Choice is a right. Choice means freedom.

Nine states and counting have already passed abortion restrictions and near total bans. Alabama judges are refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Racist cops continue to harass innocent African Americans.

It’s safe to say, we live in turbulent times. Therefore, it is more important than ever to fight for and hold onto our freedoms.

If you want to marry the person you love, regardless of gender or sexuality, you have the right and the freedom to do so. If you want to protest and speak out against the government, you have the right and the freedom to do so. If you are accused of a crime, you have a right to representation, a jury of you peers, and equal justice.

And whether you agree or not: Every woman has the right to make decisions about her own body and life.

Choice is a right. Choice means freedom.

If we truly believe in a “more perfect Union,” we must all be equal under the eyes of the law. And that means you cannot place limits on fundamental rights and freedoms for particular groups of people.

Now, yes, there are exceptions to laws that we make for the greater good of humanity. For example, we have drinking age laws, roadway laws and speed limits, tobacco laws, tattoo and piercing laws, gun restriction laws, laws against crime and pollution. But, all of these limitations are enacted to make our world a better and safer place.

As a woman, I do not feel better and safer knowing that male politicians are signing away our bodies. This new legislation makes women feel as if all our freedoms will slowly be stripped away one by one. It reminds me of a poem by Holocaust survivor, Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

What will our government think of next? That women cannot have the right to work? Or the right to an education? Or the right to vote?

This may seem like a slippery slope fallacy, but you cannot argue with this line of thinking when you see echoes of this type of control every day:

Women face uneven wage gaps. If women do not have financial freedom, then we do not have autonomous freedom.

Women face workplace harassment from men. Many women choose to quit jobs they love because they are uncomfortable in their work environment or worse they stay despite the fact that they are being disrespected and undervalued. Many women opt to not work in industries that are more male-dominated, such as STEM-based fields, for fear of being taken advantage of and harassed.

Our girls face limits on their education, their behavior, and their creative expression at school because it might be “distracting” to a boy trying to get an education. As if girls wearing outfits that show shoulders and knees is the problem and not the boys who snap their bras straps and show a complete lack of respect to them as human beings. As if girls should miss school over something so trivial as their looks. As if a boy’s education is more important than a girl’s.

And these are all just first world problems. We may live in the 21st century, but there are women and girls all over the world who don’t have access to feminine hygiene products and an education, who are not allowed to own property or vote, who are forced into arranged and child marriages, who are sex trafficked and thought of as an object to be bought and sold.

If this kind of treatment of women exists elsewhere in our world, how is it so hard to believe that other women are scared of it happening to them? The only way women can combat this fear is to fight for the fundamental rights we are owed as human beings living on this planet.

Others argue against pro-choice, siting the religious belief that a child is a life at the moment of conception.

Under the law, these people have religious freedom and a right to their beliefs. But, just as they have a right to believe in life at conception, others have the right to not believe in life at conception.

Religion is unique to the individual. Each human being can choose, or not choose, their own personal belief system. One person’s religion is not greater than another’s, just as one who believes is not better than one who does not.

Religion is not a stick with which to beat others. You are granted freedom of religion and freedom from persecution by your government, yes. But, when your beliefs take away the freedoms of others and inflict more suffering upon the world and the people in it, know that you do not have freedom from the opinion of your peers and freedom from consequence.

There are 7.5 billion people living on Earth — all with differing races, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, or socio-economic backgrounds. True freedom means each of those unique individuals has the ability to live their lives as they so choose. This is why religion and government don’t mix. You cannot create legislation and policies that dictate how everyone lives based upon the values and beliefs of one specific person or one specific group.

Specific religious groups believe that abortion is murder and that “life” is at risk.

But, there are just as many, if not more, people in this world who do not hold these same beliefs.

Scientifically, zygotes and fetuses, or first and second trimester babies, cannot sustain life outside the womb and therefore many believe they are not considered a fully-formed human or “life.”

Religious groups believe they are working for the greater good of society by preventing abortions.

