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The Blue & Gray Press | September 26, 2017

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Like it or not, a Woman's Right to Choose is Now Here to Stay

Over Spring Break, I found myself on Capitol Hill in the Cannon House Office Building. As I left my congressman’s office I struck up a conversation with a lobbyist who wanted to exclude federal funding for abortions from the healthcare bill.

We got into a discussion, albeit a one-sided one, about the merits of such a decision. According to this lobbyist, when most Americans were asked if they want their tax dollars spent on abortions, an overwhelming amount say no. Then he said, “I personally believe Jesus Christ would be appalled to see that abortion funding is even a discussion in our country.”

I discovered this lobbyist was passionate about what he was trying to do. He was a father of five, a devoted husband and seemed to be a good man. He was a man representing a small group of people who fervently believe in their cause, not a “fat-cat” lobbyist Obama and other politicians rally against.

Despite his passion, there was a problem with his argument. While he claims most Americans don’t want their money being spent on abortions, who is his sample? How many people did they poll from? Was this pool truly random, or only among members of his faith? What was the language or wording of the question posed to them? Important questions to ask when discussing poll figures.

Also, Americans don’t get to decide what our taxes pay for. Congress does. In elections, we vote for congressmen who represent our political views, but even they don’t necessarily have the final say on where our tax dollars are spent. There are 535 congressmen, and it is their job to make choices for American citizens.

Come Election Day, the people assert their dominance over congressmen. While we can choose who we want spending our tax dollars, and while we can influence them to vote a certain way, in the end, congress chooses—not us.

When the lobbyist finally paused to breathe, I managed to tell him that I was born and raised a Southern Baptist, and though I’m familiar with my bible, I can’t recall Jesus saying anything about abortion. Personally, I feel abortion is a sad and terrible thing. However, there are circumstances where I believe it should be tolerated, such as in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk.

If this language were to be adopted, it would disproportionately affect the poor lower-class minorities, whose demographics have much higher instances of teen pregnancy and babies born out of wedlock. In all likelihood, these people can’t afford the child or can’t physically carry a full-term pregnancy because of higher instances of malnourishment.

To withhold federal funding from the people who need it would negatively impact the lives of countless women. Pregnant girls are pressured to withdraw from their high school. The lucky ones are encouraged to attend an alternative school with programs for young mothers.

Sometimes carrying the baby to term isn’t an option. If federal funding for abortion is withheld, it would continue the downward spiral of our inner-cities and be one more obstacle to escaping the burden of being in the lower-class. The people who can’t afford to have the abortion would be forced to either do it themselves, or go ahead with a pregnancy that could be detrimental to the mother’s health or livelihood.

The man I spoke with was a very nice person, and his heart was in the right place. I don’t want to give the impression that he was unreasonable or blinded by dogma. He was going about changing the legislation in a safe and legal way by trying to influence our nation’s congressmen and getting them to see his side of the coin.

He told me, “it’s a sad thing that our society has devolved to the point where we feel abortion is acceptable.” While I understand where he is coming from, he forgets that we don’t have to accept it. However, abortion is here and isn’t going away just because federal funding is withheld. Attitudes on abortion must be changed in people’s hearts and minds, not through legislation.

One of the beauties of our country is that we have freedom of choice. Teenagers are having sex, whether they understand the consequences or not. Therefore, we need to educate them earlier about methods of contraception and the merits of abstinence. Abortion needs to be an available option to those who choose to use it. Let their personal beliefs guide them in making their decision.

When the option of abortion is available and a young mother chooses not to use it despite the personal cost, she does so of her own free will and personal moral values. The government cannot legislate morality. Rather, it has a responsibility to grant its citizens the freedom to choose. We don’t have to like abortion, but we should educate young teens about contraception, abstinence and alternatives to abortion.

Indeed, it is sad and disturbing to terminate the life of an unborn fetus, but we must recognize a woman’s right to choose whether or not to do so. While we may not be a fan of abortion, we have no right to force a young girl, raped by her father and pregnant with his child, to endure the humiliation of carrying his baby.

Comments

  1. Ron

    I just find it curious that it often goes without saying that the man has been aborted from this topic.

  2. Jacob

    This issue is getting tedious. Both camps should just agree to disagree and leave it be. I realize some people are passionate about this, but just leave the rest of us alone. There has to be something more interesting and less tired that our society can harp on for the next twenty to thirty years.

  3. Jacob

    I wouldn’t mind reading a Bullet article on an issue that isn’t covered by CNN or FOX everyday. A bit more curiosity and intellectual rigor would be nice addition to the journalism here.

  4. Britnae

    Though I may not agree with all your arguments, I think this is a fresh opinion on a controversial topic, and this is very well written.

    This isn’t just a subject covered in the news. This affects us personally – our lives, and what’s happening on this campus. There’s a reason it’s in the big news stations as well – the debate over abortion rights changes every day, and people should be well informed about what’s going on.

    And personally, I don’t think we can “agree to disagree” when one side is bent on taking away the rights of the other side.

  5. conservative

    I think you made a lot of really good points in this article, and they were eloquently written. Good job!

    While I personally am against abortion in most cases(excluding rape, incest, and danger to the mother), I think it would be dangerous for the country as well as many women to make it illegal. When this has been attempted in the past methods become much more dangerous, like alley operations and coat hangers.

    However, that doesn’t mean that teenagers should see abortion as a back-up birth control method. I think more education can immensely bring the number of desired abortions down so women know when and how to make the right choice. Either they (teenagers or college students or whoever else who may be having sex) need to learn how to use birth control responsibly, abstain from sex, or be ready to handle the repercussions of their decisions.

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