I’d like to take a moment to publicly address the recent overturning of Roe v Wade. As citizens in a democracy with freedom of speech as a core principle, I think it’s important that we have public debates about these issues when necessary. To stay silent would be an abdication of our duty to our country.
Unfortunately, this is a complex issue with valid points on both sides. Plus, there are higher-order effects from this decision that are not immediately obvious and will have significant long-term impacts on many people. So, I’d also like to use this opportunity to provide more context for this ongoing debate as well.
To those of you who are pro-life, I agree with you that all human life is valuable, and we should strive to protect all life — especially those that cannot protect themselves — as one of our highest duties.
To those of you who are pro-choice, I also agree with you that we should be able to make our own informed decisions about our bodies and our health – provided that those decisions do not put the general public at greater risk.
Where we may disagree, is in our definition of when a fertilized egg becomes a human life or when that life should be afforded the same protections that we provide our fellow citizens via our social contract.
However, it’s fine if we disagree on this point. Unfortunately, life is complex and there is no clear-cut definition of when life begins scientifically, medically, or otherwise. Both the beginning of life and its end are phase transitions, not binary states. So, being “alive” is not a sharp distinction – rather it’s a fuzzy one.
What I think we can all agree upon though is that females who are old enough to reproduce are in fact living people whose life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness deserve protection by the laws of our country.
So, for those of you still on the fence about whether the US Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade is a victory for our country or a tragedy, I’d like you to consider the following:
Roughly 1 in 50 pregnancies are ectopic pregnancies requiring an abortion to eliminate the risk of serious complications or death to the mother. That’s roughly 100,000 medically necessary abortions that occur each year in the USA. Today, these women’s rights may be restricted in some states.
Roughly 1 in 6 women have been the victim of rape in their lifetime. That’s roughly 463,000 potential pregnancies each year that may require an abortion to preserve the mental health of the rape survivor. Today, these women’s rights may be restricted in some states.
Roughly, half of all pregnancies are unintended. That’s 3 million pregnancies each year that may derail a woman’s life, education, career, and family planning with long-lasting multi-generational impacts. Today, these women’s rights may be restricted in several states.
And these are just a few of the many reasons why someone might want or need an abortion — all of which may now be illegal in several states as a result of last week’s ruling.
I know some of you are thinking to yourself, “there’s no way these numbers can be correct – they are just too high to be real!” Well, in that case, I encourage you to check my sources. Unfortunately, due to the social stigma surrounding abortion, many of us never hear these women’s stories in our daily lives.
However, these women are more than just statistics – they are actual human lives being directly impacted by the consequences of recent events. These are our mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces, and friends. They deserve to have their voices heard and to have equal protection under our laws.
If we criminalize abortion, we are taking away these women’s right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. It might not be the right choice for you or me, but it might be the only reasonable choice for someone else – especially since these issues disproportionately impact the lives of minorities.
And when it comes to protecting the right to life, to be “pro-life” in all situations means that you must be “pro-choice” in at least some situations. Take ectopic pregnancy for example. If you don’t allow a woman to elect to have an abortive procedure, you are threatening her right to life in the process.
This is why I support the right for women to make informed decisions about their own reproductive health. I believe that it should be up to each woman to decide what is best for their own unique situation — with the consultation of medical professionals and their support network – not state legislature.
The unfortunate reality is that a majority of the lawmakers in many states do not have the necessary background in science, medicine, economics, or (in many cases) the proper genitalia to fully understand the real-world implications and higher-order effects of their public-policy decisions on women.
And, neither do I, which is why I feel that this power should be left to the women who are directly impacted by the consequences of these situations – not politicians.
However, if after hearing all of this, you still feel that the repeal of Roe v. Wade is a step forward for our country, then let me ask you this: Which of the countries, in red, on the map below do you feel best represents this “forward-thinking” direction for our country?
All of the countries in red still prohibit abortions – like will soon be the case in the USA. All of the countries in blue, however, allow abortions and protect a women’s right to choose. After having visited over 40 of these countries in my lifetime, I know first-hand which countries I most want the USA to resemble.
Unfortunately, many of the countries in red are still struggling for basic rights to life, liberty, and freedom of speech. Rights that we now take for granted because previous generations fought relentlessly for them. Rights that we must fight for again today or else they will be taken away.