Senate attempts to defund choice

Despite threats from Congress, Planned Parenthood appears to be here to stay, for now. Since the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973, the battle to keep abortion safe and legal has been never ending. Ironically enough, the very people who claim to care the most about life are being the most violent in their tactics to force all Americans to live by their religious standards. According to Senator Barbara Boxer (D, California), as quoted in the New York Times, “there have been 11 murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings and 186 arsons against abortion clinics and providers” since 1977. The recent Colorado Springs shootings were another link in the deadly chain that “pro-lifers” have been using to try to shackle away the freedom of choice for decades. The Senate’s stunt on passing a bill to defund Planned Parenthood was another violent gesture that indicates how little most Republicans in Congress care about keeping government out of people’s personal lives. Thankfully President Obama will veto the bill, and the Republicans of Congress do not have the two-thirds majority they would need to overturn the veto, according to a recent report on the matter by Broadly. But much like Trump’s hateful rhetoric has inspired real-life violence against Muslim people, Black people and Latino people, this political gesture of disregard for a medical institution that provides vital services to people with no other choices has real life consequences. How long until we can, as a nation, respect that giving a person the right to do as they will with their bodies is good for us all? The religious arguments wear thin when the United States is supposed to protect freedom of religion, and an interfaith alliance of more than 56 faith groups signed a letter to Congress in August standing with Planned Parenthood, abortions and all. No one is forcing anyone to get an abortion, so no one else should force anyone to go to dangerous lengths to obtain one when they require one. Dr. Willie Parker is one such Christian who is doing what is right by providing abortions in the deep south, one of the most difficult areas of the nation in which to get an abortion. “[We’re] all entitled to our own opinion, but no one is entitled to their own facts. The fact is, one in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime,” said Parker in a Refinery 29 interview. “The reality is that most pregnancies are unplanned, and that’s where abortions come from…. [T]here will always be a need for people to have abortions.” Ignoring these realities completely, anti-abortion movements have led to such travesties as girls as young as ten or eleven being forced to give birth after being raped elsewhere in the world. It happened to a young girl in Paraguay earlier this year. In Ireland, 31-year old Savita Halappanavar died after being denied an abortion to remove a failed miscarriage caused by an infection in 2012. Roe v. Wade was passed to prevent exactly these kinds of horrors and tragedies. Abortion is not a scary thing when performed safely and hygienically in proper medical facility like Planned Parenthood provides. It’s a medical procedure that has been performed in some capacity throughout human history. And in the modern world, where advances in medicine and quality of life have led to a global population of over 7 billion, we hardly need to worry about preserving the species. What we do need to worry about is protecting the fully grown humans who are pregnant and don’t want to be or can’t be, for whatever reasons. Just as it is none of my business what someone else discusses with their oncologist or psychiatrist, it is none mine or anyone else’s business what a pregnant person discusses with their doctor, and why the choice to abort is the best for them.