Opinion: Abortion does not empower women

Abortion harms more than the infant while also influencing and repressing women

Abortion is a moral issue. It is a moral issue because it teaches women they are not capable of having a child while also getting their degree. It also convinces them to undergo procedures that can be detrimental to their mental well-being. 

According to a dissertation by Steven Jacobs from the University of Chicago, the common consensus among the 95% of biologists that were interviewed is that life begins at the point of conception.

Since life begins quickly after intercourse, this means we are knowingly killing living beings. Just because a pregnancy can be inconvenient, it doesn’t justify the right to take a life.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, visited ASU Students for Life last Wednesday. She spoke about the importance of recognizing life. Hawkins said inconvenience doesn't change the fact that what is being aborted is still a human being.

"Your stage in life, your age doesn't give you more or less value," Hawkins said.

The argument that abortion is possibly killing a living being is sidelined by the misconception that being pro-life strips choice away from women; with one of the more common pro-choice slogans being, “My body, my choice.”

If we agree that life begins at conception, then those who are pro-life for themselves but pro-choice for others are essentially saying it is okay for others to kill, but they would not want to be personally responsible. 

But abortion does not empower women.

To clarify, women who get abortions are not bad people. While I understand that some women can feel like they have no other choice, I would argue that this is actually my exact point, abortion can influence women to feel like they can't pursue their goals while also being a mom.

For women who may not be in emotionally or financially stable environments, abortion is still not the best choice because there are organizations that exist to support women in these positions. Some support programs for women in this situation include Women, Infants and Children and the Pregnant on Campus initiative

Hawkins said that between the two movements, the pro-life movement is actually about empowering women. This is because while abortion teaches women they can’t be successful without ridding themselves of a living being, the pro-life movement teaches women they don’t have to choose between raising a child and fulfilling their goals in life.

“Abortion tells women, ‘No, you can't, you're not strong enough to finish your college degree and become a mother. You have to choose, pick one or the other.’ It's the very opposite of empowerment,” Hawkins said.

I don’t plan on having children for many years. However, were I to become pregnant, why should I have to choose between having a child and finishing my degree? 

I can and should be able to do both — in fact, students can under ASU’s Title IX rule, which promises not to discriminate against students on the basis of pregnancy and offers accommodations for those students in their classes. 

These policies are put in place at ASU to ensure the success of pregnant students and mothers. As such, the concept that abortion is our only option if we get pregnant during college is false and repressive because it assumes women can't handle both.

What students may not realize is abortion doesn’t only hurt the infant, it also can hurt women psychologically. According to a 2019 analysis in Italy, women who had an abortion were more likely to commit suicide than women who gave birth.

This is a problem because students are sometimes taught that abortion is a safe choice, yet abortion can be detrimental to your mental health which is anything but safe. 

“They're not helping her. They take her money in a moment of crisis, they kill her baby and they send her back home to whatever circumstances she's living in,” Hawkins said.

Personally, I identify with a classic sense of feminism, the notion under the Merriam-Webster online dictionary that defines feminism as, “The theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. Organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests.”

Under this definition, women should be supported, not hindered, to be able to have a child and fulfill their dreams. Students for Life acknowledge and offer to support any woman striving to be a mother and a college student.

“What we fight for is not a repressing of women. It’s not women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen with no access to jobs or school or technology,” Hawkins said

Abortion isn’t providing women choice and is a moral issue students need to be aware of — it perpetuates sexist mindsets that women aren’t capable of being a mother and a competent individual at the same time which hurts both women and children in the guise of being about choice.


Reach the columnist at slbrinso@asu.edu or follow @Stacy_L_Anders on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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