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  • Angel Blake

Are you pro-abortion?

The word abortion is becoming more common, but, for many, it continues to be a trigger word— whether it be because they’re vehemently against the procedure, or because they’ve had to make the life-altering decision to have one and will never again be the same because of it.

For the last several weeks, we’ve heard about abortion all over TV and social media. Texas women no longer have the option to abort once they’re six weeks along unless there is an extreme medical need. Six weeks. Most women don’t even know they’re pregnant until. That’s two weeks after a missed period and now they have only those couple weeks to make this very heavy decision. Enforcement from this bill lands on public citizens. They can win up to $10,000 if they sue providers, counselors, or anyone that helps aid an abortion (such as a friend, family member, even an Uber driver).

Abortion is a necessary part of our healthcare. To take away this choice is to take away a fundamental right to our bodies. We are being told, and shown, that we are not actually in charge of ourselves. It is not enough to be pro-choice; we have to be pro-abortion to end the stigma that surrounds it. The Chicago Tribune wrote about an unaccompanied 17-year old detainee from Central America who needed an abortion. They reported, “The Justice Department said that because she is a minor and here illegally, it is entitled to impose its own preferences on her. If she wanted to have an abortion, it argued, she had the option of returning to her home country — though she said that doing so would expose her to more abuse.”

When I hear the word abortion, I do not take it lightly. It is an alarming word, and it is used to describe an extremely invasive course of action. For some women, this is a life or death situation. The CDC reports, “Nearly 1 in 5 women have experienced completed or attempted rape during their lifetime. 1 in 3 female rape victims experienced it for the first time between 11-17 years old.” An article on the National Library of Medicine’s website states, “Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency. It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies and is closely linked with family and domestic violence. “

There are several reasons a woman might choose to get an abortion, including that she just might want to. However, society has deemed this woman as a bad woman. A bad mother, a bad Christian, a bad partner, etc. Women are already shamed for things as minuscule as how our hair looks, or if we shave our legs - so it’s only natural that we are shamed for wanting to have basic rights over our own bodies.

People dodge saying the word abortion – this adds to the stigma that an abortion is something to be ashamed of – that it’s something to be embarrassed about. You know how in Harry Potter, everyone is so terrified to say “Voldemort” that they just call him “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” – Hermione Granger once said, “Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.” This is our society with the word abortion, and the more people that stop being afraid of the word, the more they’ll stop being afraid of abortion at all. The word “abort” is not always a bad thing. To abort an abusive relationship is a good thing, to abort unhealthy employment is a good thing, and to abort a clump of tissues because you might die is a good thing.

Dr. Jennifer Villavicencio, at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said, “The cardiac activity detected on ultrasound is not a true heartbeat. It results from electrical activity, but the valves of the heart have not yet formed. And the sound does not indicate the pregnancy is viable.” This shows that the “Heartbeat Bill” is not transparent to people that don’t understand medical jargon.

I recently spoke with UMSL Philosophy student, Mya Horn about how she feels when she hears the word “abortion.” She said, “I think of abortion the same way I think of any other medical procedure. When someone tells me they had to get their appendix removed I'm sympathetic to the pain and recovery they've experienced, but I don't think they're immoral for removing something from their body that was harming them.” Horn continued, “I'm also glad we have the knowledge and resources available to have that kind of medical procedure available to us.”

Horn is currently in the process of starting a “Students for Reproductive Justice Group” here at UMSL. Horn said, “I was shocked to see we had a "Right to Life" group, but nothing for those who are pro-choice. The main goal of this group is to take action and make a difference.” She also directed me to an awesome organization called Shout Your Abortion (SYA). SYA is a “decentralized network of individuals talking about abortion.” The SYA website lists resources such as abortion clinics nearby, financial help, legal information, emotional support, and transgender health information, as well as merchandise, and endless personal stories.


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