Abortion is a touchy topic. No one directly told me what an abortion was until I asked at the age of 8. I heard my aunt talking about it, and it sparked my curiosity. What is this thing? Why is it bad? Why does my aunt hate her friend now?
I decided to ask my mom, who looked confused. She asked me who I heard this word from. I told her what my aunt said, and my mom told me abortions weren't bad; they were just frowned upon. I still don't completely understand why, but here is what I think.
As the years go by, I gain more knowledge of the basic rights a woman is held from. One of the basics is the right to decide what she does with her body. I think about the fact that if I were to ever get raped or if I were to ever be told that I will not be able to give birth without dying, I could potentially be denied the choice to have an abortion. I could be denied my right to life. Not only is this scary, it is just straight up disrespectful. I wondered what people in my community and people in Upward Bound thought so I took it to them.
Pro-life or pro-choice? I asked a question that I believed was simple. But it turned out to be more complex. This one question turned into debates and extensive responses. I surveyed 32 people. Out of the 16 men surveyed, nine said pro-life. They believed that women should have to carry out a pregnancy no matter the situation.
While men are the ones who get women pregnant, we do not need their consent to terminate the pregnancy. We do not need a permission slip to go to the clinic to get rid of an unwanted or potentially dangerous pregnancy. That is like telling a man who doesn't want kids that he has no right to get a vasectomy.
"As a man I don't think I should have a say in what a woman does with her body," says local resident Xavier Cheatum.
This is an example of a man with the right mindset. While men are mainly the ones who are against abortion, so are some women.
Most women are pro-choice. According to NPR, three-fourths of Americans want to keep the ruling of Roe v. Wade the same. That said, 10 of the 16 women I surveyed said they are pro-choice. The other six said they were pro-choice but would personally not have an abortion. I personally do agree with this statement. While I am pro-choice, I would not have an abortion unless my health was at risk. You can always get another baby. You can't get another you. One woman I interviewed, Shana Hooks, supports this claim.
"I'm against abortions but I'm not telling a woman what to do with her body," Hooks says.
By saying this, she supports my claim that women should not be told what to do with their bodies.
I am a firm believer that every woman should have a choice on what she does with her body. With that being said, I do not believe abortions should be used as a form of birth control. A woman should not be going to an abortion clinic every other week because she keeps getting pregnant but does not want to have a baby. That is taking advantage of your rights and just plain cruel. If a woman is raped, coerced, or at risk for death, she should be able to walk into an abortion clinic without "activists" telling her she is going to hell and she should kill herself.
Abortions impact the community by splitting it. I live in the city of Ypsilanti, where coercion is very common. What's more, we are a city of poverty. We are a city of low income. How do you expect people to take care of unplanned babies when they can barely take care of themselves? According to the U.S. Census, Ypsilanti's median household income is $35,896. Now try living a life with kids and a spouse. Try adding a sick parent or even a sick spouse into the equation. Can you really live off of $35,000 a year?
I am not telling you to go out and have an abortion. I'm not even telling you to encourage a woman to have an abortion. All I am saying is next time you hear that a woman is having an abortion, think of what she is going through mentally. An abortion is not an easy decision, nor is it easy to cope with afterward. You should think of what made her make this decision and give her the benefit of the doubt. Was it rape? Was she in danger? Was she just flat out not ready? Instead of jumping to the conclusion that she is a baby killer, think of the fact that everyone has their own mental and physical battles. You are not fighting her battles nor are you in her shoes. Until you are in that woman's shoes, it is best that you accept that some women are in different situations.
Even though we are in a society that is starting to come around to the idea that women should have the choice on what to do with their bodies, we still have a very long way to go until everyone accepts the fact that they have no say over what a woman does with her body.