Abortion: My Body, My Choice

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Earlier this month, Alabama's governor, Kay Ivey, signed into law the most restrictive abortion legislation in the United States. The legislation bans abortion in nearly all circumstances, including rape and incest; with the only exception to the ban being when a woman's health is at serious risk. However, due to ongoing legal challenges, these bans have yet to be put into effect. It is imperative that women, men and civil rights groups continue to challenge this outrageous ban and to fight for women’s rights.

Aside from Alabama, multiple conservative states across America have passed so called 'heartbeat” bills that ban abortions after a foetal heartbeat can be detected. That can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy before many women even know that they are pregnant. These states include; Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and more. Due to their outdated political views, these states are desperate to dramatically wind back abortion laws. They hope to elicit a legal challenge and persuade the Supreme Court to overturn the landmark 1973 decision Roe vs Wade, which essentially made the procedure legal across the country. This destruction of autonomy would strip away women’s rights and reverse the progress women have made over the last century.

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The law is black and white, but life, of course, is not. Many women choose to have an abortion for a variety of reasons, such as financial difficulty, abusive relationships, health problems, rape, and incest. There are endless stories about women in heart-breaking circumstances; the woman who became pregnant and has a violent spouse; the woman who is recently unemployed and is unable to afford another child; or the underage girl worried she’ll be thrown out of home if she reveals her pregnancy. Even though 1 in 4 women will undergo abortion in their lifetime, stigma keeps their stories untold.

Erica Goldblatt Hyatt learned her son had a rare condition and he would likely not make it to birth. It was her first baby. He was diagnosed with Congenital High Airway Obstruction Syndrome because his trachea (windpipe) did not form. He also had a chromosomal abnormality, Trisomy 16, which frequently leads to miscarriage. Erica and her husband consulted with foetal surgeons, as some babies with this syndrome could undergo surgery after birth. But their son's case was too severe. Doctors told her if their baby didn't die of heart failure in the womb, he would be born brain dead. Erica and her husband made one of the hardest decisions they have ever faced as a couple. They decided to end the pregnancy.

Erica says, “I had a second trimester abortion. Our son never formed an airway. Had he survived birth he would have been brain dead. That wasn't the life I wanted for him. It was the first true parenting decision I ever made. I am not a monster or a criminal”.

Angie Marie Luna, however, had an abortion for a very different reason. Angie was raised in a religious, Mexican-American Catholic household and was always told that abortion was a sin. This was reinforced by her parents, her siblings and her abusive boyfriend who, she says, refused to wear a condom as a means of controlling her behaviour. Angie says, “he told me later that he intentionally tried to get me pregnant so I would drop out of college”. Angie had abortions at ages 18 and 19, enabling her to turn her life around, and now works as an ambassador for Youth Testify, striving to break the taboos surrounding abortion.

Women such as Erica and Angie are extremely fortunate to have had the option of abortion. However, women in Alabama are under fire as they are having this right torn away at the hands of Governor Kay Ivey. Ivey vocally opposes abortion rights as she says that the legislation, “stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God”. Ivey’s Pro-Life message is a common theme among many anti-abortion activists. 'We are trying to stop a holocaust of babies,' said Joy Pinto, an Alabama anti-abortion campaigner who is a big supporter of the changes. Pinto is extremely manipulative in this statement, claiming women who chose abortion to be the cause of a “holocaust,” a destructive phrase that leads women to feel guilty for having an abortion.

Conversely, opponents to the law have been very vociferous in their outcry. Al Jazeera's Heidi Zhou-Castro, reporting from Washington, DC, was brave in saying that this would, “punish rape victims and it would push women to seek abortions underground in unsafe procedures.' Civil rights groups have also been extremely heroic in their pledge to immediately challenge the ban in courts, which would mean abortion would remain legal in the state for now.

Instead of criminalising women and their decisions about their own bodies, we must remember that women are entitled to their privacy and their freedom. In a world in which the fate of women’s bodies, our bodies, are casually and carelessly used as a political tool or a weapon for cultural warfare, it's unsurprising that women may want to keep their personal decisions for themselves.

It is imperative that elected officials respect the range of women’s complex, lived experiences and stop making laws that threaten a woman’s ability to make the decision that is right for her. That starts with putting an end to these cruel and misguided bans on abortions. These decisions are not political, they are personal. We must leave the practice of medicine up to doctors and, more importantly, trust women in our lives to make the personal decision that’s best for them and their families.

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Abortion: My Body, My Choice. (2022, November 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 24, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/abortion-my-body-my-choice/
“Abortion: My Body, My Choice.” Edubirdie, 25 Nov. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/abortion-my-body-my-choice/
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Abortion: My Body, My Choice [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Nov 25 [cited 2024 Jun 24]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/abortion-my-body-my-choice/

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