But, does banning abortions make our world better and safer? Does banning abortions support life? Does banning abortions help the greater good?

I think not.

A woman or girl who will be forced to carry her disgusting rapist’s baby. How does that “support life” and help the greater good?

A woman or girl whose health is at risk being forced to carry to full-term even though she and the child may die doing so. How does that “support life” and help the greater good?

A woman or girl who, despite a ban on abortion, would go ahead and find a way to have a dangerous back-alley abortion because of her situation, risking her life and the child’s. How does that “support life” and help the greater good?

A women or girl, who is not able to take care of a child properly, being forced into motherhood. How does that “support life” and help the greater good?

A woman or girl, who would lose an education or a job and not be able to support a child properly, being forced into motherhood or forced to carry to full-term before putting the baby up for adoption. How does that “support life” and help the greater good?

I have a answer for you.

This isn’t about supporting life.

How do I know that? Because if it was about helping achieve the greater good, where are all these people when life needs to be supported outside the womb?

Are those who “support life” supporting single mothers in need of financial assistance, food, and baby supplies? Are those who “support life” fighting for women’s fundamental rights and equality? Are those who “support life” helping women put their rapists and abusers behind bars? Are those who “support life” promoting safe sex, consensual sex, and sex education in schools to prevent disease, rape, and unwanted pregnancies? Are those who “support life” giving to the hungry, the impoverished, and those who do not have access to clean drinking water? Are those who “support life” aiding the homeless, the disabled, and the sick? Are those who “support life” pushing to end war and gun violence? Are those who “support life” tearing down oppression in the world? Are those who “support life” welcoming refugees fleeing tyranny and yearning to make a better life in our country? Are those who “support life” speaking up for immigration reform and wanting to make the process to become a citizen an easier and more affordable one? Are those who “support life” standing up for those of different races and ethnicities who are endangered and persecuted because of the color of their skin? Are those who “support life” helping advance the rights and equality of the LGBTQIA+ community?

Of course, I won’t stereotype. I’m sure there are some who are pro-life who are trying to make a positive difference by supporting these causes. But, many others are not. And the “pro-life” lawmakers who sign away other’s rights are most certainly not helping others and making our world a better place. How can you tell? Judge by their actions and not their words. Take a look at their voting record. If they aren’t fighting the good fight and pushing for legislation that protects and benefits all people, then they are not “pro-life” and they should definitely not be holding office and representing the citizens of this country.

They sign these bills into law because they want to exert control over women. They sign these bills into law because they know it will ensure them votes from the religious set in the next election, keeping them in power to further more of their specific agendas and ensuring another term of their comfy position on Capitol Hill with the benefits and kick-backs that follow. They sign these bills into law because saying they support an unborn child with no voice makes them feel like they’ve cleared some red from their ledger and “supported life” without actually having to go through a great deal of effort.

These lawmakers will do anything, including lie, cheat, and corrupt, to keep themselves rich and in power. They use rhetoric and scare tactics to convince fellow pro-life supporters that: people who are pro-choice are “using abortions as birth control,” that “most abortions are late-term abortions,” that those who are pro-choice are evil baby killers…But all of that is absolutely ridiculous and simply not true.

Women who get abortions aren’t running around having sex every day and getting abortions every other week. Women aren’t getting abortions because they’re fun. Many women who have had abortions say how it was a hard and painful decision. Many women say how it was one of the roughest periods in their life. Many women hope to never have to face that decision.

But, at the end of the day, it is THEIR decision.

It is a decision that each and every woman has the right to make for themselves with the help of a qualified doctor.

If it’s not your body, it’s not your call. Accept that.

And if you don’t agree with abortions…don’t get an abortion. Simple as that.

“Support life” by keeping your opinions to yourself and fighting for everyone’s freedoms and choices, regardless of whether those choices match up with your own. “Support life” by petitioning for legislation that benefits the greater good. “Support life” by helping others and giving back to your community. “Support life” by working with others to stand up for the rights and equality of ALL people.

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