Young women must be aware of rights

Rebecca Kapchan

Most young women today have never lived in a world where our access to contraceptives and abortion were restricted. Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision in 1973, regarding a woman’s right to choose changed every woman’s future by allowing her to make decisions about her body. The decision was not just about abortion. Literally, yes, the Supreme Court case decided a woman had the right to choose, but in principle the decision made choices about one’s body a private matter of which the government had no say. In this new political climate women’s rights are hanging by a thread. Our re-elected president, Mr. George W. Bush, is staunchly opposed to abortion. His beliefs are rooted in religion, even though supposedly there is a firm separation of church and state in this country and for good reason. How can one man decide for all women what is right for their bodies based on what he believes? The last time I checked not every person in America shares the same religious beliefs and President Bush does not have a uterus.

This is not just about abortion. You may be opposed to abortion, but do you take birth control? Have you ever needed emergency contraceptives? Do you and your boyfriend use condoms while having intercourse? Abortion can be viewed as an umbrella topic to all issues concerning women’s reproductive rights. What will stop President Bush from restricting access to these things as well? By restricting access, women will be forced into back-alley abortions, also known as illegal abortions because as we all know people do things regardless of whether it is legal or not. If they take away condoms, will you be willing to pay top dollar just to have access?

I am pro-choice, but that does not mean I believe people should use abortion as birth control. Being pro-choice is not necessarily being pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is about recognizing every woman has the right to choose what is right for her body, not the government’s choice and certainly not the president’s choice. I always like to say in response to what the president may be doing to women’s rights: Keep your politics off of my body and out of my bedroom. So as the president and those in the House and Senate continue to attack women’s rights, it is time young women wake up and realize all those rights we take for granted can and may be destroyed. If you care about your body, your mother’s body, your sister’s body, and your (possible) future daughter’s body, then the time is now to stand up for those rights which are fundamentally ours.

Editor’s Note: The writer is an intern with Planned Parenthood.