In the world today, the public opinion on abortion is a fairly heated and well-talked-about subject. Those who are pro-choice argue that abortion should be legal for all women who seek it. On the other side, pro-life arguers believe that abortion should not be legal for women. There are multiple arguments and valid opinions to be made for both sides. As an independent young woman and a feminist, I see myself arguing for the pro-choice side.
The most private parts of a woman’s body and the most private decisions of her life have never been more public. Why must a woman defend her choice to not keep a baby just because she happened to get pregnant? A woman should have the right to control her own body by choosing whether or not to have an abortion. Family planning rights including abortion allow women to be more independent and make their own decisions and a woman’s decision to have an abortion varies on her own life circumstances.
Giving women the fundamental right to control their own bodies is a pressing human rights issue. The ultimate goal should be to educate and keep women safe, rather than dictating what they can or cannot legally do with their bodies. The legalization of abortion will allow women to one day see themselves as mothers by choice, not by fate.
Without family planning and abortion rights, a woman often loses the independence she has regarding her own body. The decision about whether or not to bring a child into the world is a deeply personal one that will affect a woman’s physical health, emotional life, economic status, work opportunities, and many other aspects of her life. Although a woman may hope to become a mother one day, the timing of her unwanted pregnancy may just not be right for her at that moment in her life. Forcing her to have the baby will only place a burden on her and the baby.
Ensuring access to abortion for all makes it more likely that women will have children only when they are ready, willing, and able to raise them. If a woman has a baby when she is ready, she is more likely to be able to support both herself and the baby. Because she may not be ready, an unwanted pregnancy will only place a greater burden on a woman especially if she is financially unstable.
Rather than viewing women who get abortions as “baby killers,” it’s time society starts thinking of the different and personal reasons a woman may choose to have an abortion. According to a 2004 study, 92 percent of women who had abortions, cited “social” or “other” reasons, rather than medical reasons or sexual assault as the primary basis for their abortions (Abortion: An Overview). Social reasons include the timing being wrong for having a child, not being able to afford a baby, having relationship problems with the father, or just not feeling mature enough to raise a child. If a woman simply does not feel ready to have a child, why force her to?
With the many personal reasons for having an abortion in mind, whether or not a person believes they themselves would have an abortion, it’s important to remember that every woman is different and her decision should and will primarily affect her. The disapproval of abortion is so great and goes so deep it’s hard for women to tell their friends and family that they have had one. This is a contributing factor in women being stereotyped. At the end of the day, women should always have the number one say in what they do with their bodies.