Abortion isn't society's business; it's private

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, May 09, 2004

I recently attended the March for Women's Lives in Washington, D.C. with 13 of my peers from the University of Montana. I understand this does not make me an expert on abortion or pro-choice activism. However, I am a woman and this biological factor alone gives me a perspective that Eli Derenoff and other men will never have.

Abortion seems to be one of the most polarizing issues facing society today. People are either strongly pro-choice or anti-abortion (I refuse to use the term "pro-life" as the people against abortion are generally in favor of the conflict in Iraq and capital punishment - not exactly "pro-life"). Those of us who believe in a women's right to choose will never change anti-abortionists' minds, and vice versa. Besides, why is it anyone else's business? The decision to have an abortion is not easily made - why make it even more difficult for women dealing with this? It's a private matter and it should be kept that way. What a woman does with her body is her business - not society's and certainly not the government's.

I do not believe pro-choice activists have any hidden agendas. We are simply working hard to preserve a woman's right, even a woman's "God-given" right to many, to abort their pregnancies if necessary. It is naive for anti-abortionists to think that banning abortions will stop them. Women will have abortions, illegal or not. Since this is the truth, why not allow them to be done as medical procedures in clean, safe environments? Why force women to return to the days of performing abortions on themselves? It will happen and many women will die as a result.

Eli Derenoff asks, "Why can't these activists host a march to promote safe sex or the proper use of a condom?" Well, Eli, you're right. Condoms and proper sex education do help prevent abortions. Safe sex is partly what the march was about as well. However, it's difficult when our current administration pushes abstinence as the best policy of birth control. Women can't win on either end.

The scary truth is that our country is taking gradual steps to reversing Roe vs. Wade. This is the most important issue concerning women today.

The 1 million-plus people marching on Washington two weekends ago showed that. Unfortunately, it was just a first step. There is so much more to be done to protect this absolutely necessary right.

Alexis Janowiec

Missoula, Mont., and Juneau

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