By Jackie Green
Jackie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or comments.
The Pro Choice versus Pro Life debate always leaves me feeling angry.
I understand and respect the activists walking the streets and fighting for a woman’s right to her own body. I wholeheartedly believe that to be important and necessary. While I may agree with the Left a lot on this topic, I can’t help but feel alienated by them.
But I am not so keen on taking the Right’s strict pro life stance on the topic either.
Let’s be honest, this is never an easy issue to talk about, so I’ll just come out and say it: I’m not for abortion.
Before you slam on your brakes, pro choice folks, hear me out.
What I mean by this is simple. I personally would not get an abortion – but I also believe that I shouldn’t be able to decide what someone else does with their own body.
This doesn’t just apply to abortion but to every aspect of your life. You make choices every day that impact your body, and sometimes you take extreme measures to make changes. On the other hand, you can prevent pregnancy pretty easily. Trust me, I’ve been in a committed relationship for 8 years and I have never had a pregnancy scare. It’s about being responsible and educating yourself. Simple as that. If you cannot fathom ever getting pregnant, then it’s time to take preventable measures to ensure that doesn’t happen. In my opinion, it all starts with sexual education in schools. If you are properly educated on sex and the risks associated with it then you tend to take more precautions.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, In the United States only 24 states are required to teach comprehensive sex education in school. Out of all 50 states, only 18 are required to teach students about contraceptive methods. This is not only dangerous from a pregnancy prevention perspective, but from a prevention of sexually transmitted diseases perspective!
Proper sexual education and education on contraception in schools could eliminate a lot of unwanted pregnancies and sexual transmitted infections, which would of course lower abortion rates.
In Canada, sex education is heavily regulated and mandatory. However, I would say that Canada is nowhere near perfect at this point.. According to Statistics Canada, in 2014 alone, there were 81,897 abortions performed by a medical professional. That is an obscenely high number of abortions in a country of only 35 million people!
When it comes to abortion, I believe it should all depend on individual circumstances, not a strict pro life or pro choice stance. Let’s take rape victims for example. They make up a small percent of the population who has abortions, but that doesn’t make it irrelevant. If someone is raped or is the victim of sexual abuse at home for instance, abortion should be a viable option.
It’s unethical and downright wrong to take that choice away from a victim. There are women who would rather take their own lives and take other extreme measures to abort a child that was conceived by a rapist or abuser. This doesn’t even take into account the risks some women who are not victims of sexual abuse take regularly to get abortions when it is not available in their city, state, or country.
While I don’t think abortion should be made illegal, I do believe that it should be properly regulated.
If you are a rape victim or a victim of sexual abuse then I believe that in that situation, if the woman consents to do so, she should be able to have an abortion. If you are just reckless and irresponsible and utilize abortions as a form of birth control, then shame on you. I think people like that should be paying for their abortions (Where I live in Canada, abortion is government funded under our health care system), just as people pay for their own birth control pills. It should not be financially covered by the government in these situations. There are many different birth control methods to choose from and abortion is not one of them. Abortions end a human life, and they put stress on your body on a physical and emotional level. Abortions should not be used as a cop out for your lack of responsibility.
If you want to have an abortion then go for it. I will not stop you. I will not tell you that you cannot have one. I will say one thing though; You should really consider your actions and the effect that they have on everyone including your unborn child. Stay safe and be responsible!
For an opposing and interesting take, check out my friend Stefanie MacWilliams’ piece, “Your Right To Sex Is Not More Important Than Your Child’s Right To Life”.