I am perpetually puzzled when people state that they don’t believe in abortion. What does that mean exactly? You don’t need to believe in abortion for it to happen. We know from 2000 years of history that women have found ways to end their pregnancies whether or not their government declared the practice as legal. The question is, do you believe that abortion should be a safe and legal medical procedure for a woman to decide if and when she needs it.
I have come to think that what people mean to say is that they feel they wouldn’t decide to have an abortion themselves or support it as an option for their loved ones. But this too is problematic. Many women who felt that way at one point have decided later on that ending their pregnancy was the best option for them, for their own very valid reasons. Despite what you think you know and feel right now, you can’t know what would be going on with your pregnancy and your life at all points in your future. You just can’t know.
Only a woman can judge what is best for her pregnancy at that time. This is America where liberty and individual decision-making are held sacred. If you “don’t believe in abortion”, please ask yourself if you really feel that it should not be safe, legal, what are you doing to prevent women from seeking out that procedure? Are you supporting politicians in passing legislation that imposes medically unnecessary and unconstitutional restrictions on abortion providers? Do you support employers restricting what type of birth control their women employees can access? Is your aim to shame and coerce a woman?
Or will you join us in the Reproductive Justice movement in fighting to pass legislation that mandates medically-accurate sexual health education in our schools that all the research shows empowers young people to make life choices that put them in healthy relationships, delay pregnancy and prevent STIs? Will you join us in the Reproductive Justice movement in fighting for wider access to contraception? And will you fight with us to keep abortion safe and legal so that women’s lives are not at risk as they were before Roe v. Wade?
You don’t have to believe in abortion. You just need to join us in our fight to put women’s health and safety first. Please think about it.
Posted on 10/5/14 by Christina Renee Mullinax, past National NOW Board member. Currently, Mullinax is Regional Organizer at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.