Abortion is one of the most controversial topics in this country and has been since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973. As of late, abortion has been placed in the forefront of people’s minds thanks to the appearance of billboards and advertisements likening the procedure to genocide and naming Black people, my people, as an endangered species.
Abortion is a touchy issue. It is also a divisive one and the battle lines are drawn: pro-life vs. pro-choice.
I am pro-choice.
Now, before you pick up pictures of bloody fetuses and pitchforks, let me explain myself.
One of my biggest fears, besides caterpillars and failure, is an unexpected pregnancy. The idea of having a baby at this point in my life scares the crap out of me. I know I am not ready for motherhood and I do what I can to ensure that my womb stays empty. I also know that life happens and people make mistakes. People tend to go against their better judgment and a consequence usually follows.
People have sex and sometimes that sex is unprotected. As you know, unprotected sex can lead to an unexpected pregnancy. After this happens, the mother is usually faced with a decision or at least she is supposed to be. In my opinion, it should be left up to the mother whether or not she want to raise the potential child, have an abortion or go through with an abortion. That is what I believe in. I do not advocate a woman using abortion as birth control or a plan B. I just believe a woman should not be told what she can and cannot do with her body. The “rights” of a fetus should not supersede those of a person that is already walking this Earth.
In December, MTV aired a Teen Mom spinoff titled, No Easy Decision. No Easy Decision followed 16 and Pregnant star Markai Durham as she struggled to decided whether or not she should terminate a pregnancy. Ultimately, she decided to go through with the procedure because she and her boyfriend could not afford another child and did not want to make life harder for their daughter Za’karia. That documentary helped to cement my pro-choice stance.
Further Reading: 'No Easy Decision': The Battle Over Abortion
That documentary showed the agony that comes with having to make such a hard decision. Markai did not get an abortion because she wanted to be free to run wild without having to worry about another baby. She did what she felt was best for her family. She did what many women have done. According to the Guttmacher Institute, approximately 61% of abortions are performed on women that are already mothers and three fourths of women that get abortions cite responsibility and concern for other people (i.e. existing children).
Getting an abortion is a hard decision. These women are not senseless baby killers. They just made mistake. I believe society should focus on preventing these pregnancies from happening. Comprehensive sexual education needs to be promoted. Simply telling people “don’t have sex!” is not working and it never works. People need to know how to put on condoms and the different forms of birth control. Markai got pregnant because she missed an appointment for her birth control shot and did not realize the contraceptive was out of her system. Perhaps, if people dedicated as much energy to promoting and teaching sexual education as they do to erecting billboards and printing out pictures of dead fetuses, abortion would not have to be such a hot topic.
Ashleigh A. is a 21 year old student living and learning in Atlanta, GA. She is a proud feminist and very opinionated woman. I can be found on Twitter at twitter.com/CoffeyBrowne. Follow @ForHarriet