Opinion: Abortion rights are necessary


IMG_1912 / Elvert Barnes / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Abortion rights have been up for debate since abortion became a medical practice. The March for Life is a protest of the rights granted after Roe v. Wade, which some pro-choicers attend to advocate the protection of these rights.

Nisha Marino, Highlander Editor-in-Chief

The murder rate in Georgia is about to go up. At least as far as the law is concerned.

Last week, Georgia passed a bill that will go into effect in January 2020 banning abortions after a heartbeat is detected in a fetus. Other states have similar bills up for review, and pro-choice advocates across the country are outraged.

I am one of those people.

Of course, there are scientific reasons that laws such as the “heartbeat bill” are unsound. But I’m not a scientist or a doctor, and honestly, I don’t care about the scientific immorality of these laws as much as I do the social immorality. My concerns are for female rights, reproductive rights, and the repercussions of forced pregnancy and childbirth.

A woman who does not want to have a child should not be required to have one. There is no shortage of children in the foster system, yet we do not force parents to take them in. Children are a commitment of time, money, and energy, and anyone unwilling or unable to provide those three things will not. Or perhaps she will, but at a great cost to herself.

Frankly, I am terrified of these laws. Common sense and voting patterns tell me that a law such as Georgia’s heartbeat bill would never pass in California, but I also do not intend to live my entire life here. Should I ever decide to move, I would need to consider the rights I would have in a new state.

On the extreme side, if a man were to rape me, would I be legally required to birth his child? Then, for the next 18 years of my life, would the state require that I take care of that human being? Or could I give the baby up for adoption and hope that some lovely couple would be better at raising said child than I would?

What if I intentionally got pregnant, but complications put my life at risk during childbirth? Would I die for a child I would never get to meet?

There are thousands of what-ifs and thousands of women for whom those what-ifs are a reality. Women without the financial means to care for a child, women who have lost the desire to care for a child, women who never wanted a child but ended up pregnant nonetheless. Women who deserve the right to choose what to do with their bodies and the humans they may carry within them.

Abortion laws should not be case-by-case. An anti-abortion law with exceptions will never work because lawmakers and law-enforcers who want to punish someone will find a way.

Everyone should care about these laws, regardless of their sex or their state of residence. Beyond science, religion, or a personal belief that you would never have an abortion, shouldn’t we all respect a woman’s right to her body? I certainly think so.