There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that women have the ability to do amazing things. We can get any education we choose, pursue any job, play a sport, join the army, or do anything we might want to do. This is truly the greatest time in all of history for women to be living in. Still, one of our greatest abilities is having the power to grow another human being inside our bodies. The inherent ability of women to bear children combined with our new ability to impact the world beyond motherhood is one of the most beautiful aspects of being a woman today. However, some women’s rights activists are insisting that pregnancy only prevents women from doing what they want. With the looming 2020 election and more states passing restrictions on abortion, the case for reproductive rights and the “pro-choice” position, actually do little to create more options for women in crisis pregnancies.
Pro-choice advocates constantly argue that abortion is a necessary form of “healthcare”. Placing abortion under the guise of healthcare suggests that pregnancy is a disease, its symptoms are inability to be anything apart from a mother, and the only cure is abortion. Not only is pregnancy not a disease, but what these advocates fail to recognize is women can still go to school, have the career they always wanted, and receive the assistance they need during and after pregnancy. An unplanned pregnancy does not mean a woman is doomed for the rest of her life. When advocates insist that women need access to abortion, it suggests that a woman’s only hope for a real life is to terminate her pregnancy. Instead of arguing that women can’t bear a child and simultaneously contribute to society in another way, we should be working to enable them to do both. Most importantly, we should be assuring them that they can.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, the main reason women have abortions is that a pregnancy would dramatically interfere with their lives, particularly with their education, career, other children, or financial stability. The root issue here is a stigma against pregnancy created by fear. Women are made to fear that they will never be able to continue school, that they will be judged or punished, that they will lose their job, that they will not be able to support another child, that the child they carry will suffer in the foster care system, and the list goes on and on. But the truth is abortion does not fix any of these issues. It just removes the effects and makes it seem like everything is okay again. As a society, we are better off fixing these underlying issues that women face at home, at school, and in the workplace to truly empower them to rise above challenges.
If we want to continue what the women’s movement started, we should fight for women to be able to handle anything life throws at them. We should encourage them to persevere despite hardships, while assisting them with anything they need in order to do so. Insisting that abortion must be available to all women only tells them that they can’t possibly reach their goals when a wrench is thrown in their plans. It tells them that carrying out a pregnancy means that their own dreams will die. Instead of telling women they need to choose between their own life or their unborn child’s, I want to support women through their difficulties. I want to work to improve the foster care system and domestic adoption process, fund shelters for women in crisis pregnancies, and improve the treatment of women in the workplace. Specifically, our immediate goal should be to implement laws for paid family leave and to narrow the pay gap. Abortion is not a solution for gender inequality. Women deserve better than what they’ve been given and little is being done to help them. Let’s stop telling women they can’t and let’s foster a society that tells them they can.