The Pro-Choice

life-7-to-12-weeks-1316897.jpgBy Brenna Hoonan-Amby 

America- the “land of the free, and the home of the brave”. These significant lyrics in our national anthem ring out louder than all other lines throughout the whole song.

Why might you ask? Simply because it gives hopes of freedom- freedom of action, freedom of voice, and freedom of choice. But before America seems like one whole united nation that encourages liberation, it is important that you read between the lines and into the fine print.

Throughout American history, there has been a few laws and/or regulations that have remained in question as to how they should be handled. One of the big ones, if not the biggest, has been abortion and its treatments.

In this day and age, women have had more of an opportunity to speak up than they have any time before in the past. Although the fight for women’s rights is not yet over, there is a greater hope for equality and fair treatment than there ever was in the past. 

Well, so to speak. 

On December 26, 1970, President Richard Nixon created what is now known as the Title X, a program that increases studies towards reproduction and ensures access to the majority of reproductive contraceptives to woman demonstrating the need for them. Through Title X, women with little to no incomes were able to receive health services, screenings, and contraceptives that they otherwise would not be able to receive without this program. This included free breast exams, wellness exams, parenting counseling, and STD screenings. Nixon’s act for this program proved to be just as successful for women in need as it was beneficial. More than four million people rely on federal Title X funding to access contraception and other essential health care. Not only was this act a great choice from a health standpoint, it also served as a step forward for women’s rights and demonstration of support from the government concerning woman needs. 

Now, there have been many presidents since Nixon, and not all of them have been so gracious towards abortions and/or being pro-choice. George W. Bush was one of them, but alongside him, our current president, Donald Trump, also does not believe in supporting this program. In fact his actions have proven the exact opposite. 

Trump has argued along with many other Presidents, Republicans, and citizens that abortion should never be an option. In fact, during a poll done in 2015, fifty percent (50%) believe abortion is morally wrong most of the time, up four points from April of 2014 and the highest finding since mid-2014.  Thirty-four percent (34%) disagree and consider it (abortion) morally acceptable in most instances, unchanged from the previous survey. A sizable 17% are still undecided. With the significant increase in those changing from pro-choice (for abortion) to pro-life (against abortion), there has been a significant decrease in funding towards the Title X program. 

Within the short approximated year and a half that Trump has been president, there has been a major action on his part towards defunding the Title X program in efforts to deliver on a key promise to the pro-life voters who worked so hard to elect him. 

Prior to Trump’s election, ex-president Barack Obama ensured that the Title X program was protected and always accessible to women who showed the need for it. This was appreciated and appealed mostly by those who belonged to the middle to low-class families with little to no support from their health care providers. 

The Title X program has been funded and continued for almost half a century now, but within a little over a year of Trump’s presidency and majority Republican rule, that could change. Republicans in Congress are pushing to eliminate this rule by way of the Congressional Review Act. If successful, the move could cause millions of people to go without access to affordable family planning services, reduce the Title X provider network, and tie the hands of providers working on the front lines who are dedicated to responding to underserved communities.  The idea behind Trumps movement is to ensure that his promises are being fulfilled, especially to his faithful party. Most Republicans (69%) consider themselves pro-life, while most Democrats (74%) and voters not affiliated with either political party (54%) say they are pro-choice.  This act to defund the Title X program not only segregates those who are conservative Republicans from the rest, it also contradicts itself. Here’s why. 

Because of the Title X programs ability to provide free healthcare services and contraceptive accessibility to women, there has been a prevented 87,000 preterm or low-birth-weight births, 63,000 STIs and 2,000 cases of cervical cancer. As if that wasn’t enough, Title X health centers have also provided 800,000 pap smears, 1 million breast exams and 6 million tests for sexually transmitted infections in just the year 2015. To choose to defund the Title X program could and will increase the chances of cervical cancers, STD’s, and (gasp) more unintended pregnancies.

I want to make it clear that being pro-choice does not necessarily mean one is pro-abortion. Being pro-choice simply means that one has the intimacy and comfort in privacy to decide what is the best option for their specific situation. In fact, abortion is in many cases the last thing an unexpected mother would want to do for her child as well as her health. In 2013, four women died as a result of complications from induced abortion. Between 1973-2012, 431 women died due to abortion complications (CDC). As scary as an abortion procedure is, for some women they see that as the only choice for their specific lifestyle. Some women feel that having a child would result in a drastic lifestyle change and push their personal goals aside. Others do not simply have the money or ability to give their child up for adoption. Some women get pregnant as a result of rape and are mentally incapable of handling childbirth for that reason. The list goes on.

Although I personally would not choose abortion for my unborn child if it were to happen to me, I do believe that there should be support for women to make their own intimate decisions with what they want to do with their lives and bodies. As a college student unable to afford contraceptives and examinations that would cost me hundreds on my own, the Title X program has been nothing but a great help in my life. To defund and potentially rid the Title X program would be a disservice to many women in the US and would also take a step back into the movement towards women’s rights. If America truly is “the land of the free”, one should feel free to make their own decisions. After all, regardless of religious affiliation, political views, and societal standards, the choice should be up to you. 

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One Comment to “The Pro-Choice”

  1. This was an extremely informative article. Personally, I had very little knowledge of Title X and what it represents for so many women. It was really helpful that you provided a lot of background information on Title X for those of us that did not readily know what it is. I also really loved that you made the differentiation that “pro-choice does not necessarily mean one is pro-abortion.” Many who are pro-life do not realize this distinction and how pro-choice stands for so much more than abortion. You are exactly right in saying that it is really just giving women the opportunity to decide for themselves what is best in their situation.

    With that being said, I did have one refutation to your article. You mentioned the deaths from abortion and how it is often dangerous. While that is true in some cases, it would be beneficial to your argument to compare that statistic to one that represents how many women die because of birthing complications. I believe that it is often more likely for women to die from pregnancy complications than it is from getting a safe abortion from a licensed doctor. This statistic would still fall under your pro-choice argument, I just thought it would be interesting to be mentioned as well. Overall, great article! Thanks for sharing.

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