BERGER: Abort less, prevent more

Senator Martin misspoke in calling women “hosts,” but his views on abortion have merit

Women are “hosts” to fetuses, proclaimed Virginia Senator Steve Martin on Feb. 24, leading to intense debate over his word choice and views on abortion in general. Martin put himself at the center of a social media faux pas when he responded to a “Valentine’s day card” from the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition which read, “All women deserve access to their full range of reproductive health options — including preventing unintentional pregnancies, raising healthy children, and choosing safe, legal abortion.”

I do not agree with the firestorm that has ensued. In fact, I agree with Martin’s response to the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition, though I do think the use of the word “host” was a mistake, even if it was intended sarcastically. Language regarding abortion absolutely cannot separate the woman from the child. Not only does that demean all mothers, but it also weakens the case against abortion. Pro-life advocates should constantly reaffirm pregnancy as an emotional bond between mother and child, or else any woman considering abortion will have little incentive to protect the fetus she carries. She will see herself as just a “host” and the child inside her as a completely separate, foreign body.

Martin belittles his own argument with this word choice. I am not pro-choice, but I do not think pro-choice advocates look at a mother and unborn child as isolated from one another, or imply it is easy for the mother to abort a child. It is always hard to make that decision, and pro-choice advocates certainly do not want to make it seem easy; they just want women to have the option. So while I recognize that pro-choice advocates are not depraved, cruel baby-haters, and I defend them against those who think they are, I still believe they support a brutal procedure — one to which women should never resort.

Pro-choice supporters make the argument that a woman, not the government, should have control over her body. I agree that control over one’s body is incredibly important. Women have the freedom to control whether or not they have sex and whether or not they use contraception. But we often forget about that type of control, and we tend to under-promote the preventative measures, yet fight zealously — think Wendy Davis — for control in the form of what many view as killing an unborn child. Both sides of the abortion debate should instead put more emphasis on preventative measures, such as various types of birth control. Abortion is not an easy procedure; it is a horrible experience for everyone involved and can have lasting emotional effects on the woman undergoing the procedure. It is senseless murder.

I say senseless because abortion can be easily prevented in almost all cases with contraception or abstinence. Many argue that there is an unavailability of contraception. However, there are condoms available in almost every pharmacy and convenience store. Also, if you go to an OBGYN, your clinician will provide birth control at the office. It may not be cheap, but it is indeed cheaper and less traumatizing than an abortion. In addition, in 2013 a U.S. federal judge ordered that the Morning-After Pill be made available “without a prescription and without point-of-sale or age restrictions.” Following that, the Food and Drug Administration put Plan B One-Step on shelves, requiring a minimum age of fifteen and a form of identification for purchase. This was and is a huge achievement for women. Plan-B can cut the chances of pregnancy by up to 89 percent.

In response to the argument that these measures are not all infallible, and that pregnancy can still occur, although very rarely, I suggest abstinence. Maybe it is unrealistic and ideal, but people who are not ready to have children just do not need to be having sex. And that sentiment is not based on my religious belief. I acknowledge, however, that our society supports such behavior and that it is difficult to maintain abstinence. Yet, if pro-choice advocates really desire complete control over their bodies, so much so that they fight zealously for the right to regular and late-term abortion, shouldn’t they be able to control themselves enough to abstain? Is that not also their right?

If all else fails, what is stopping someone from heading to their nearest CVS and spending $60 on Plan-B? Not only is the morning after pill 85 percent cheaper than abortion, but you only have to be fifteen to purchase Plan-B, whereas thirty-nine states require women under 18 to have one or two guardians give permission for their abortion or at least be contacted. Additionally, Plan-B is far less traumatizing.

Supporters of abortion fight hard for “control” over their own bodies. Well, you do have control over your body; you can keep yourself from getting pregnant in the first place. If you choose to have sex, you have to take the necessary preventative measures, and if those fail you must consider Plan-B as an option — or else accept that you might get pregnant. But do not choose to do nothing and then make your unborn child suffer from your mistakes. Although I am not a professional nor have I ever experienced pregnancy, I think my views stand. I support Martin’s claims — while acknowledging the flaws in his wording — and object to the firestorm against him.

Meredith Berger is an Opinion columnist for The Cavalier Daily. Her columns run Mondays.

Published March 3, 2014 in Opinion

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