My freshmen year in college, I did a research paper on abortion. One of the things I learned about was some of the history of abortion pre-Roe v. Wade. I read about back alley abortions without any pain medication. I read about self-induced abortions with coat hangers. I read about women becoming sterile and I saw the statistics of women who have died from botched abortions. (And those were only the numbers that they knew for certain.) I started to think, perhaps abortion shouldn’t be illegal. I mentioned this to someone who I knew was involved with the pro-life group on campus. His response was that those women had chosen to have an abortion knowing the risks; an unborn baby had no choice in the matter. (At the time I felt kind of humbled. Now I know people who would have laughed bitterly at his use of the word “choice”.)
I still think abortion is wrong. I also think divorce is wrong. But sometimes, a family doesn’t really have a choice and it is a necessary last resort to end a marriage. I think in those cases, (especially cases of abuse and adultery) divorce needs to be legal in our country. I used to think abortion was black and white. Then I became pregnant. Then I had a baby. They were the two hardest things I have ever done in my life. Nothing about either of those things is black and white. Abortion, pregnancy, beginning of life, these are areas that are shaded with grays.
I still think abortion is wrong. You know what else is wrong? It is wrong to take away a woman’s access to birth control in the name of someone else’s religion. It is wrong to say that it is okay for a doctor to lie to a patient. It is wrong to force a woman who has been raped and violated to undergo an invasive vaginal ultrasound and to make her look at the pictures. It is wrong to force an unwanted child to be born when we are not taking care of the orphans and unwanted children who are already here. It is wrong to redefine rape in order to limit abortions done because you think that women are going to lie about that in order to end a pregnancy. Yes, a few might, but not enough to warrant a law that tells men it’s okay to take advantage of a women if she’s drunk or high, or dressed like she’s asking for it. I used to think that “health of the mother” was too broadly defined and that abortion access should be restricted. Now I’m watching that happen but not in ways that make any sense, and it’s wrong. We’re not targeting the people who are getting abortions because it’s inconvenient to have a child or because they don’t want to change their lifestyle (not black and white issues either people). We’re targeting the pregnant poor, the pregnant teens, the abused women who have been used like a hole. We’re targeting the people who are hurting, who don’t want to have an abortion but don’t want to have a baby and who can’t figure out what to do and who already feel guilty enough. (Gray, gray, gray!) And it’s wrong.
I don’t want to be pro-life right now, because right now pro-life doesn’t even mean anti-choice. Those Republicans who are passing these pro-life laws are anti-women. And it needs to stop.