Op-ed: Women Not Wombs, or the Hypocrisy of the Pro-Life Movement

Clad in her thigh-high politics, writer Lauren Duca said, “When it comes to true financial and social equity, a woman’s right to choose is nonnegotiable.” In conjunction with President Trump’s recent attack against Obamacare, the effort to defund Planned Parenthood and all organizations that offer abortion clinics has again been brought to the forefront of politics. In the White House (and other branches of government), old white men (lacking ovaries) have crowded around an anti-abortion executive order to rule once and for all that the reproductive systems of 157 million women in this country are an entity that should be governed. As this ideology continues to thrive under the Republican reign, it is crucial to recognize the danger posed by coat-hanger methods and the illegal black market system that women resorted to just decades ago to perform abortions. These methods, conjured out of desperation, made opting out of the unhealthy and premature commitment that accompanies an unwanted pregnancy fundamentally dangerous. The stigma and opposition surrounding a woman’s right to have an abortion is blatant proof that we as a society do not trust a woman’s capability of making logical and self-governing decisions. Reproductive health, especially including abortion, should be fully accessible and funded by our government.

Regardless of the circumstance– whether it be rape, faulty birth control, or even immaturity– pregnancy should never be treated as a punishment. An unwanted and poorly-timed pregnancy does not only harm the woman, but it also sets a detrimental path for the child. This path includes neglect, poor financial situations, negative psychological impacts, and numerous other harms to the child. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a pro-life Republican, reasons that, “every human life is a precious gift from God”. Yet it is important to acknowledge that life is treated less of a “gift” if it is given as a punishment and taken unwillingly. Going through with an unwanted pregnancy creates a decades-long financial burden for the woman and will more than likely foster overwhelming emotional and psychological instability (especially in cases of rape/unhealthy relationships). It is unfortunate, to say the least, that the argument for pro-life often excludes the life of the woman.

Not only is the pro-life agenda toxic in that manner, but there is also a gaping hole in their argument that cannot be ignored. Those who are passionate about the pro-life ideals go to the extent of blocking entrances to abortion clinics, yet those same people will never be seen marching in the fight against police brutality, protesting against gun rights, and against the missiles sent to Syria. It seems that the only way to stir a pro-lifer’s anger is if you slap an “UNBORN” sticker on it. If their proclaimed ideals about the preservation of life were true, they would theoretically apply to the lives of Black Americans and Syrians. To this day, the pro-life agenda has yet to support and speak out on proper and sufficient sex education, childcare, and institutionalized racism so that we can increase the quality of life rather than the quantity. Defunding and making abortion illegal does not at all correspond to the message of its title “pro-life.”

At any and all circumstances, women should have complete autonomy over their own body. This, like Duca explained, is entirely non-negotiable. Prohibiting abortion, and defunding the clinics offering this procedure, perpetrates the toxic stigma that women are not able to make rational and beneficial decisions for themselves. Equality under the law can not be achieved until all restrictions on abortion is lifted. The option to avoid a burdening financial and time commitment that will more than likely change the track of one’s life should not be controlled by the government. Dismissing these circumstances further instigates the idea that a woman and her reproductive system act as two different entities under the law. In no way does this stubborn ignorance have a place in our government.

~Patricia Agnes, D204 

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