One issue that has garnered more conversation than in previous elections is the topic of abortion. This isn’t surprising given that nearly 300 abortion restrictions have been passed since 2010. While most people assume women can easily access an abortion procedure when wanted or needed, the steady onslaught of laws is taking a toll.
In Ohio alone, we’ve gone from having 16 abortion clinics to nine, and the state pumps increasing amounts of money into crisis pregnancy centers that spread misinformation. This means we’re not just making it harder for women to access a procedure as safe as removing wisdom teeth, we’re also funding organizations that discourage the use of condoms and birth control.
Here in the United States, we have a candidate for president that doesn’t just claim to be against elective abortions, we have a candidate saying women should be punished if he’s able to overturn Roe v. Wade. This is at a time when the spread of Zika has forced the international community to openly discuss the lack of access to abortion and contraception in many countries.
Access to an abortion, even if a woman never exercises that right, is a societal and existential good for all. If a woman becomes pregnant, even if she can never imagine getting an abortion, she still knows she could. She knows that having that baby is her choice. She’s able to embrace the situation rather than feel she has no control over her own destiny. We have forgotten the desperation that women felt when they could not control their own bodies. When they kept having babies because they had no access to safe or legal abortion or contraception. We take this for granted, but having control over your own body is a necessity for gender equality to ever truly exist.
So on Wednesday, International Safe Abortion Day, say “thank you” to a provider, volunteer your time, listen to a friend’s story. Do whatever you can to help ensure everyone has access to a safe abortion.
Ohio State medical student