Pro-choice vs. pro-life — this subject has been disputed across the United States for decades. It’s a major topic of political controversy that pops up every time anyone so much as steps a toe into the election arena. The controversy, I believe, stems purely from misconceptions. Many people argue that “pro-choice” is synonymous with “pro-abortion.” Um, no.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth. As someone who is pro-choice, I want to make it clear that I support the notion that women should have the right to decide for themselves if and when they want to have a child. Period.
In March, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law one of the most restrictive abortion laws the United States has seen in recent years – banning virtually all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. That same day, two Republican representatives in Ohio proposed legislation that bans abortions completely in the state. And in May of this year, Iowa lawmakers passed a law banning abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected. Effectively, banning pregnancy termination before the pregnancy has even begun.
Sound familiar? Remember Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that women not being in control of their own bodies was unconstitutional and unlawful?
So, what’s going on? Why is my right as a woman in the United States, to decide for myself whether or when I want to have a child, being threatened? I want to know why, despite the fact that, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the risk of childbirth is 14 times higher than the risk of abortion complications, I am not in control my my health or future.
Living in Atlanta, a liberal bubble of the South, it’s unnerving to have to read about places only a state line away in which women — girls, even — are being oppressed and denied the right to their bodies. Abortion is a personal decision and should not be subject to government approval, especially when those in power do not possess female reproductive organs. For the sake of my mental and physical health, as well as for the sake of my children and future generations of women, the United States government must recognize a woman’s right to choose. Let us be a part of the narrative and be the decision makers behind decisions as personal as abortion.
Sarah, 16, is a rising senior at Atlanta International School who loves 80’s movies and is a VOX Media Cafe journalist this summer.