Abortion rights are human rights

Photos by Remi Frederick | Various signs were found during the rally, including my favorite which read “Public Cervix Announcement: Fuck You.”

The rise of discussion surrounding the overturning of Roe v. Wade has led to a dramatic uptick in abortion-related protests all over the country.

On May 2, Politico, an online political news website, reported that the Supreme Court had voted to overturn Roe v. Wade and published a 98-page leaked draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito. 

Since then, the country has seen tensions rise as pro-choice groups like Planned Parenthood and Women’s March move to fight against this ruling, and anti-abortion groups like Americans United for Life and March for Life Action celebrated and urged the Supreme Court to hold steady and overturn Roe v. Wade.

Roe v. Wade is most famously known as the Supreme Court decision that ruled in favor of those pregnant being allowed the liberty to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

Several thousands of people protested around the country on May 7 to bring awareness to the leaked draft opinion and to express their outrage against the decision. The protests are continuing.

Frankly, I don’t like using the terms “pro-life” or “anti-abortion.” To me, they make the issue too simple and carry positive connotations which I feel aren’t warranted. 

Anti-abortion groups push for a ban on abortions without seeming to do anything to stop the causes of abortion. A Guttmacher Institute study, done in 2005, on the reasons U.S. women have abortions found that the main reasons are a lack of money, interference with the woman’s work, school or other children, and an unstable relationship or the desire to not be a single mother. 

To me, that isn’t even the worst part. The worst part is that pregnancy sucks. Even giving birth is incredibly traumatic on not only someone’s body but also their mind. Sometimes, even those eager to have children and are in good health can suffer various complications and side effects from birth.

Forcing someone to go through that is bad enough. I saw an Ohio representative, Jean Schmidt, a Republican, talk about forcing a 13-year-old to go through both pregnancy and birth even after she was raped. 

“Rape is a difficult issue and it emotionally scars the individual,” Rep. Schmidt said, “All or in part, for the rest of their life, just as child abuse does. But if a baby is created, it is a human life, and whether that mother ends that pregnancy or not, the scars will not go away. Period.” 

“It is a shame that it happens,” Rep. Schmidt continued, “But, there’s an opportunity for that young woman no matter how young or old she is to make a determination about what she’s going to do to help that life be a productive human being.”

Just think about that for a minute. A 13-year-old child, pregnant, not by choice, being forced to carry a baby for nine months and then go through the trauma of childbirth. Rep. Schmidt is right, rape does leave scars, but so does pregnancy. Pregnancy not only leaves mental scars but physical ones as well. Your body is never exactly the same after a pregnancy as before.

This young child will never be able to forget what she was forced to go through. First rape, then pregnancy and then birth and maybe even raising a child, all before high school. 

These are the things I think about when I think about my stance on abortion and why I am pro-choice, even if I wouldn’t necessarily need or have an abortion.

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the liberty of free choice in what to do with the body is more important than ever, as many protests and protestors are here to prove. I went to the “Bans Off Seattle with Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates” rally on May 14. 

I talked to a number of people who attended the rally and they had a multitude of opinions on the leaked draft and many shared their own experiences with abortion. Many of them expressed frustration that they had to continue to fight for this once again, one person even said that her signs were from the Women’s March in 2017.

“I had a family member who had an illegal abortion back in the 60s and I know many women, including myself, who have had abortions in our early 20s,” said Julie Haack, “None of us have any regrets, it was the wrong timing for all of us.”

“For me, it’s not an issue that should be up to the Supreme Court. This is an issue that should be individually made by every woman, forever, no matter the circumstances,” said Haack.

Katy Turek told me about her story which is one of the reasons she was at the rally. She was a single mom and got pregnant again while being in an abusive relationship so Turek hid her pregnancy from everyone and later gave the baby up for adoption. 

“I was stuck and so I was put in a position where I had to hide that and that was traumatic. My story turned out well in the end,” said Turek, “I love my daughter, I’m so glad that she’s here, but I should not have been put in that position. No woman should ever be put in that position, no girl should be put in that position.”

Shauna Bennett says that the Supreme Court justices lied under oath and that they are not acting in a way that is in line with the opinion of the majority of Americans.

A recent CNN poll says that 66% of Americans don’t want Roe v. Wade to be overturned.

There were a few counter-protesters and I was able to interview one of them. He refused to give me his name but asked that I call him Malcolm. 

Malcolm told me that he was protesting against abortion because his ex-girlfriend had an abortion against his wishes and that he was willing and able to raise the child. 

I respect how that might be upsetting but, he wouldn’t be the one carrying a baby for nine months. Sure, he was offering to raise it, but pregnancy is not an easy task, as I discussed above. 

I am glad I was able to attend the protest. I’ve been to protests before and it always makes me feel so much better to be actively fighting for the things I believe in. In addition to this, it is also nice to not feel so alone. 

I tend to do a lot of social media activism and that often leaves me feeling a little lonely and useless so whenever I can do more, I feel better. This protest was only one of many that have been happening across the country to protest the decisions of the court.

I beg you, please fight for our rights. Whether it be attending a protest, emailing your local representative or sending a single tweet, there is no action too small to argue against the policies that are being made against bodies right now. 

Even if you wouldn’t personally get an abortion, you shouldn’t take that right away from others who need it, whether that be for medical reasons, religious reasons, financial reasons or simply because it is their body and their choice.

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