I agreed with a pro-life argument today. And not just a pro-life argument that abortion is “bad”, a real argument by a real woman made in 1971, stating that we should not focus on abortion—two years before our Supreme Court made the Roe v. Wade decision.
Woah. I know. WHAT?!?!
Now before you give me a slap in the face, or a pat on the back (or something else because, let’s face it, anything and everything to do with pro-choice or pro-life is lightning bolt-charged with political and emotional energy), hear me out.
First, just a bit of background: I’m starting to read the book, Before Roe v. Wade: Voices That Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court’s Ruling. Included in this book is a speech given to the Judiciary Committee of the New Jersey Assembly when they held a public hearing to consider repealing of the state’s law criminalizing abortion. This book is wonderful because it includes a varying array of thoughtful, calculated perspectives.
So yes, this woman spoke against the repeal. However, and this is a big however, she did so because she intuitively saw the debate over abortion concerns (or should concern) so much more than just that procedure—it’s access to contraceptives, sexual education, and health care (before, during, and after pregnancy and/or childbirth).
The problem is not whether or not women should get abortions. (Though I will definitely argue against criminalizing abortion.) The problem lies within how we treat women in the laws, policies, and social constructs that we create.
Unfortunately lately, we’ve been treating women horribly.
If we don’t make educational, contraceptive, and preventative measures accessible and affordable TO EVERY WOMAN we put them in a position to have to make those decisions. If women and children don’t have access to affordable and obtainable child care, health care, and nutritional care after children are born, we’re essentially giving up on “life” immediately after birth.
It makes absolutely no sense to cut these services in the name of reducing abortion, as many states are trying. Making birth control unavailable will make the rate of abortions go up, not down.
If you want to stop abortions, or if you’re pro-choice, or if you’re somewhere in the middle, we MUST support ALL preventative measures and services that help provide children and women with essential care.
And we have to change the debate from whether abortion is or right or wrong, to whether how our policies treat women are right or wrong.