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ISSUE 119 VOL 9 PUBLISHED 11/18/2005

Debate simplifies abortion

By Annie Lindquist
Contributing Writer
and Megan Haley
Contributing Writer

Friday, November 18, 2005

With two recent vacancies on the Supreme Court, controversial issues such as abortion are receiving additional national attention through media buzzwords used to categorize candidates into dichotomous thought-camps.

Yet, such buzzwords cannot convey complex perspectives. Issues as weighty as the right to choose are not as simple as the media would like citizens to believe.

Pro-choice often gets misconstrued as anti-life. In reality, the freedom to choose encompasses the freedom to receive comprehensive sex education, the freedom to accept responsibility, the freedom to make decisions about our bodies, to know about and to use emergency contraception and to engage in an open and honest dialogue regarding reproductive issues.

Anti-choice groups enjoy likening those in favor of choice to violent killers. Nothing could be further from the truth. The risk of death due to major delivery complications is 10 times that of the risk of death associated with abortions.

Those who want to make abortion illegal are actually advocating a consistently higher health risk fro women.

The right to choose is about promoting personal responsibility, which requires trusting women with the personal freedom to choose what is right for them at any particular time in their lives and within any moral structure. Bumper stickers make a good point when they ask, “If you can’t trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child?”

People who support the freedom of choice are still waiting for an answer to that question which does not belittle that choice, which is never an easy decision to make.

Abortions forever change everyone involved; most women think heavily about the decision prior to and every day following the procedure. But, it is still a choice women should be free to make.

Women deserve the freedom to take responsibility for their own bodies as they see fit, without laws making abortion more dangerous or difficult. There is no federal Medicaid funding to assist with abortion costs, yet 17 states – including Minnesota – use their own funds to subsidize abortion for poor women.

This allocation of funds at the state level shows popular will, which the federal government is ignoring. President Bush has gone beyond ignoring this evidence and is now denying it by nominating people like Judge Samuel Alito, Jr. to the Supreme Court.

The Washington Times reported earlier this week that a 1985 document concerning Alito in the Reagan administration proves his opinion that abortion is not a right. In threatening the right to choose, the president is attempting to restrict the freedom of the 62 million women of childbearing age in the United States.

Making abortion illegal is not a deterrent. It simply prevents trained professionals from performing abortions in hygienic settings, eliminates any government assistance in cost reduction and encourages unsafe, desperate measures.

In countries where women cannot legally choose, 68,000 women die each year from abortion-related complications. By contrast, some of the world’s lowest abortion rates are found in western European countries, where abortion is legal and covered by national health insurance systems.

Unplanned pregnancies remain a reality in the United States. About half of all U.S. pregnancies are unintended. Unintended pregnancies that are carried to term produce essentially unwanted children.

What lies ahead in the life of an unwanted child? Abandonment? Poverty? Homelessness? Shouldn’t adults be able to make judgments regarding quality of life for those lives they create?

People who believe in pro-choice advocate laws which give women unbiased information about their options for reproductive health, from birth control to emergency contraception to abortion. People who promote the freedom to choose promote personal responsibility, personal decision-making and personal freedom. All of these sound hauntingly similar to principles upon which the United States was founded.

Contributing writers Annie Lindquist and Megan Haley are seniors. Lindquist is from Fargo, N.D., and majors in English and in interdisciplinary fine arts. Haley is from Chaska, Minn., and majors in English.

Contributing writers Annie Lindquist and Megan Haley are seniors. Lindquist is from Fargo, N.D., and majors in English and in interdisciplinary fine arts. Haley is from Chaska, Minn., and majors in English.

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