Family planning and the ethical debate: the pro-choice argument

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By Robyn Belt

It is an issue as relevant as the energy crisis and equally pervasive. On the tongues of women’s health advocates and politicians, the pro-life/pro-choice debate has sparked contention and controversy whether on the front page or with active protest.

Regardless of where your opinions lie, the principles behind the abortion issue rely on freedom and the right of women to choose motherhood. There is, of course, a religious and financial component to the debate, but I have decided to write from a social and political front as it is likely more accessible. I am not, however, writing this article to take a moderate’s stance or to garner your approval. I am pro-choice and consider myself to be politically and socially liberal.

On such a personal and sensitive issue, I have found it difficult to take such a definitive stance, but I believe in a woman’s right to have reproductive freedom over her body. Allow me to clarify—I am not “pro-abortion.” In fact, in my research of the issue, I have never found an individual who is “pro-abortion.”

Instead, I have discovered that the pro-choice movement supports family planning and medical procedures without interference from federal government.

“Family planning” might sound like a pamphlet you’d pick up at a Planned Parenthood clinic, and maybe you actually could. But for women, particularly those in third-world countries, the ability to plan a family has been a choice solely placed upon their husbands. Regardless of whether a woman can medically and financially support a child, she becomes a mother, endangering herself and the life of her offspring.

At times, these unplanned pregnancies result in underground abortions, completely off the book and completely hazardous. In such procedures, a woman could literally die in her fight for a voice.

In our country, freedom is not regarded as a commodity since we are born with it. We are also fortunate in that the majority of the United States does not regard women as mere vessels for childbirth.

Consider now if the option of abortion was illegalized on a national level. What lengths would a woman go to in order to defend her rights? While parenthood is sacred, it is important to remember that it is inherently a choice.

To procreate, or not to procreate? That is the question.

Becoming a parent is a deeply emotional experience that requires a maturity that knows no bounds. I don’t have to tell you that some of the Teen Mom mommies are less-than-ideal candidates for the job. It is undeniable that every one of those girls loves her child. It is also undeniable that most have the support of family and MTV.

Pro-life advocates defend the rights of the unborn child, believing that life begins at the time of conception. I, however, choose to defend the rights of the mother. While it is true that fertilized zygotes do not have a voice, if abortion were illegalized, wouldn’t this also hold true for women?

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