Let’s Talk Abortion

June 10, 2014by Sarah Evelynn

Filed under: Civil Rights, Health Care, Social Issues

Abortion, similar to Voldemort, the topic that must not be named. Must not be named because it will make for an uncomfortable, hostile room. Abortion has the ability to transform a cordial, friendly gathering into a battle royal in a matter of minutes. But why. Why do we avoid this topic? Why can there not be open dialog? In order to progress with policy and the future, matters such as abortion need to be discussed. Not an argument, quarrel, squabble, altercation or feud. A discussion, conversation, exploration or discourse. What steps should we take improve the ability of conversing? Be educated on both sides.


The term “pro-life” is to say that a person believes that the government has an obligation to preserve all human life, regardless of intent, viability or quality-of-life concerns. Following this definition people who are “pro-life” usually coincide with the following reasons to not support the right of abortion.

1.  Life starts at conception and a fetus is a human being. This being said, having an
abortion is akin to murder.
2.  Women who willingly have sex put themselves at risk to become pregnant. If they
choose to do this, they should be responsible for their actions.
3.  Adoption is a viable alternative to abortion.
4.  When abortion is legal, women will defer to using it as a form of contraception.
5.  Abortions are dangerous for the woman and the fetus.
6.  Women usually regret them later on causing psychological damage.
7.  Taxpayers should not be subject to paying for things they find morally disagreeable.
8.  Different religious statutes do not support abortion.

Although not all people who identify with “pro-life” agree with all of these reasons this is an adequate summation of commonly held reasons to be “pro-life”.


The term “pro-choice” is to say that a person believes that individuals have autonomy with respect to their own reproductive systems as long as they do not breach the autonomy of others, thus the choice to continue with a pregnancy or not for whatever reason. Following this definition people who are “pro-choice” usually coincide with the following reasons to support the right of abortion.

1.  Just because you make a law that outlaws abortion does not mean it will stop abortion.
People who want them will continue to have them,  in less safe conditions.
2.  There are different ways to stop abortion other than outlawing it. Sex education and safe
and affordable contraceptives will help alleviate abortion.
3.  Religious ideology is no foundation for any law.
4.  Many people who do not support the right to choose have never been pregnant.
5.  Women who are raped or victims of incest should not be forced to carry out a pregnancy.
6.  Health is an area for doctors, not governments. Governments are not certified to
authorize medical procedures, why should they have the right to regulate this specific
7.  The US Supreme Court declared abortion as a “fundamental right” guaranteed by the US
8.  Reproductive choice empowers women. They have the right to have control over their
own bodies.

Although not all people who identify with “pro-choice” agree with all of these reasons this is an adequate summation of the commonly held reasons to be “pro-choice”.

Both of these different stances are the choice of the individual and what opinions and views of the world they choose to follow. That being said, furious arguments are not the way to step forward and improve the abortion debate.

Here is a link to all abortion bills passed in 2014

Abortion bills introduced by state.

Abortion bills passed by state.

Media attempting to promote the conversation on abortion

TED had reports surface online that they have a policy against discussing abortion. They issued a statement that confirmed that they have no such policy. Following they stated that abortion is not a matter that they would not take a stance on, similar to a state tax bill. But abortion is not the same a state tax bill. They continue in their statement to address that abortion is an important issue and want to promote the discussion of equality and social justice for women.

TIME released an article Why 2014 Should be the Year We Talk About Abortion on TV written by Laura Stampler. She explains that over the years television has attempted to erase abortion’s taboo. Television has gone through the full process of characters’ decisions pertaining to unwanted pregnancies. But recently it has been almost erased from television and Shonda Rhimes (creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal) said, “Because it is such a hot button issue, because people are debating it, it should be discussed. And I’m not sure why it’s not being discussed”.

MSNBC hosted a panel with only females, including an obstetrician, for a segment on proposed state legislation that attempted to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks. This panel helped demonstrate the importance of talking about women’s health with qualified professionals. This panel ranged from talking about abortions due to choice of the woman to their necessity in the prevention medical consequences.

Finally this January the movie Obvious Child came out in the Sundance Film Festival. The description of the movie states, “When Donna winds up unexpectedly pregnant after a one-night stand, she is forced to face the uncomfortable realties of independent womanhood for the first time.” The movie brings the viewer through the difficultly of making a decision like this and is a journey of discovering and empowering herself.

Website and trailer available here.


Level headed conversations to attempt to reduce taboo and move forward with the issues of abortion will help promote positive dialogue amongst Americans. This is not a subject that should be pushed in the corner and ignored because it matters and affects the lives of women around the world each and every day.

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