A teen’s perspective
Abortion rights in the US and Kansas affect women of all ages. I am a fifteen year old girl in Kansas; these rights are important for me and will be for the rest of my life. My generation are the people that will live through changes made now; how will changing abortion laws, if Roe vs Wade is overturned, change our lives?
May 24, 2022
I was 13 when I got my first period.
I was in eighth grade at that time.
I didn’t really think much of that fact until my mom sat down and talked to me about what it meant.
She explained to me that now that I had my period, I could get pregnant.
I already knew that, but just hearing the words come out of my mother’s mouth was when it really hit me.
I could get pregnant at 13 years old.
Even the possibility was kind of scary for me. The worry dissipated after the very first realization, but has recently come up again since the Roe vs Wade trial and ruling have been in the news more.
Going into high school I’ve had more instances to think about what would happen if I did get pregnant or if one of my friends did.
Birth control is a part of almost daily discussion between me and my friends, whether it be for pregnancy prevention, period regulation, or acne.
I took family studies, and contraceptives were widely discussed. The class did research on each type and their effectiveness. We did not talk about abortion.
My teacher did not want to bring in her Planned Parenthood speaker because “‘It was too controversial.’”
Teens are taught about sex. They are taught about sexually transmitted diseases. They are taught about condoms, birth control pills, IUD’s, rings, etc. They are not taught about abortion.
Abortion is a medical procedure. A safe, legal, medical procedure. It has been so for 49 years. Roe vs Wade made it legal nearly half a century ago.
I have had discussions with my parents about pregnancy in high school and how to responsibly handle any situation I find myself in. I don’t know what I would do if I were to get pregnant. But I want to be the one to make that choice.
Taking away Roe vs Wade does not immediately take away abortions. It doesn’t take away a woman’s right to choose. But it does take away the safeguard for this right.
With the flip of a switch, 26 states could ban abortion with the removal of Roe vs Wade. Others could further restrict it. Some could keep it legal.
But it should ultimately be up to the woman.
It is a woman’s privacy. It is her body. It is the rest of her life that will be affected.
Overturning Roe vs Wade will set women’s rights back half a century for many states. It would be detrimental to the United States to overturn Roe vs Wade and give states the chance to take away a basic right to privacy and choice that women deserve.
Roe vs Wade made it legal for women to choose what to do with their bodies. It made it legal for them to make their own decisions about their future. It made it safe to obtain an abortion. It made having an abortion a woman’s own personal and private decision, protected by the Constitution.
Abortions make it possible for unfit mothers or teens to have another option if they do get pregnant.
Abortions keep babies out of foster care.
They make it so babies of unfit mothers don’t have the risk of being born with a birth defect or disability due to an unsafe pregnancy.
Legal abortions keep pregnant women safe.
Women had abortions before Roe vs Wade; they were ‘back-alley abortions’ done by people that might not be professionals in conditions that were not safe for pregnant women. In 1972, the year before Roe vs Wade was ruled, 62% of abortion deaths were caused by illegal abortions according to the CDC. The numbers immediately reversed the next year and the following decades as abortions became legal and the conditions they were performed in became safer.
Legalizing abortions saves the lives of women.
Women who have access to safe and legal abortions, done by professionals in their field, are able to obtain those abortions and make the right decision for them in conditions that are safe for them.
If abortions are made illegal, pregnancy termination won’t stop. It will just cause more women to do things like take over the recommended amount of vitamin C to force a pregnancy to end.
Some women choose to get abortions because they do not want a child. They feel they are not prepared for the responsibility of a child.
If a woman does not want a child, she likely is not going to be able to or want to care for that child and give that child everything it wants and needs.
Some teen mothers are not prepared for children. Some are not financially stable. They are not able to live on their own. They are not fully mentally developed. They are not completely physically developed. Yet they do it anyway.
Teen mothers receive support from family and friends, but being the child of a teen mother entails growing up in an entirely different way.
I know two teen mothers right now who had their babies sophomore and junior year of high school.
