Letter to the Editors: Defend Women’s Access to Abortions


Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Women, both pro-choice and pro-life, protesting abortion laws in Washington D.C. on January 18th, 2019.

Delaney Coppola, Contributing Writer

The question of abortion has left politicians, activists, and the public reeling for hundreds of years, yet almost no progress has been made to compromise. In fact, pro-life versus pro-choice sentiments have solidified their distinctive arguments over time and each side holds a fierce hatred towards the opponent. These opposing views came to a head this past December, as Massachusetts representatives passed the Roe Act to defend abortion access over Governor Charlie Baker’s veto. For women everywhere, this decision symbolized a small victory in a historic sea of losses.

Since the early 1800s, women have taken control of their right to abortion. However, the increased criminalization of abortion after the 1850s fueled a dangerous turn to “underground methods”. Despite the lengthy narrative detailing the necessity of abortion access, our country’s legislation continues to tighten restrictions and choke out safe abortion options. 

In our country founded on the principles of individual freedom, the right to a safe, legal abortion deserves to be defended. Because of the protections promised by the U.S Constitution and the risk to women’s’ health, the legislation and movements to ban abortion must cease.

Defending abortion rights proves essential to protecting female health and reversing the damage done by years of increasing restrictions. Statistics and medicine have determined that legal access to abortion poses life and death impacts on women. According to the New York Times, over 11 percent of maternal deaths stemmed from illegal abortions in the 1920s, while the mortality rate dropped drastically from 70 to 1.3 per 100,000 women after the 1973 Roe v. Wade case increased access to legal abortions. In all parts of history, women have found ways to obtain abortions and work around government limitations. The legislation meant to protect the public has proven ineffective in “protecting” these women, and rather increases the risk of mortality when a woman has to turn to unsafe methods rather than receiving the procedure from a medical professional. When the law interferes with the health of an entire gender, half of the population, it is time for reform to best support the people. Further, as states continue to pass limiting bills and bans, it has become imperative that the public and voters deepen their activism. In North Carolina, for example, anti-abortion legislation was hidden from the public eye and passed secretly during the night and under the shadow of a motorcycle bill according to USA Today. This devious and deceitful method used by many states takes advantage of the oblivious citizens and violates the democratic values that entitle voters to educate themselves and influence state legislation. Further explained by USA Today, “at least five states now have only a single abortion provider” and many others are on the path to follow suit, forcing women to travel great distances to obtain a safe abortion. Not only do these restrictions cause financial, physical, and emotional burdens; they also encourage more dangerous methods of abortion as many people do not have the means to travel to obtain safe, legal procedures. In order to maintain the health, safety, and freedoms of women in the United States, the accessibility and choice to a safe abortion must be defended and protected in our legislation, media, and society.

Some people, however, disagree with the practice of abortion; their fire especially reignited after the passing of the Roe Act in Massachusetts this past December. Under the reforms of the Roe Act, the lowering of the age requirement to obtain an abortion without parental consent proved highly debated as many believed 16 to be too young. This spark spiraled into an augmentation of anti-abortion sentiment, but failed to consider the victory of this reform for teenage girls who suffer unstable home conditions, are victims of rape, cannot afford to support a child, aren’t ready to give up their education, or cannot ask parental permission for various other reasons. Others oppose abortion because of political beliefs and their view of abortion as part of an extremist Democratic agenda. A quote from The Blaze attacks the protection of abortion stating, “the Democrats’ agenda for the entire nation is reflected in this bill: abortion-on-demand, up until the moment of birth.” As extreme as this accusation is, it also reflects the politically charges aspect of abortion. However, this legislation also holds a far more pressing concern in health and safety than political agenda.

Because of its profound impact on women’s reproductive health and role in maintaining freedom, the protection of abortion rights remains a prevalent issue today. We must continue to advocate for abortion access and find new ways to draw attention to the issue. Write to your representatives, increase voter participation, educate yourself and others, and do your part to create change.