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One step back

The “pro-life” and “pro-choice” conversation isn’t getting us anywhere. The most recent election has devolved into counterproductive arguments. It is time to think about the topic from different perspectives. Perhaps we need to take one step back from the conversation in order to see it better. Then we will be able to look at the real problems behind the problem.

Here’s one issue – if we had better contraception then we wouldn’t have a need to even talk about abortion for the vast majority of unwanted pregnancies. Our unwanted pregnancy rate in America, a developed nation, is astounding and embarrassing. If we had safe and effective ways to ensure that women did not get pregnant when they don’t want to, we wouldn’t have to debate pro-choice.

And that is what it is – choice. The very words we use are important. It doesn’t have to be a polarizing discussion of Life versus Death. Choice is something else. It means that women have a choice, a legal and safe option, if they find themselves unintentionally pregnant. The way the discussion is set up, it is White versus Black, with no option for Grey. It is Morning versus Evening with no option for Afternoon.

We’ll never get anywhere when we keep having this conversation this way.

Choice is important. Nobody has the right to force their belief system on someone else. I will not stand by while others attempt to force their beliefs on others by removing their choices in how to live. While I personally don’t want to undergo the difficult decision whether to carry a pregnancy to term, I feel it is not my place to make that decision more difficult than it already is for a woman who finds herself pregnant at a time when she is unable to financially raise a child. It is not just or right to force a woman to become a mother because her options have been taken away from her. Taking this further, it is a form of institutionalized rape to insist that a woman have a child that she does not want. This is what happens when a woman no longer has access to a safe way to end her pregnancy.

Here’s another idea – rather than put all the focus on women, how about we make men accountable for their actions? How about we as a culture insist that men not have sex unless they are willing to raise the child they produce? Men must have an equal burden of responsibility for their actions. As for right now, women are stuck with the short end of the stick.

Men can leave. Women can’t. Women are stuck with the results. A one-night stand can change a woman’s life forever. A man can walk away. Sure, the woman can attempt to sue for child support, but there’s no guarantee she’ll get it. Then she is stuck with a child she didn’t expect or plan for. Having a child raises your expenses dramatically. That money doesn’t appear out of thin air.

To everyone who wants abortion to be made legal – are you willing to personally adopt every child who is conceived unintentionally? Of if not that, are you willing to pay for the food, housing, and education of every child who is conceived unintentionally?

Barring that, let us work towards reducing the rate of unintentional pregnancies. If women don’t get pregnant unless they are planning on it, then we won’t even have to worry about abortions.

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