One of them is still with the father and has a core group of people to help her care for her child. This allows the child to grow up with a trusting relationship and with the support network needed to develop mentally.
The other is not with the father anymore. Her child is bounced between households and groups of people, which makes it far easier to care for the child, but harder to allow bonds to form and the brain to fully mentally develop.
No matter the beliefs of teen mothers, abortion is an option. It is their choice. They can have the baby or they can not.
It is a choice that they can make based on their own personal wants, needs and lives.
If the mother chooses to have the baby and put it into the foster care system to be adopted, the child has an extreme likelihood to go through an average of seven different homes, abuse, and still be without a family when they turn 18 according to Joy Meadows.
On paper, the foster care system is the perfect solution for mothers who do not want, or cannot support, a child. However, in actuality, when only 2% of Americans adopt children, the system cannot support the ongoing stream of new children being put in foster care every day.
There are not enough places for them to go.
So when women get comments like ‘Why didn’t you just give it up for adoption?,’ sometimes there isn’t another option. Sometimes abortion is the best option.
I am 15 years old right now.
Abortion has been talked about openly in my household since I was old enough to understand. It has been made clear to me from my family that if I do get pregnant, they will support me in whatever decision I make. Because it is my choice.
It is my body that would host another human for nine months.
It is my body that would have to give birth to a child.
My body would deal with the sleepless nights, discomfort, cravings, kicks, Braxton Hicks, doctors visits, random swelling, size changes.
I would be responsible for changing the diaper at midnight on a school night because it is my baby. It would be my choice to keep it and, ultimately, my responsibility to take care of it.
Right now, at 15 years old, that is not something I am prepared to handle.
But it is my choice. I can decide what I want to do based off what I think is the best option for me. With the current laws in place, I could save myself from a pregnancy I would not be prepared for.
Abortion bans and trigger laws currently in place are based on the idea that a baby is living as soon as the egg is fertilized. If that idea is accepted, birth control methods, such as IUD’s and Plan B pills could also potentially be illegal.
IUD’s for example work after the egg is already fertilized by making the uterine lining too thin for the fertilized egg to attach. But if the egg is already fertilized, it is already a living being according to the above statement.
If abortion is banned in states, it is very possible that these two forms of birth control, plus others that act after the egg is fertilized, would be banned as well because the fertilized egg is living.
The only form of birth control that would be left would be birth control pills, condoms, and other barrier or pre-fertilization methods.
Pro-life people argue that the cell is living, which is true. When an egg is fertilized, it has the potential to form a human and is technically a living thing by the biological definition.
A fertilized egg will turn into a living, breathing, child at the end of pregnancy; that is true.
If abortion is made illegal because it is killing something living, then euthanasia of animals, such as dogs and cats, would also have to be illegal.
Assisted suicide would have to be illegal.
Anything that caused anything living to die would have to be illegal because once something is alive, it should get to live no matter the conditions it is living in.
The Value them Both campaign aims to ban or restrict abortion to save the life of both the mother and the child. The campaign wants to save lives physically, which is a good thing on paper. Saving the mother while bringing a baby into the world sounds idyllic.
Being physically in this world with a child and saving the lives of two people is what the Kansas campaign is designed to do.
But having that baby could ruin the mother’s life. It could pull her out of school; force her to skip college; force her to work multiple jobs. There is so much more at stake than just being physically alive.
A majority of the people drafting and passing these laws are not women. They do not have the same consequences of pregnancy that a woman does.
They do not get bleeding every month or endless cramping at all hours of the day for seven days of each month.
They do not have a uterus with which to carry a baby.
I am 15. I cannot vote in the ballot in August for the abortion policy that will affect me, as a woman, and my rights, for years.
I am not saying abortion is the only option for women. I am not saying adoption is a terrible thing. I am saying that women have options and should get the choice to make the decision for themselves if they have done their research and know what is best for them.
Women should get that right. It should not be controlled through state legislature what women can and cannot do with their bodies. That is their decision.