I thought this didn’t have to be stated again, but abortion rights in the United States appear to be in jeopardy once again, and both pro-choice and pro-life sides are ready to fight.
Some feel that President Donald Trump poses a significant threat to many Americans, and one threat that cannot be disputed is the one he presents to women and their health care.
Trump is vocal in his intent to appoint Supreme Court justices that will reverse Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that secured abortion rights for women across the nation. If this happens, abortion laws would be decided at the state level, most likely creating large regions of the United States in which women would be unable to have legal abortions.
For teens in the South especially, this could make the difference between whether a girl is able to access a safe abortion or not, impacting her entire future.
Trump’s first nominee, Neil Gorsuch is a conservative, non-divisive figure. However, with two elderly, liberal justices, there is a likelihood that Trump will be able to appoint more justices in hopes they will do his bidding to reverse this decision.
The problem is, the Roe v. Wade decision has ultimately saved, not taken, lives.
To explain, one must understand that there is no reality in which outlawing abortions could be possible. It is only possible to abolish safe abortions.
In countries where abortion is illegal, abortion rates are roughly the same, if not higher, than nations with legal abortions, according to a 2014 study by Guttmacher Institute, a research organization for reproductive health.
For example, in Latin America where many countries criminalize abortions, the estimated abortion rate was 44 per 1,000 women while North America had a rate of 17 per 1,000 women yearly between 2010 and 2014.
The true numerical difference between nations that have legal abortions and those that do not is in the number of women who die due to unsafe, back-alley abortions, according to the study.
The study found a whopping 20 million unsafe abortions are performed each year globally, and 67,000 women die annually from these dangerous procedures as a result of there being limited clinics for safe, legal abortions.
This is not a matter of whether one is morally opposed to the termination of a fetus or unborn baby in its mother’s body. It is understanding that until the reasons a woman seeks an abortion are eliminated, abortion will always exist, and if it does, it needs to be a safe, viable option.
Instead of focusing their efforts on harming women’s health care, taking away reproductive rights and ultimately causing more deaths, the pro-life movement should advocate for free birth control and improved sex education, for these are proven by the Guttmacher Institute and many others to directly impact the abortion rate and have the potential to truly save lives.
Although Trump’s failed attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare didn’t touch the free, generic birth control for women with health insurance, it intended to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that supplies sex education, birth control and family planning services. It also intended to cut Medicaid benefits and restrict insurance coverage of abortion. Moving forward, this administration and its supporters have been clear on their interests in tightening control of women’s health care and choice and even restricting their access to birth control, which could have detrimental effects.
Teens are just one group that benefits immensely from free birth control, along with low-income women. Birth control is not a luxury medication. It relieves agonizing menstrual cramps, stabilizes periods and helps with acne. Even if it didn’t provide these services, denying a drug that prevents unwanted pregnancy from poor women is classism at its finest, and it is clear it does not and should not work in deterring women from having sex.
Free birth control is an investment for the entire country. It’s common sense. Free birth control leads to decreased abortion rates and fewer children ultimately born and placed on welfare for mothers who cannot support them.
It’s a sad, perplexing moment when there are people who proclaim to be pro-life but advocate for policies that will do anything but preserve the quality and saving of lives.