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Change Hearts, Not Laws

pregnantbellyAbortion is a huge issue. It shapes some people’s entire worldview. I personally know people who would not vote for Obama, even though they agreed with a lot of what he stands for, simply because of his pro-choice stance. I remember, growing up, how much I heard about this issue. I was constantly told life begins at conception and therefore it should be any decent human’s goal to overturn Roe v Wade. I happen to agree with the idea that life begins at conception. I think all life is precious and hate the idea of it being lost for any reason including abortion.

There is a problem with simply changing laws though. According to the BBC, a survey done by the Guttmacher Institute found that:

“…abortion occurs at roughly equal rates in regions where it is legal and regions where it is highly restricted.

It did note that improved access to contraception had cut the overall abortion rate over the last decade.

But unsafe abortions, primarily illegal, have remained almost static.”

Also, the New York Times reports:

“A comprehensive global study of abortion has concluded that abortion rates are similar in countries where it is legal and those where it is not, suggesting that outlawing the procedure does little to deter women seeking it.”

This was based on studies the World Health Organization did together with the Guttmacher Institute.

Is the best answer telling people that they may not have an abortion? It doesn’t seem to be.¬† If people are desperate enough, they will do just about anything to get an abortion and too often that leads to not only the death of the baby but the mother as well. How is that better?

I believe the focus should be on education and making contraceptives more available and affordable. When I was living in The Netherlands I decided I wanted to go on birth control. I was written a prescription for six months worth of birth control pills, which I had to pay for out of pocket. The cost? Fifteen euros. That’s about twenty US dollars. Anyone can afford that. I just talked to my sister who recently had her birth control prescription filled in California. The cost there? Thirty five US dollars for just one month! Luckily, she has insurance and the cost to her was far less, but there are something like 47 million uninsured Americans. What are they supposed to do? Hope the condom doesn’t break I guess… The Netherlands has the lowest abortion rate in the world. The US has one of the highest. You do the math.

I believe it’s ridiculous to put ideology over life and safety. I was raised in the church and took an abstinence pledge when I was young teenager. For me it worked. I wasn’t some people’s definition of perfect. I had a few boyfriends and let’s just say we definitely did more than hold hands. But I waited to have sex until I married my amazing husband. However, that is not the case with everyone who vows to save it for marriage.

Two of my sisters also took the abstinence pledge. They both got pregnant before they were 16. Abstinence only education doesn’t work. Look at Bristol Palin for God’s sake! The problem comes when parents stick their heads in the sand and refuse to acknowledge that their horny teenager might have sex. They refuse to teach them how to use condoms or take them to the doctor to get birth control because they see that as an ok to go out and do whomever they feel like. It doesn’t surprise me at all that¬† teen birth rates are highest in most religious states. Accepting the truth and trying to prevent an undesirable outcome isn’t an endorsement, it’s just being realistic.

My sisters were fairly lucky. We’re a very close family and I’m happy to say that no matter what any of us did, said or believed, my parents would still love us and be there for us. But not all pregnant teens are that lucky. Faced with being disowned and living on the streets or getting rid of a child you don’t even know, what would you choose? Even with the great support system my sisters had they still were looked down upon and lost friends. One sister was even asked not to attend her church’s youth group anymore once they found out she was pregnant. The father of her child however, was still welcome to come…

The answer is not changing the law. It’s preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place. It’s also loving those that do get pregnant and helping in practical ways like donating food, clothes and time. It’s making it easier to get babies adopted into loving homes. Laws hardly ever stop someone from doing what they have their mind set on. The only thing that will save babies’ lives is a change of heart.

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3 Comments

  1. Kate

    Very well said! I hope that we will be around to see hearts change and in turn the law change…

  2. Well said Abigail and a very honest and open post too!

  3. Hey! Thanks for stopping by and reading. I think that the perfectionism issue hits home for a lot of women (specifically).

    I REALLY appreciate what you had to say here, and think it is well expressed. There are a lot of problems with conflicting policies, and even more with religious ideology in the U.S. that get in the way of sound decisions… It makes me ill to think that women think that just because they are pregnant that they HAVE to bring a child into the world- even if they are living a lifestyle that doesn’t offer a decent situation for a chance at a decent life for a child. I can go on about this for hours.

    Anyway. Looking forward to hearing/reading more!

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