Abortion is a heated subject particularly in the United States with the debate being centered on whether or not it should be legal. The pro-life camp says abortion should be outlawed and this will stop abortion from happening. The pro-choice camp argues that if abortion is outlawed desperate women will resort to dangerous illegal methods to obtain abortions, jeopardizing their future fertility and their lives. I agree with the latter. I am pro-choice but at the same time I am anti-abortion. Confused yet? Allow me to clarify. Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion or pro-death, it is rather an acceptance of a grisly reality. Thousands of women are forced to seek abortions every year. The driving forces vary but rape, incest, abuse, extreme poverty, and drug addiction top the list. Women seeking abortion are by definition desperate In the words of Hilary Clinton “No woman ever wants to have an abortion”. Outlawing abortion will not have much of an impact on women seeking to have abortions. The brunt of humanities effort should be on the task of supporting women with aid and education to prevent them from needing to seek abortion.
I am not alone in this reasoning. Several congressmen introduced legislation in congress last year to establish and fund aid and education programs with the specific intent of decreasing abortions. Now that makes sense, attack the problem at its roots by healing the conditions that are causing the symptom. Outlawing abortion in the hopes of lowering its statistics is just damage control in the form of neosporin and a band-aid on an arterial wound. It is a waste of energy for all involved because the fight takes away from our ability to decrease the factors that lead to abortion in the first place. Apparently some pro life congressman disagreed with the proposed legislation. Many were aghast at the notion that abortion could be lowered by aid to poor women claiming “our women can not be bribed in to keeping their children”. Are they serious? How far removed from their constituents can they be to consider assistance to women in dire poverty as a bribe? He speaks as if the programs will give her a wad of cash upon “delivery” of her baby so she can run right out and get an Ipod.
There are so many women out there who need real help. There are women faced with a desperate choice – feed and pay for the child in the highchair or bring the potential life residing in her womb in to the world. I do not think I need go into detail about the choice facing pregnant women who are the victims of severe physical abuse, rape, and incest. I do not feel that the current debate over Roe vs. Wade is doing anything to lower the number of abortions. I contend that if Roe v. Wade were overturned illegal abortions would skyrocket. I expect the fight will continue. Of the pro-life camp I would hope that they will spend at least as much time helping with alternatives to abortion as they do making sure that there is no legal and relatively safe procedure available. I hope they help dissuade the ones who are going to resort to knitting needles and “accidental” falls down the stairs; they will have to if they are ever to be successful in their attempts to stop abortion. Of the pro-choice camp I hope that they spend as much time supporting abortion alternatives as they do supporting abortion rights. Almost all of us would rather live in a world where a woman does not have to choose.
There are many ways that individuals and groups, regardless of their opinions regarding the legality of abortion, can help women who need it and lower the abortion rate. Individuals can volunteer their time to a group that helps disadvantaged mothers to be. Many of these groups exist offering everything from assistance with obtaining pre-natal vitamins and rides to the doctor to providing shelters that serve as sanctuaries for pregnant women. Locating groups such as these is easy, as the United Way would be happy to connect you with one. Individuals can also write their congressman and let them know that you support programs that help mothers bring healthy babies in to the world. Churches, businesses and other organizations can “sponsor” a pregnant woman who might otherwise have an abortion. By sponsor I mean arrange all the help she could need; shelter, medical care, rides to the doctor, education and job skills. A good sized group of people could pool their resources to accomplish this. The point is any time an argument is happening, both sides have the tendency to waste resources on the battle ultimately taking away from their original mission. I think that we can all agree that we need to do more to stop women from seeking abortions in the first place.