Reproductive Rights Battle Lingers

Pro-life versus pro-choice arguments distract from root causes of higher abortion rates


Julia Zhang

The battle of reproductive rights in the United States has become politicized and increasingly polarized

Betsy Fries, Photography Editor

There is no doubt in my mind that reproductive rights have been under attack for decades. It saddens me that this controversial subject has become as fueled by politics as it is today, and has become increasingly polarized.

I could continue on about why I stand by women having the right to: legal and safe abortion, the right to contraception, freedom from coerced sterilization, access to high-quality reproductive healthcare, sexual education, and make free and informed decisions. Nevertheless, I find a waste of breath–I cannot singlehandedly find a solution to the extremely polarized topic.

My philosophy is simple: if you are against abortion, just don’t have one. However, deciding what someone else can and cannot do with their own bodies is not your job. If abortion is not acceptable within your religious beliefs, great, don’t have one, but do not actively stop others from making that decision for themselves–just because you follow one belief does not mean everyone is required to. Furthermore, if you are not physically able to get pregnant, why should your voice, and opinion, matter more than those whom it directly affects?

For all of our sakes, I think that it is important to redefine the key differences between pro-life and pro- choice arguments. Being pro-choice has never been about encouraging abortion, rather, it offers women to have the choice over their own bodies. Pro-life arguments value the lives of unborn, not yet fully alive fetuses, equally with the lives of women who are already alive on this planet, which, over time, has translated to being against all abortions and for the government to have the power to control women’s right to choose if they want to have a child.

Abortions were made illegal in the 1860s, right around the time when slavery was abolished. From that point on, many men did not have anyone to do their free labor. So, instead, they capitalized from having big families–with lots of kids–that could work on the farms for free. Abortion may not have been made illegal because it was murdering potential humans, it was made illegal so men did not lose their money.

One can put the baby up for adoption, but if that baby doesn’t get adopted as an infant their chances of getting adopted significantly lowers. According to the Children’s Bureau it’s estimated in 2018 over 400,000 kids were in the foster care system. Our country’s foster care system constantly fails to meet the needs of children, and much of the time does not set them up for success. Instead of emphasizing the importance of women putting their children up for adoption, the focus should shift to encouraging more people to adopt children who are already alive and are in the foster care system.

If the end goal of a pro-life argument is to lower abortion rates, banning abortions is not the way to go: it will only increase the rate of illegal and extremely dangerous abortions. The pro-choice argument also supports lowering abortion rates, just in a way that also values the lives and choices of women that choose to abort and ensures their safety.

Instead of focusing on why abortion rates are so high, we should be focusing on what causes them to happen and how we can work to fix the root of the problem: let’s not let it even get to abortion. Let’s restructure sex education in schools to make it equitable and make teaching actual sexual health a priority. Let’s make birth control accessible and give women the right to choose what they want to do with their own bodies. Let’s improve our healthcare system, so women will not die in childbirth or from postpartum complications, such as extreme bleeding or postpartum depression.

Let’s care about the children after they are born and work to better a system that does not properly support them. And, let’s care about the children who are already on this Earth: they are the future of our planet.