As I have no doubt you’ve seen in the news, Texas passed a new law that makes it illegal for a woman to terminate her pregnancy after six weeks. On September 1, Politician Greg Abbott tweeted how “Texas will always defend the right to life,” in celebration of this.
However, I believe this course of action is far beyond correct and is actually harmful to the success of the Pro-Life movement.
By taking away access to legal abortions, Texas is not stopping people from ending their pregnancies. Rather, they are pushing these individuals to find other options. It is no secret that back-alley abortions happen just as frequently as legal ones do. According to a 2009 journal article cited by the National Center of Biotechnological Information, out of the 42 million annual unwanted pregnancies worldwide, 20 million are terminated unsafely. These procedures put women in harm’s way and increase the risk of maternal mortality. This means while the woman may try an abortion method on her own, she could die due to the aftereffects of her unsanitary procedure. Personally, I would much rather at least have one person survive these operations than end two lives for the sake of social acceptance.
It is highly important that we consider the safety of the women in these situations. They have dreams and aspirations, and unfortunately the societal stigmas around pregnant women, particularly those who are unmarried, make it much harder than it should be for them to find peace in having their child. Adoption and the foster care system are not perfect answers either. Both have flaws, and in order to become the primary option would require a lot of change.
All that said, I don’t believe abortion is the perfect answer. Once again, I am pro-life, so I would much prefer that the life of a child was not up for contestation. However, I am also a realist, and I understand that we live in a society of prejudices and violence just as much as we stand for justice and peace.
In my perfect world, all pregnancies would happen to willing mothers who feel comfortable enough in their relationships with their communities that they can raise their child happily. In order for this to happen, however, we need to change all social prejudices against unmarried mothers. Instead of judging women for having sex, congratulate them on having the maturity and want to become a mother. We should be celebrating life, not making people feel unworthy of love.
We also need better access to birth control and sexual education so some of these accidents can be prevented. Not everyone is called to be a parent, and it is important that we make alternative options available for everyone. Additionally, birth control does more than just prevent pregnancies. It can help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce PMS symptoms, according to Healthline.com. Bleeding irregularly can have serious side effects, so the availability of birth control is not a dispute on the basis of sex, but of medical need.
Finally, we need to properly punish all sexual predators. It is once again not a secret that our current judicial system is not always the best in making sure these sick individuals are brought to justice. As a woman, I know three people personally who have been victims of sexual assault. It is sickening to imagine how many women I’ve spoken to daily who have gone through the same experience but have not said anything.
What we can do as a community to help protect survivors and others who might become targeted is to hold our friends accountable and listen when someone says something. Friends don’t let friends sexually assault other people, and true friends don’t associate with another friend’s attacker.
Sexual assault is one of the major reasons people decide to terminate their pregnancies, so this is the most important factor we need to change.
The only way we can make the illegality of abortions a viable option is by stopping sexual assault, preventing unwanted pregnancies, and providing better access to birth control. I know we can make these changes towards a more Pro-Life community, but for now, abortion must stay legal.