I have a body. You have a body. Would you call it yours? Unquestionably. You decide what to do with it. That’s one of the obvious privileges that everyone has. But one of the most important and life-changing rights of a woman is the right to have a baby or not. As Margaret Sanger said, “No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.” There is no right and wrong in the question of whether to abort a baby—it’s a confusingly shaded area of gray. However, it should be a valid option for a woman to take if she needs to.
If anyone’s worried about whether legalized abortion will make everyone run to Planned Parenthood just because they can, think again. Abortion is a mentally scarring experience for the woman going through the procedure. Many women only go through with this if they absolutely cannot keep the baby. If abortion is not a legal choice, many women, because of their situation, will try to get one anyway. These illegal procedures are extremely unsafe—most of those who get them suffer permanent damage to their reproductive organs, which will prevent them from having children later when they are ready. Some even die—and if you are really pro-‘life’, legal abortion would save the life of the mother, instead of having the mother and the fetus both die. Women also suffer mental damage from the lack of proper counseling. Banning abortion does nothing but put women in danger.
One of the main causes for abortion is getting pregnant when you’re too young to raise a child. Girls get pregnant at ages like 15—ninth grade. What were you doing in ninth grade? Probably stalking your crush online and worrying about homework. Yet, girls just like these are suddenly responsible for another being. And yes, you can say that they made a mistake and that there are consequences for that, but almost no young girl is ready for motherhood. You can punish them in other ways, but forcing them to have a baby when they’re not prepared physically or mentally is just plain cruel—to both the girl and the fetus. Keeping the baby can hinder their life. They may not have any familial support to help with a child, not be able to continue school, and they probably don’t even have the money to raise a kid.
Another reason to get an abortion is if that child’s life won’t be good even if it is born. A mother may not have the resources to feed and care for a child—she might not even have enough food to feed herself and any existing kids she could already have. A baby won’t develop properly if it isn’t fed and sheltered, and it may die even if it is delivered. It’s choosing between two things regarded as wrongs in our society—the willful ending of an unborn fetus’s existence, and giving birth to a child that may be unwanted for most of its life.
But there is one last reason to legalize abortion: pregnancy as a result of crime. When a woman is the victim of rape, incest, and/or child abuse and becomes pregnant, she doesn’t want the person who did that to her to be her child’s father. It’s someone who took advantage of her. Does anyone want a baby that was forced upon them? The baby is not the woman’s choice. Pro-life believers have to try to see that the woman is not just a place for a fetus to grow and then be discarded. In this situation, you have to choose between a scared young woman and a fetus that might not even be able to think yet.
Making abortion legal would give women a safe last resort. Making this illegal basically deprives women of the rights to their own bodies. Why would you do that? I don’t want anyone to think that I am supporting abortion as a form of birth control. I am just saying that when there is no other choice, women should have the access to abortion and counseling. I want to show people that legalizing abortion won’t make women abuse the right. I close with this quote from Frederica Mathewes-Green: “No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg.”