First thing that you need to know about me is that I’m terrified of getting pregnant before I’m ready. Don’t get me wrong, I’m safe. After past boyfriends telling me “oh but it feels better without it” and “I just want to feel closer to you,” I’ve learned my lesson. But to be truthful, I wasn’t always careful. I let those clichés get to me.
And if we’re being even more truthful, it does feel better without a condom. But 10 minutes of pleasure doesn’t make up for 3 weeks of pure panic. It gets old having your thoughts terrorize you for weeks on end wondering if those cramps you’re getting are from the cold pizza you ate or a fetus growing inside of you.
“If those cramps you’re getting are from the cold pizza you ate or a fetus growing inside of you.”
I grew up conflicted. I have parents who are pro-choice, but friends called dibs on who could be the aunt when I told them I thought I was pregnant. They laughed at the thought of it, while I had to hold back throwing up on their shoes. They couldn’t even say the word ‘abortion’ without judging. It’s a terrifying feeling: wondering what comes next. You feel alone and you have to think of what happens if the test comes back positive.
Around 1 in 4 women will get an abortion by age 45, according to the Guttmacher Institute. But all pro-choice women have to deal with the same arguments:
1. “Abortion is used as a contraceptive;”
2. “You sign up for the possibility of getting pregnant every time you have sex;
3. “Abortions are dangerous;”
4. “Abortion is murder;
5. “You’ll regret it.”
But let’s break it down:
1. No, abortion is not a contraceptive. We have pills, IUDs, condoms, and so much more. Having to go through an abortion can be heavy. More than 53 percent of the women who had abortions thought it was “difficult or very difficult.” But difficult or not, it just has to be the pregnant person’s decision. Our body, our choice.
2. No, I signed up for sex. Saying that is the equivalent of saying you sign up for getting hit by a bus every time you cross the street. Now, if you want a baby…it’s not like getting hit by a bus.
3. No, abortions are not dangerous. After extensive research by the CDC, mortality rates show that childbirth is about 14 times more deadly than abortion. Banning abortion doesn’t eliminate it, it eliminates the safety of it. Amnesty.org estimates that around 25 million unsafe abortions take place each year, mostly in countries that don’t have access to the tools necessary for a safe procedure. If you need more proof, a global study concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal versus where it is not. Outlawing doesn’t get rid of it, it just makes it fatal for us.
4. As far as thinking abortion is murder, nothing I can say can change your mind. Truthfully, I don’t know what to say. There are so many mindsets from scientists to philosophers on what a fetus actually is. In the bare meaning, a fetus is made of human DNA, it is the potential of a human being. But I do know this: If we ban abortion, it’ll result in the killings of millions of people who are pregnant. To me, that is murder. That is something we can prevent.
5. 95 percent of women report getting an abortion was the right decision. People who are pregnant do it because they know they aren’t ready, whether it be emotionally, mentally, or financially. We know our bodies and what is right for us.
Abortion rights are under attack. Our free will as people who can get pregnant is compromised, yet again. As of right now, abortion is legal in all 50 states, but on March 4 the Supreme Court of the United States will hand down a ruling that can threaten the future of our healthcare. A multitude of states, to this day, regulate our bodies through regulations such as limiting access to the abortion pill, preventing private insurers from covering abortion, receive counseling before the procedure, demand parental consent for a minor, make people wait a day or more, and not allowing abortions altogether after a certain period of time.
The Supreme Court ruled in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, that abortion is legal. Forty-six years later, it’s changing for the worst. There have been legislative decisions about criminalization of people seeking abortions and their doctors. Throughout this year we’ve seen multiple states In Georgia, the governor recently signed a “fetal heartbeat” bill that outlaws abortion after six weeks and subject people who get abortions to life imprisonment or the death penalty. Ohio, Missouri, and Georgia are other states to legalize a heartbeat bill. Alabama signed a bill that bans abortions all together. Let me repeat: Banning abortions will only ban the safety behind it. Fortunately, courts have temporarily blocked these bills from taking effect, but they show the threat is real.
“Banning abortions will only ban the safety behind it.”
If we actually want to address the rates of abortion, the government needs to make birth control easily accessible. After the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation, birth control has been included into preventative health care because extensive research has proven the fact that birth control HELPS people. Studies of women who take birth control say 63 percent of women allowed themselves to take care of themselves or families, 56 percent could support themselves financially, 51 percent could complete their education, and 50 percent could keep or get a job.
To not provide something that clearly helps people in so many aspects is wrong. To deny people who can get pregnant their birth control is sex discrimination. Planned Parenthood states that “Failure to provide coverage for prescription contraceptive drugs and devices in health plans that otherwise cover prescription drugs violates the Civil Rights Act.” They stated this because it alienates people who can get pregnant. In order to make birth control more accessible, the government needs to eliminate co-pays for pills and make other contraception more affordable. If they can do it for Viagra, I think they can do it for us, too.
If they can do it for Viagra, I think they can do it for us, too.
Ever since I learned about sex, the thought of getting pregnant terrified me. I told my first boyfriend we wouldn’t have sex unless I was on the pill and had access to condoms. I lost my virginity with just a condom on, and panicked for 3 weeks if I was pregnant. Last year, I dated a man who constantly didn’t put on a condom, despite my incessant begging. I remember spending the last of my paycheck on pregnancy tests, rather than dinner. Two months ago, a man came inside of me, without warning. That was the first time I bought Plan B, and the first time I had a panic attack after sex.
This is my message to anyone in a situation where you’re scared: It will be okay. You’re not alone. We need to stand up and keep fighting for our bodies.