By: Emma Donnelly, Contributor
Content warning: rape, abuse
1 in 3 women will have an abortion by the time they are 45. Most of these women are over 18, most already have one child, and the fact of the matter is: we don’t get to have an opinion about what someone does with their body.
If I were to become pregnant today, as a 20 year-old in her third year of undergrad, I would absolutely have an abortion. I can’t be pregnant right now, let alone physically have a child, or financially support myself through a pregnancy or birth. Something I don’t think a lot of people think about is how much of a commitment being pregnant for 40 weeks actually is, whether you keep the child to raise yourself or have the child adopted. Pre-natal care, maternity clothes, doctor’s appointments, and childbirth itself are terribly expensive. Along with the physical demand of gaining weight, carrying a fetus, morning sickness, giving birth, other complications that can be associated with pregnancy, and the emotional demand that comes with giving a baby to someone else to adopt… why should we ever force someone to carry a fetus to term that they do not want?
Becoming pregnant unexpectedly may seem irresponsible, but there are many factors that can lead to an unplanned pregnancy. Birth control can fail! You may think you are doing everything right, and then you find yourself pregnant. It’s uncommon, but it happens. Especially considering most people who have abortions are adults with children, not “irresponsible teenagers”. And sometimes you think you are using protection, but turns out your partner deceived you. Have you ever heard of “stealthing”? When the man takes off his condom without telling his partner? That’s abusive on so many levels; the partner did not consent, is now at risk for sexually transmitted infections, and now may become pregnant! Also, we do not have adequate sex education in this country. Most high school and college aged people don’t even know the implications of unprotected sex before they start having sex.
If you are someone like me who’s ever been in an emotionally abusive relationship, you certainly do not want to be tied to that person for the rest of your life via a child that you conceived together. In my first relationship when I was 16, I was manipulated into thinking this boy loved me. He forced me to have sex, didn’t stop when I told him to stop, and I eventually was too scared to say no. I did not even realize that this was abusive at the time. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about what would have happened if I became pregnant in that relationship and was “forced to deal with the consequences” of having his child. No one in high school (or after high school) who becomes pregnant unexpectedly deserves to be “forced to deal with the consequences”, end of story.
How would it even be fair to a child to be born into a situation where it is unwanted in a country that does not have adequate social services to provide for them? Think about the state of Maine, and the amount of hungry school aged children we have here (1 in 4). Think about the entire country, and that in 2015, 670,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care. That’s the population of Portland, multiplied by ten, and then some. That’s a lot of kids that do not have homes. It isn’t a viable option to put a child up for adoption, especially when getting an abortion is a safer procedure than getting your wisdom teeth out.
I could argue for hours about why abortion is a fundamental healthcare procedure. It saves lives, it allows people to have autonomy over their bodies, and then some. The only thing that is truly ours for the entirety of our lives is our body; I refuse to let anyone take that autonomy away from me or anyone else. Even if we think we know the reason why someone is choosing to have an abortion, we will never know the whole story. We can trust the decisions people make about their health care. At the end of the day, we do not get to have an opinion about what anyone does with their body. Abortion is a human right.