I wouldn’t get an abortion

By: Marley Porter

I wouldn’t get an abortion. That is a personal choice I would be allowed to make if a pregnancy ever disrupted me in my early twenties. I know people who have gotten abortions, and that was a conscious decision they made. They had to think about it, morally debate. They had the choice though, and that is what is important. 

It should be mentioned that not all women have the luxury of a happy home, perfect health, or a loving spouse to bring a baby into this world with. Some pregnancies can occur as a result of assault. Some high-risk pregnancies can be life-threatening to the mother.  If pregnancy is so great then why does America have an increasing maternal mortality rate? 

“The maternal mortality rate for 2021 was 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared with a rate of 23.8 in 2020 and 20.1 in 2019,” as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Is it ever really about the fetus or is it just about the foreignness of women’s bodies? Regardless of keeping the fetus or not, when someone is not ready for a pregnancy and it occurs, it is a disruption, a derailment of a plan they had.

Abortion is very serious and a highly polarized conversation to be having, especially at a religious school. Pew Research reported that “An overwhelming share of religiously unaffiliated adults (83%) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, as do six in ten Catholics. Protestants are divided in their views: 48% say it should be legal in all or most cases, while 50% say it should be illegal in all or most cases. Majorities of Black Protestants (71%) and White non-evangelical Protestants (61%) take the position that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while about three-quarters of White evangelicals (73%) say it should be illegal in all (20%) or most cases (53%).” 

When we talk about abortion we often talk about the fetus, whether it is a person or not, and when its heart starts beating. We do have to separate that from one solid fact though. The person impregnated has been breathing; they have had their heart beating for far longer. A separation between the fetus and the woman is required to understand this next part: abortion (at the policy level) was never really about that fetus, it has always been about the woman’s body. This may be where you start disagreeing with me, maybe even stop reading, but I encourage you to continue. 

Alabama recently decided that frozen embryos could be considered children under the law. This comes from a case brought up by an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment center. A couple sued for “Wrongful Death of a Minor” after an accident caused the destruction of their frozen embryos at the clinic. The Supreme Court’s ruling on its face is contradictory. In an article from Reuters, The Alabama Supreme Court “found that there was no ‘unwritten exception’ for frozen embryos outside of a woman’s uterus,” however, in the case brief, provided by Alabama’s Judicial records, it is addressed that “Alabama Legislature has never declared an embryo developed in vitro to have the same degree of protection as an embryo developing in utero during a pregnancy.” In policy and law terms, this ruling creates a gray area for embryos. 

For women, this could mean several things. If you do IVF and decide not to use the embryo, or get pregnant a different way, is not carrying the embryo then wrongful death of a minor? Why are we trapping women in these gray areas of the law? Is the frozen embryo more of a person than the woman? I guess it was never really about the embryo, it was always about inserting our own perceptions into women’s bodies.

On top of this, why is women’s healthcare traditionally working against us? The standard labor position isn’t even scientifically natural. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) says that the “supine position,” forces women to push far too hard in a position that exerts too much energy to keep up endurance for the whole period of labor. 

Shouldn’t these things just be tailored to and for women? 

The NLM also featured a report entitled “Disparities in Family Planning,” which  explains that “the ability to plan if and when to have children is fundamental to the health of women and critical to the equal functioning of women in society.”

 Birth control is often harder to obtain for women in low-income situations, with barriers stemming from cost-related problems like lacking insurance is no fluke in the system. The NLM “Disparities in Family Planning,” article later explains that “Women with unintended pregnancies that are continued to term are more likely to receive inadequate or delayed prenatal care and have poorer health outcomes such as infant low birth weight, infant mortality, and maternal mortality” which happens when women don’t have proper access.  It perpetuates “the cycle of disadvantage,” according to the NLM article, for women with lower economic status when the right to control one’s own fertility is taken away. This lack of access hinders women from choosing to prevent a pregnancy with contraceptives. 

Why should women have to hop through hoops to choose when to get pregnant? Is she not smart enough,  and sane enough, to make that decision about her own body? It’s exhausting to have that personhood stripped away from you. I have a choice, and so should any woman in any situation. But I guess it was never really about any of that, it was about regulating women’s bodies. 

All of these things affect abortion rates and keep women from making the choice for their body. Their body they grew up with. Their body that was once five and running as fast as it could at recess. Their bodies that changed when they were younger, thrusting them into the objectification of a male gaze. Their bodies, which they may not know that much about because the American sexual education system often falls short of educating. 

Women are not just some incubators to store babies in, they are people with thoughts, dreams and futures. Before “that” body was impregnated, it was hers, and after, it’s hers too. Nothing changes when someone gets fertilized; your rights should not be stripped away and you are just as much of a person and citizen as anyone else. Just because the patriarchal system sees a female body as foreign and other does not mean that it is! 

Next time you listen to an unbiased abortion debate, examine if we’re still viewing women as autonomous beings. Reproductive rights are just rights because they have to do with a woman’s body and their ability to be a sentient, autonomous being. That doesn’t change when they get pregnant. It should never be your call, or a policy decision, on what a woman decides to do with herself. So hear me loud and clear when I say it, it was never about the fetus — it was always about controlling the women’s bodies.

If you disagree with abortion, then you don’t have to get one! It is great news, almost as if the debate would cease to exist if everybody just did as they pleased and didn’t insert their own opinions into everything. But just because you don’t believe in abortion, it does not give you the right to tell another woman what to do with her body. That is her choice, and it should be respected.