Abortion discussions require depolarization

Abortion+discussions+require+depolarization

Akasha Khalsa

For many women facing the choice between having a baby and terminating a pregnancy, the issues involved are always practically and morally complex. The fact that discussion surrounding abortion is so politicized becomes a barrier to their ability to make a decision that is beneficial to them.

For young women working their way through college and just entering the job market, the course of their futures hang in the balance. Financial instability is a concern, and personal dreams are at stake.

In considering whether to end a pregnancy, there is always the awareness of possible regret once the decision has been made. Years later, we may regret the never-was human being who might have grown between that choice and now.

In the realm of politics, the debate between those who identify as “pro-life” and those who identify as “pro-choice” is fraught and unproductive. The issues involved in the political debate, much like the microcosm of a young woman’s personal, internal debate, involve an incredible moral and practical complexity.

However, in politics the personal and the intimate is often forgotten. Instead, abortion is discussed at a distance through generalizations, strategically loaded or impersonal terminology and abstracted political narratives. In fact, the issue is oftentimes merely used in the political game rather than approached with the intention of coming to positive policy resolution.

Political conversations affect personal decisions a great deal, as we have each likely been conditioned one way or the other to favor a certain decision rather than thought it through ourselves. For example, fears of negative mental health effects in the future are emphasized by conservative media and politicians, though studies indicate that this is not correlatively connected to abortion. On the other hand, liberals tend to emphasize maintaining independence and ambition, even when that is not always the woman’s individual preference. In the end, once a pregnancy has been discovered, the woman may surprise herself by her own feelings and decision on the matter.

Most college students can easily obtain birth control if they wish to become sexually active. We also benefit from the relative freedom and independence required to make our own decisions so that our lives will be impacted in the way we deem best. And though the political debate rages on regarding abortion, the fact of life is that these decisions remain in our hands.

This being the case, for those in a sexual relationship who have the possibility of becoming pregnant, the fear of pregnancy has likely led to a question of what choice would be made if birth control failed. The truth is that each choice in this situation is likely distressing and ethically questionable in some way.

In thinking about this issue, it is often worthwhile to consider one’s influences. How was abortion talked about, if it was discussed at all, among family? What language was used to describe abortion and how might this have shaped understanding of the issues involved? College women have the freedom to analyze their understanding of their situation, and they can discuss it with others if they so choose.

Even with close friends and trusted partners, the issue is often considered taboo and left out of the conversational sphere. However, every sexually active woman experiences the fear of pregnancy and is forced to consider the issue, even if she does not talk about it. Approaching the issue with friends and partners and focusing on the personal concerns rather than the political debate may bring some comfort and clarity. In doing this, however, it must be remembered that the decision ultimately rests with the woman, and making a decision based solely on the perspectives of others will likely cause the greatest emotional distress.

It is important that for those of us for whom this is a concern, the issue is not censored or politicized within our own discussion and decision-making. At their core, choices about sex, birth control, pregnancy, ambition and motherhood are under personal control and involve crucial individual crossroads. As such, they must be discussed and thought about freely.