By Emma Weidman | Staff Writer
The past several months have seen an increase in abortion legislation becoming stricter and stricter nationwide, especially in states like Alabama and Texas. But despite what a politician in a suit and tie proclaims from behind their desk as they sign those restrictive bills into law, abortion is truly one person’s business and one person’s alone: a woman’s.
One of the most restrictive laws to date regarding abortion is one that went into effect here in Texas last September. It not only bans all procedures six weeks after conception — the point at which a heartbeat can be detected, which some consider as the point when a fetus becomes a baby – but also encourages average citizens to sue women who receive abortions, doctors who perform them and anyone who helps in the process.
There’s a lot of rhetoric surrounding the entire topic of abortion in general. At what point does a fetus become a baby? If abortion is murder, at what point should it be banned, if at all? And there are more philosophical questions that aren’t really relevant when it comes to the discussion of who abortion actually affects. I believe there is only one person to whom abortion should matter: the woman who gets one.
An abortion happens entirely within a woman’s own body, toward something that can’t exist outside of her up to a certain point. A fetus is completely dependent on the woman’s resources, health and energy, so even if she were to carry it to full term, her life and well-being are always going to be infinitely more important than that of the unborn child. If the fetus is an unconscious being whose needs come second to those of the woman who carries it, why do lawmakers care so deeply about what happens to it, effectively choosing to value it over the mother?
It seems odd that there would be legislation on something that happens only inside a woman’s own body, seeing as abortion doesn’t affect other people who have already been born. In fact, the woman tends to be the only one bearing the emotional, not just the physical, toll of the procedure. There is no other medical procedure that is so hotly debated or legislated upon, especially not by those who can’t physically get one.
That’s the big issue for me: Most of the people who write and pass laws regarding abortion are men. According to a study done by Politico using data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the average state legislature in 2020 was barely over 29% female. This isn’t to say that men can’t have opinions on abortion, but I know that I wouldn’t want a female-dominated state Senate deciding upon whether or not men should be able to have vasectomies or otherwise have autonomy over their reproductive systems.
At the end of the day, I think the choice to have or not to have an abortion is a personal one made between a woman and her doctor. That should concern nobody else — certainly not a politician or a crowd of angry protestors waiting outside of a Planned Parenthood to heckle and harass patients. I believe another woman’s abortion is none of my business.