Abortion. What female image comes to mind when you think of the concept? Maybe a distressed woman sitting alone in her bedroom, staring at an unwanted— and unexpected—positive pregnancy test. Maybe she’s too young to raise a baby, she's still a baby herself. Maybe she’s already a mom with three babies and can’t feed a fourth. Maybe she doesn’t like kids and doesn’t want a baby. Maybe she wanted a baby but finally realized her husband is an abusive unfit father-to-be.
It’s her body, her choice, her life, and none of your damn business. She can do whatever the hell she wants. Sorry. (Not actually sorry).
The United Nations has now officially labeled abortion as a human right.
The tragic consequences of illegal abortion are evident throughout history. Over a decade ago, a young woman in Peru experienced an unwanted pregnancy. According to Mic, three months into her pregnancy, K.L. learned that her baby was anencephalic—the baby would never develop a brain and would not survive.
In Peru, abortion is legal when the mother’s life is in danger. But according to Mic, K.L was denied that right and was, “forced to endure a pregnancy her mother described as an extended funeral.” The teenager nursed the hopeless child for four days before its death and afterward fell into a deep depression.
If K.L. had been allowed an abortion, she would have been able to avoid this heartbreaking experience.
According to the Human Rights Watch and the Guttmacher Institute, 13% of maternal deaths worldwide are attributed to unsafe abortion. 95% of abortions in Latin America and more than 97% of abortions in Africa were unsafe in 2008.
Abortion is, ironically, kinda like sex. Let’s say a parent doesn’t want their teenage daughter having sex. So, when the teenager asks for birth control, she’s sternly denied and shamed. Do you think that’s going to stop her? No, statistics say she will do what she wants to do, regardless of safety, consequence, and the opinions of others. Why? Because she knows it's her body, her decision. And a sex drive is a f*cking powerful thing.
The same concept applies to abortion. If a woman wants to have an abortion, laws and disapproving glares are not going to stop her. She’s going to find a way—even if this means undergoing an unsafe, painful, and possibly fatal illegal procedure.
Never underestimate the determination and capability of a brave woman in a desperate situation.
Why does the world need safe, legal abortion? Because abortion is beneficial.
According to Freakonomics, in the late 90’s—during the years the post Roe v. Wade babies were entering their late teen years and their criminal prime—the crime rate actually began to fall. As abortion rates rise, crime rates decrease.
“…The crime rate continued to fall as an entire generation came of age minus the children whose mothers had not wanted to bring a child into the world.” –Freakonomics, Chapter 4.
Mothers shouldn’t be forced to have children they don’t want. There are too many unwanted children in the world. Not all mothers raise their children well. And not all mothers give their children the love they need.
Abortion is seen as scandalous. Abortion is shamed. But here’s the reality: people have sex, and sometimes condoms fail. Sometimes birth control fails. And that sucks. Really sucks. But women shouldn’t have to bare the burden of an unwanted pregnancy for the rest of their lives—they have a choice.
Women have been aborting unwanted pregnancies since the beginning of time—the least we can do is make it safe, legal, and agree with the United Nations that abortion is a basic human right.
Image via gloriasteinem.com
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