By Teresa Welsh |
Outlawing abortion doesn't make it go away, it only makes it dangerous
To understand what the country would be like if we outlawed abortion we need to look no further than the 136 countries where abortion is still illegal in all or most circumstances. In Africa, 14 percent of all maternal deaths are attributed to unsafe abortion. In Latin America and the Caribbean, one million women annually are hospitalized for the complications of unsafe abortions. In South Africa, where the abortion law was liberalized in 1997, the annual number of abortion-related deaths fell by 91 percent by 2001.
The countries where abortion is illegal have significantly higher abortion rates than countries where abortion is safe and legal. Outlawing abortion doesn't make it go away, it only makes it dangerous.
Women in these countries are fighting for recognition that their lives have value. That women deserve full futures. That women should have the right to personal and political agency. That a women should be the one to determine what her family will look like. That a woman deserves the right to decide what happens with her body without the fear of risking her life to exercise that right.
We have the luxury in this country to be able to ask ourselves whether abortion should be legal while we enjoy the freedom to choose what's right for ourselves, even if it makes someone else uncomfortable. A person in this country who faces an unintended pregnancy has the legal right to make the best decision for herself and her family without having to fear that her decision will land her in jail or worse. That is not something I am willing to give up.
I am not interested in an America that takes away these most personal rights. The world is becoming more complex. We have big issues to solve. Let's not spend our energy, our time, and our creative minds restricting and removing rights from our citizens.
The decision about whether and when to become a parent is the most intensely personal and important decision that many will make in life. Let's have respect for those decisions and the lives that are making them.
About Kierra Johnson Executive Director of Choice USA
Debra Ness President of the National Partnership for Women & Families