Safe and Legal Abortion is a Woman’s Health Issue
In light of the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion; the case is again being made by “pro-life” groups and individuals that the issue is about saving the lives of the innocent, unborn. Their most egregious taunt is calling pro-choice individuals “pro-abortion.”
No one is pro-abortion. We are pro-women’s health. Health as defined by the World Health Organization: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Access to safe and legal abortion and education, and access to contraception is a worldwide women’s health issue.
If you want to prevent abortion, then you must address the issue with comprehensive health and education solutions. As a health educator I am particularly appalled by the scare tactics and guilt creating lists of stats that “prove” the rampant, cavalier use and view of abortion such as this. I’m sick of the view that the pro-life proponents are so caring as to turn potential murderers to loving and happy mothers.
This in spite of the fact they belong to the same conservative voting block that is willing to remove support for the care of that child after birth. They singularly care about the fetus and do not participate in any action that might prevent woman from getting to that decision point. That includes social services, domestic violence and violence against women solutions, keeping comprehensive health education in schools, and access to contraceptives which are just a few of the considerations of the social contract.
It is a particularly unfortunate claim that they will ban abortion. They will never ban abortion, they will only ban safe abortions. Women have sought abortions for the past 4000 years and not always as a way to control their own fertility, even husbands, fathers, society, or culture have led women to seek abortion. While the availability and use of contraceptives reduce abortion, unsafe abortion is a public health and human rights issue. Where abortion is legally restricted it (once again) becomes the province of rich women and poor women on the fringes of society have to resort to unsafe procedures.
Until the pro-life movement shows an interest in fostering access to comprehensive women’s health care and education, including contraception, social standing and support, and the ability to make fully informed decisions about their choices, their movement is part of the problem of abortion.