The Pro-Choice Debate


By Devon Stoeber

In the news, I’ve been reading lots of headlines about the closure of certain abortion clinics and the constant debate about whether or not abortion is a humane decision. I was initially angered by this topic when the Planned Parenthood in Mill Valley closed down, because the clinic provided many people I knew with access to services that they needed. However, I understood that the reasoning behind the closure was due to the lack of business that specific site was getting. But I never forgot the stories of protests going on outside of the Mill Valley location.

As I watched the topic spread across many headlines I read more and more about closures of big abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood clinics. However, these clinics were closed because of people shutting them down. I read stories about protestors shaming women who enter these clinics and physically and verbally attacking them. I have always understood that the lack of agreement on the controversial matter stems from different beliefs about when life begins coupled with various religious concerns, but I have never been so appalled by the debate as I am right now. I am a strong believer that women should have the right to safely terminate a pregnancy, and I feel it is necessary that we, as a country, never limit a woman’s ability to get an abortion if she needs one.

The closure of abortion clinics will not fix any issues present today. In fact it will most definitely increase the birth rate and the numbers of children in poverty. In many cases, a woman or a family gets an abortion because they know they will be unable to support the child financially or will be unable to provide them with the support and attention that a child needs. If we completely prevent all abortions by closing down all abortion clinics, women will be forced to have these children even if that means bringing them into a life that will not be suitable for a child or a family. Having a baby is very expensive in itself. If the mother decides to put the child up for adoption, she still has to pay for doctors visits and other various expenses throughout her pregnancy. In addition to the cost, there are many other serious issues that a woman decides to get an abortion for the safety and well-being of the child in the future. In a study done by Guttmacher Institute in New York of 1,209 abortion patients at 11 large providers found that among the structured survey respondents, 73 percent of women said they could not afford a baby. In addition, 48 percent of women cited relationship problems or a desire to avoid single motherhood  Women also cited possible problems affecting the health of the fetus or concerns about their own health, 13 percent and 12 percent respectively. These health concerned varied  from chronic or debilitating conditions such as cancer and cystic fibrosis to pregnancy-specific concerns such as gestational diabetes and morning sickness.

In addition to the very serious issue of giving birth to a child into a family that can not support it, women should have the right to decide what happens with her body. In the event of an extreme case and the woman conceives the baby through non-consensual sex, then the woman should have every right to decide she does not want to have that child and she should not have to travel across the country in order to decide that.

It terrifies me to consider the possibility of not allowing someone to decide what is best for them when it comes to something so important and fragile as bringing a new life into the world. I do understand that not everyone agrees with me on this issue and that there are many people who believe abortions are not humane. I would hope that one day people who don’t agree with pro-choice advocates would understand that if they don’t want to get an abortion then they don’t have to, without preventing the people who do find it necessary to do so.