Have I watched them all tear up at the memory of what they chose to do? Yes.
And then there is the mother of a child I worked with. She had an abortion when said child was three. At the time of her abortion she had a young daughter and a husband who depended on her. There were medical complications. Even if she risked her own life for the fetus growing inside of her, that new life most likely would not have made it either. She made a choice that would save her and the family she had already started. Years after this abortion I would listen to her recall the tragic memories of those early months of pregnancy and the eventual termination while lovingly watching her six year old daughter tie her shoes and smothering her 18 month old son with kisses. During the time I worked with the six year old, she would tell me stories about how she was supposed to be a big sister sooner than she had been and how she loved her baby brother because he was a miracle and a gift to the family (she would also complain about him crying in the middle of the night and preventing her from getting enough sleep).
The long and short of it is, I am not a huge fan of abortions, but I am in favor of them when they are necessary. I do not think the choice to terminate a pregnancy is one to be taken lightly. I also do not think that politicians have the right to take away or make this decision harder and even more emotionally fraught than it already is for the majority of women. I am fearful of what might happen to women’s reproductive rights in this country. Most of my friends, and myself, are at a point where we are ready to start seriously thinking about having children if we do not already have them. I want to know that should these pregnancies not go as planned we can safely terminate them. For the young women still trying to figure out who they are, I want to know that they will have the choices to further their educations and explorations of themselves or delve into motherhood. I strongly recommend you go to “The Opinion Pages” of the New York Times website and type in abortion. You will find some really thought provoking articles to stretch your opinions and beliefs on the topic.