Family Planning, Maternal Health

Why we’re pro-choice

I am pro-choice because...

Forty years after Roe v. Wade, there is still much work to be done, both here and around the world, to ensure all women have the freedom to make basic choices about childbearing. PAI is a pro-choice organization and everything we work on – from access to family planning, to safe abortion, to maternal health – aims to expand options for women so that they can exercise these fundamental rights.

We believe in this work, and in many ways, we see the importance of it in our own lives. In honor of the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we asked PAI staff members why they, personally, are pro-choice. Here’s what they said. To see more pro-choice stories from the Blog for Choice Day, click here.

“Growing up in Brooklyn, I’ve seen the impact that limited access to reproductive health services and information can have on communities. I come from the type of neighborhood that is often used as a prime example for increased rates of teen pregnancy: lower income, minority immigrant community in an urban city. So when I see statistics on unintended pregnancies and abortion rates, that means more than just numbers to me. It represents my neighbors, my classmates and some of my closest friends who made the decision that they felt best for them. Seeing how having access to abortion services has shaped their lives – from being able to continue school, to being able to care for the children they may have already have, and for those who chose to continue to their pregnancies: knowing that they personally felt ready to have those children – reinforces for me why I am, and will always be, pro-choice.”
– Amandi Clarke

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“I was a senior at Cornell, preparing to spend Spring Break in Jamaica with my housemates. Raised in a middle class Texan family, I was working my way through the Ivy League tuition and was only planning for such an extravagant vacation because I had planned for it—saved for it. Then I got a call, from a high school friend with whom I had stayed friends. Would I meet her in San Antonio over the break and help her navigate getting an abortion? She was early stage pregnancy, from what she could tell, and the sooner the better. I said yes, forfeiting my vacation deposit and miraculously finding a flight home to San Antonio out of Ithaca at such a late stage. We spent the week not talking about it, really, just plugging through with the able assistance of bean and cheese tacos and probably a Shiner Boch or two. She’s a mom, now, as am I, both successful and happy in our careers with academic credentials under our belts. I didn’t get it, then, I was all fire and brimstone and choice choice choice. Now I see the complexity, the confusion, the sadness and the relief all rolled into one. It was my alternative spring break, and it changed the course of my life. I am thanking her now; if she reads this she will know.”
– Suzanne Ehlers

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“This is an intimately personal decision that women and couples must be empowered to make for themselves. As the son of a single mother from the global South; the husband of an educated, informed and responsible woman from the global North; and the father of two thoughtful and popular teenage boys in the United States – it’s important to support the sanctity of individual choice, responsible decision-making, and engaged citizenship. It’s at the core of our humanity and of our global family.”
– Roger-Mark DeSouza

“When abortion is criminalized, women resort to unsafe abortions that can kill and maim them. Where abortion is illegal, safer providers can charge more, which limits access for poor women and girls.”
– Suzanna Dennis

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“I am even more committed to being pro-choice now as a new parent. My husband and I were overjoyed to welcome our son last year and we love him to pieces, however parenting is the single most challenging thing I’ve ever done. Raising a child has been incredibly rewarding and at the same time it can be very difficult. It is unimaginable to me that some think motherhood should be forced upon a woman who is not prepared, for whatever reason, to start a family.”
– Jennifer Mellen

“Without access to abortion, the woman to whom I owe my life to would have likely lost hers: my mother. When I was a freshman in high school, my mother became pregnant with what would have been her third child. Towards the end of her second trimester, she became increasingly ill and was eventually told that to carry out her pregnancy would mean risking her life. My mother chose to have an abortion and is living healthy and happy today. I am eternally grateful that she had the choice to undergo the medical procedure that saved her life. Simply stated, I am pro-choice because abortion saves lives.”
– Anonymous

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“I grew up in an environment where sexuality was never a topic of discussion, given the strong religious and cultural beliefs shared by most families in my community. Yet, I witnessed many dreams in my village shattered, as girls became pregnant and had to drop out of school, most of them never to return. Dropping out of school those days almost guaranteed one a life of toil and misery. Village life was characterized by high attrition and constant struggle, as meager household resources had to support the usually large family sizes. Economics aside, there were frightening stories of suffering, illness and even death of some of the girls who decided to terminate their pregnancies, mostly in the hands of village quacks using all manner of concoctions and crude equipment. It started hitting home when some of the of the girls who had to drop out of school or go through the traumatizing events of unsafe abortion were my close friends, family and relatives. How I wish that all these girls had the right opportunity to terminate unintended pregnancies! I am sure most of them would be pursuing a better life today and others would be alive.”
– Clive Mutunga

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“I believe that restricting a woman’s choices for reproductive care is wrong.”
– Emily C.

“Anything else seems hypocritical. The thought of anyone making that type of personal, life-changing decision for me is unimaginable. Likewise, I would never presume to make that decision for anyone else. I feel lucky to live in a place where I know abortion is an option if I need it. Political attempts to take that basic right away from any woman, for any reason, are an affront to us all.”
– Danielle Zielinski

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“Being pro-choice to me is about being a part of a motivating community. Attending a pro-choice event – be it a rally, a book club, a strategy session, a potluck or a gala – always makes me burst with pride to be part of a community of inspiring women. Women that are not radical. Women of all shapes, colors, and walks of life. Women that believe in the power of women and the importance for us to be able to make decisions about our bodies and about our childbearing. Forty years after Roe v Wade, there is still a need – both domestically and internationally – to speak out on behalf of our individual autonomy. I am proud to lift up my voice with dedicated practitioners, health specialists, volunteers, policy leaders, and advocates to say simply: women have a right to choose.”
– A. Tianna Scozzaro

“I believe that every woman should be able to determine her own future, regardless of her location, income, or religion, or background.”
– Jaclyn Seisman

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“My mom had to go to Japan for an abortion after a rape when it was still illegal in the U.S., so I may not have been born if she hadn’t been able to afford the trip and had to do a back-alley abortion in the U.S. I also had an abortion—paid for by Medicaid—after an unintended pregnancy when I was in college. Avoiding having a poorly timed child enabled me to finish college, go onto graduate school, and have two planned children when I am emotionally and financially ready to provide for them! I hope that my daughter will have the same choice.”
– Anonymous

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6 Responses to “Why we’re pro-choice”

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  5. Ann

    18 years ago, I was hit by a car and almost killed. I was in a coma for a week, and needed 4 knee surgeries to walk again. It took years for my body and my brain to recover to the point of being a participating member of society again. For months after the accident, I did not have a period. I finally went to a doctor about it, and he told me that due to the accident I would never have children. Consequently, my ex-husband and I stopped using protection. A few months later, I was pregnant. I was still in unremitting pain from my leg injuries (the doctors would not give me enough medication to control the pain because they :did not want me to get addicted to pain killers.” At that point, I was still wholly dependent on others, and was in no condition physically, mentally or emotionally to bear and raise a child. Had safe, legal abortion not been available to me, I would have taken my own life, as I nearly did anyway due to the difficulties and the horrendous years of recovery that I was facing.

  6. Sam

    I also have to admit that I am pro-choice. I believe that if you are put in such a position, you would also want to think about what’s best for you. There will be moral issues but when it comes down to it, it is up to the woman to make the ultimate decision.

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