Filed Under:  Health & Wellness, Letter to the Editor

A medical procedure one in three women will have in their lifetime

20th May 2013   ·   0 Comments

Who has abortions? Mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, lawyers, students; women have abortions. People who choose abortion may be married, single, in an abusive relationship, in a healthy relationship; they may be religious or have no religious affiliation.

There is no “type” of woman that has an abortion; the reality is that roughly one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime. Though anti-choice activists would have us believe otherwise, abortion is a common medical procedure.

The narrative of who obtains abortions does not vary by state; what does vary are the obstacles that she must hurdle to obtain safe, legal, non-judgmental reproductive care that supports her right to determine whether or not to become a mother.

In speaking with women on the abortion fund hotline, it is notable that these women forgo paying their electric bills and rent, or go without food because insurance companies in Louisiana are prohibited from providing abortion coverage. Restrictive laws, specifically mandated waiting periods and in-person counseling, force the women with whom I speak to, to take several days off from work, often without pay, arrange child care, and negotiate transportation with someone is supportive of their choice.

Contrary to polarized and politicized rhetoric, which attempts to frame pro-choice advocates as anti-family, 60 percent of women who have an abortion already have at least one child. Fund­amentally, the pro-choice movement supports all paths to parenthood. Choos­ing when to start a family is a very important decision; the pro-choice movement be­lieves that women are capable of making that decision.

Women who cannot or do not want to continue their pregnancies face very challenging circumstances. While many may choose to seek support from partners, trusted confidants, families, and physicians, their right to decide and their ability to best care for their families and their future are caught up in a political battle waged by groups that call themselves “pro-life.”

Although some religious doctrine and political maneuvering prevent teaching age appropriate, medically accurate sexual health education, it does not mean that youth and young adults will not have sex. Instead, when young adults begin to engage in sexual behavior they may not have the tools to prevent sexually transmitted infections or unwanted pregnancy.

I am proud to be a resident of the state of Louisiana and thankful that there are facilities in my community that provide abortion services. Furthermore, I am thankful that Planned Parenthood and other OB/GYNs exist to educate women about their reproductive health, contraception, and help in planning when to start or continue to build a family.

– Jessica Kincman

This Letter to the Editor originally published in the May 20, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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