Ready for some alarming statistics? Planned Parenthood states that 3 out of 10 women in the United States will get an abortion before the time they are 45. 18 out of 100 people who use condoms will become pregnant every single year. The birth control pill is only 91% effective. These statistics are shocking and they are very real. In my eyes, as a young woman in the free world, it is so glaringly obvious to me that women deserve the right to choose. And yet, to my disbelief, Roe v. Wade, the pivotal 1973 decision that legalized abortions, is an ongoing discussion, not a stable fact.
In the third presidential Debate, when asked if he would want the court to overturn Roe V. Wade, President-elect Donald Trump responded:
“Well, if that would happen, because I am pro-life, and I will be appointing pro-life judges…it will go back to the states, and the states will then make a determination.”
Mr. Trump, if you don’t mind, I’d like to say a few words on behalf of my fellow countrywomen, because we are highly concerned.
With all due respect, you are a man, and perhaps it is hard to truly understand the anxieties women feel surrounding sex. The concept that something as common as a contraception failure (just to repeat, 18 out of 100 people using condoms) could lead to something as life altering as having a child is crippling. Try and truly comprehend the fact that a fetus could grow inside our bodies, and our bodies would have to morph and rearrange for nine months whether or not we wanted it to, interrupting our commutes, our class time, our study sessions, our full time jobs, our portals to achieving our full potential. Women can become pregnant as soon as they get their period. For some this is before they even turn eleven. Not to mention, sometimes sex is not a voluntary action. 1 in 5 women in college fall victim to rape. There is no law that legally binds a biological father to the child. There are no systems in place that ensure that every mother and child is provided with enough money for a good life. There are no systems in place that provides funding for every child born with disabilities. There is no system to help women earn a college degree under these circumstances. There is no way to shield women from the stigma that comes along with pregnancy. Men have the luxury of externalizing this anxiety. Women do not have that luxury.
Your plan for paid maternity leave calls for only six weeks of paid maternity leave for new mothers, not fathers.
According to TIME, “There are many problems with this, including its sexist presumption that only women can be caregivers. Policies that only allow women time off end up hurting women by pushing women to stay home and men to stay at work.”
It is also unclear whether your policy includes single mothers, the most vulnerable demographic in society. According to the Washington Post, the maternity leave policy has a marriage requirement cited on your campaign’s website, Mr. Trump. What an embarrassment to the United States of America.
Gov. John Kasich of Ohio signed the “Senate Bill 127”, which bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, making no exception to victims of rape or incest. Vice Media reports that of the 16 states that ban abortions after 20 weeks, only Arkansas has made an exception for rape or incest. And women across the country held their breath as the Heartbeat Bill was passed by lawmakers in Ohio. This new bill called for the banning of abortions after only 6 weeks of pregnancy, which is before most women even know that they are pregnant. Again, this bill would have made no exception for incest or rape. Thankfully, Gov. Kasich vetoed the bill, but the prospect send shivers across the country. The passing of the Heartbeat Bill was far too close for comfort.
Mr. Trump, you claim that you want to “Make America Great Again”. But last time I checked, women have been celebrating the freedom and right to choose for 44 years, and that’s been pretty great. I respect that religion exists in this country. But the best part about America is that it is a melting pot, laden with spices of all different flavors, working together as one. The atheists are here too. The people who believe in God and also believe reproductive rights are here too. Forcing religious beliefs onto a nation by taking away their right to choose goes against the very essence of America, land of the free. Americans got hung up on a few e-mails and Hillary Clinton lost the election, and the threat to basic women’s rights is collateral damage. I am highly doubtful that any movement will be made towards limiting the ability of men to obtain Viagra, but what do I know? Trump would say, I’m just a “nasty woman”.