On this 35th anniversary of the landmark decision Roe vs. Wade, the ruling which gave women the right to an abortion in the United States, the issue is still a divisive one in our nation causing much debate and conflict in our social and political landscape. While this milestone should be a cause of celebration for pro-choice supporters, anti-choice groups continue to chip away at the control women gained over their own bodies on January 22, 1973, threatening the health and equality of women nationwide. A small minority of people, 18%, opposes abortion in all situations, a statistic unchanged since a 1975 poll; the vast majority of Americans oppose overturning Roe vs. Wade. This small group of “all or nothing” anti-choice advocates claim their protests, lawsuits, propaganda and education focused on limiting abortion access and forcing women to keep their fetuses have saved the lives of babies and the souls of women, but have all their efforts actually achieved the opposite? Do women in the United States have more abortions because of the so-called “Pro-Life” groups?
The US has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world and after years of seeing those rates decline is now watching them climb again. Half of all pregnancies in the United States are reported as unintended and 40% of those pregnancies end in abortion. If anti-choice leaders put nearly as much effort into the prevention of unwanted pregnancies through reducing sexual violence against women, making birth control safe and available to those who need it, and educating teens on pregnancy and prevention as they do in trying to overturn Roe vs. Wade fewer and fewer women would require an abortion. Anti-choice groups are part of the reason for our country’s abysmal pregnancy prevention rates, wasting valuable time and resources focusing on the effect of unwanted pregnancies rather then why they happen and combating their causes.
Contrary to some beliefs held by anti-choice groups most women do not plan for their unwanted pregnancies; abortion is a decision of last resort when having a baby is simply out of the question. This is an issue faced by women regardless of age, race, religion, socio-economic conditions or marital status. Our mission should revolve around providing women a world where the choice to have an abortion never has to be made in the first place. Until we live in a society where women are not raped, incest does not exist, pregnancy has zero complications that threaten the life of the mother and ALL women receive sex education and access to birth control there will be abortions, legal or illegal.