by Tia Will
I am that individual that some on the right claim cannot exist. I am both pro-life and pro-choice. Before you conclude that cannot be, hear me out. I write from a medical perspective, not a moral one, since humans do not all share the same moral concepts, but we should share the same facts. So let’s start with the facts.
Pregnancy is a medical high-risk time for all women, not just those with known increased risk factors. 49% of maternal deaths occur during the pregnancy, in which case the fetus will also die. 51% will occur within one year of delivery. People rightfully object saying that pregnancy is natural. I would point out that so is death, but that does not make it necessarily desirable.
This is the basis for my belief that it should be the woman’s choice whether she wishes to risk her life to complete the pregnancy, or not. It is her life, and that of the fetus that is at stake.
As pointed out in the above article, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any comparable country. This is largely because we do not have a universally accessible or affordable health care system in our country. It is also a product of poverty with unhealthy, unsafe environments with unclean water, air & soil in many areas. A product of neglect, domestic violence, and random violence in many of our communities. So, in effect, bans on abortion are forcing women to gestate and bring into the world without sufficient support, the next generation.
Now, we could choose another path. Many countries have and the Colorado pilot project proved it is possible to reduce abortion through supportive rather than restrictive, oppressive means. This more compassionate approach includes:
- Factual, accurate education regarding sex beginning around onset of puberty
- Ready access to free, long acting, reversible contraceptives
- Financial support for any woman deciding to carry her pregnancy to term and for her and the child once born
- Emphasis on joint responsibility of the impregnating male and the woman
From 35 years in Ob/Gyn, I know we can achieve what most people would agree is desirable, a decrease in abortions and increase in healthy pregnancies and births without coercion or state control of a woman’s body. It is humane, workable as demonstrated, and cost effective.