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PeaceNikki

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Gender: Female
Current location: Wisconsin
Member since: Sat Apr 14, 2007, 04:49 PM
Number of posts: 27,985

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What if we stopped focusing on the number of abortions and instead focused on the women themselves?

Numbers mean nothing without context. If the 1.21 million abortions that took place in 2005 (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html#1) represent the number of women who needed abortions (and in my opinion, if a woman decides she needs an abortion, then she does), as well as the many women who chose to terminate pregnancies that they very much wanted but could not afford to carry to term, then that number is too high. The work of reducing the number of abortions, therefore, would entail creating an authentically family-friendly society, where women would have the support they need to raise their families, whatever forms they took. That could include eliminating the family caps in TANF, encouraging unionization of low-wage workers, reforming immigration policies and making vocational and higher education more accessible.

On the other hand, if those 1.21 million abortions represent only the women who could access abortion financially, geographically or otherwise, then that number is too low. Yes, too low. If that’s the case, then what is an appropriate response? How do we best support women and their reproductive health? Do we dare admit that increasing the number of abortions might be not only good for women’s health, but also moral and just?

What if we stopped focusing on the number of abortions and instead focused on the women themselves? Much of the work of the reproductive health, rights and justice movements would remain the same. We would still advocate for legislation that helps our families. We would still fight to protect abortion providers and their staffs from verbal harassment and physical violence. What would change, however, is the stigma and shame. By focusing on supporting women’s agency and self-determination, rather than judging the outcomes of that agency, we send a powerful message. We say that we trust women. We say we will not use them and their experiences as pawns in a political game. We say we care about women and want them to have access to all the information, services and resources necessary to make the best decisions they can for themselves and their families. That is at the core of reproductive justice. Not reducing the number of abortions. Safe – yes. Legal– absolutely. Rare – not the point.

http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/04/26/safe-legal-rare-another-perspective
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