COLUMN: I want choice

The problem with the anti-abortion argument

Column by: Angela Graf | Guest Writer

About the Author: Angela Graf graduated from Ferris with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 2018 and currently resides in the greater Detroit area.

The morning of Oct. 10, I was sitting in my office at work, checking the notifications on my phone while I had a cup of coffee, when I clicked on one from Twitter.

An anti-abortion group called “Created Equal” had tagged my college newspaper, this newspaper, and a number of other local media outlets in a tweet reminding them of a demonstration in the North Quad that day that would be showing video footage of an abortion procedure.

I inspected the message further and to say that I was appalled, to say that I was infuriated, wouldn’t do my feelings in that moment justice.

I thought about that a lot over the course of the day. I went home and discussed it with my boyfriend, an equally upset Ferris alum. My skin was crawling and my blood boiling.

You don’t know the histories and the stories of the women walking that campus. You don’t know what they have been through, nor how your little show affects them.

We as women deserve better than being harassed in the place where we are paying to be educated, by people who think that they have any say at all over what happens to our bodies or in our lives.

I feel it’s safe to assume that these so-called activists weren’t handing out birth control or educating on how to access contraception – they never do, despite the overwhelming evidence that the way to actually lower abortion rates isn’t shaming women on college campuses, but rather providing scientifically accurate sexual education and contraception to adolescents ages 13 and up.

There is a pandemic in this country regarding not only a lack of recognition of female bodily autonomy, but a barrier to proper education and access to contraception.

75% of abortion patients in 2014 were below the federal poverty level, and that’s not a coincidence.

And to make matters worse, we on the prochoice side keep making the wrong arguments. Rape and incest are obviously abhorrent acts, and women struggling with pregnancy in the aftermath of these events deserve as much sensitivity as humanly possible, but when you insert those into the narrative as the main argument, you’re diminishing the heart of what being pro-choice is: it’s not wanting to be pregnant, and the freedom to make that decision.

It’s women that aren’t in a financial situation to raise a child. It’s teenagers that want to graduate high school without being bullied into dropping out.

It’s college students that want to focus on their degree and career.

It’s women coping with depression and mental illness.

It’s victims of emotional, mental, physical and sexual abuse.

It’s mothers that already have children – in fact, in 2014, 59% of women that underwent an abortion procedure had already given birth prior to that.

It’s your friend.

Your sister.

Your mother. I

t’s 24% of women under the age of 45 – one in four.

These are not nameless, faceless villains, they are people with lives and dreams and goals, and for many, those don’t include being pregnant or giving birth, and they shouldn’t have to.

When you place the consequences of pregnancy solely on the woman, her body becomes a prison and her sex a burden.

I want the number of abortions to decrease as much as anybody, but I want that to happen for the right reasons.

I want women, and people in general, to have better access to contraception.

I want young people properly educated on sex and pregnancy.

I want programs in place to assist women that are pregnant but lack the resources to care for themselves during pregnancy, or for the child after giving birth.

I want children currently in the system to find homes.

But more than anything, I want to stop being told what to do with my body – whether that be the decision to partake in consensual sex, or the decision to not subject it to nine months, or sometimes a lifetime, of physical, emotional and financial hardship.

I want choice.