Thursday, February 27, 2020

Letter to the editor: Abortion rights need to be protected

<p>A girl listens as Ann Arbor resident Lauren Bacons speaks to the crowd during the rally to support Planned Parenthood on Feb. 10, 2017 at the Rock on Farm Lane. The rally was to support Planned Parenthood and women&#x27;s rights. Sen. Rebekah Warren and Harmeet Dhaliwal, who is a doctor at Sparrow Hospital and professor at MSU, spoke at the rally.</p>

A girl listens as Ann Arbor resident Lauren Bacons speaks to the crowd during the rally to support Planned Parenthood on Feb. 10, 2017 at the Rock on Farm Lane. The rally was to support Planned Parenthood and women's rights. Sen. Rebekah Warren and Harmeet Dhaliwal, who is a doctor at Sparrow Hospital and professor at MSU, spoke at the rally.

Photo by Jon Famurewa | The State News

By Debrah Miszak

Miszak is a junior Journalism major.

Coat hangers. Harsh chemicals. Back-alley procedures in unhygienic locations. These and other horrific methods prevailed before Roe v. Wade ensured abortion rights nationwide in 1973. These are the realities of a society without access to safe, legal abortions. This is the world that legislators in this state — and across the country — want to return to.

I am 19 years old and have never had an abortion. I cannot speak to the experiences people who seek abortions must endure. However, I can speak to the importance of women having a right to choose. I am a product of my young, single mother having an option. Although she did not choose to terminate her pregnancy, she understood why women in similar positions did.

Women have abortions for many reasons. Plenty of recent articles have detailed examples of why people choose to terminate pregnancies. The truth is, those reasons are not the business of you or me, or of politicians. It is the business of a woman, her doctor, and who — if anyone — she decides to speak with about her decision.

I am a product of six years of Catholic school. I have a deep appreciation for the opportunities afforded to me, both educational and religious, by my attendance at these institutions. However, at some, we were led in prayers for an end to abortion. We never said a prayer to end the death penalty.

It is so ingrained that “pro-life” only has to mean anti-abortion. There is little accountability on other issues. There is little accountability in the “pro-life” movement even on the issue of the embryos and fetuses it claims to advocate for.

They are not held accountable for providing welfare to them once they are born. They are not held accountable when women’s lives are put at risk because they are at a religiously-affiliated hospital when something goes wrong. They are not held accountable for providing birth control and sex education to prevent the abortions they do not support. It’s time to stop pretending “pro-life” is an acceptable term for this movement.

They are not just anti-choice. They are pro-forced birth.

With the passage of legislation like the ban on dilation and evacuation abortions which Governor Whitmer will veto (but Right to Life Michigan intends to petition to make a ballot initiative, which would pass without her signature) and the recently proposed “heartbeat ban” in the state legislature, it has become increasingly clear that the so-called “pro-life” movement is truly anti-women’s lives.

When I was a senior in high school, I read The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. It is a story in which women’s rights are taken in a government coup, and most women are subjected to forced breeding. This seemed like a terrifying piece of fiction. Increasingly, it mirrors our reality. It’s easy to feel angry and helpless in these times, but that is why you cannot sit by and watch.

On June 22, hundreds of others and I will protest the abortion bans at The Handmaid’s Tale: Abortion Ban Protest rally on the Michigan State Capitol. I hope to see you there.

Editor's note: Miszak has previously worked at The State News.

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