Our view: pro-facts

Pro-choice. Pro-life.

What about pro-women?

Abortion is, undeniably, a weighted issue. We’re not here to say whether it’s right or wrong. It’s difficult enough for individuals to make that decision, let alone for a board of five individuals to come together and make a statement on behalf of a newspaper of hundreds. Even the most adamant of anti-abortionists often have difficulty with the absolutes when it comes to issues of rape and incest, and many pro-choicers would have a hard time terminating their own pregnancy.

But the bottom line is, it doesn’t matter where you personally fall on the issue; abortion is legal in the United States. It’s a medical procedure protected by the law.

Remember when you learned about the different risks and benefits during health class in high school? The long-term findings, both pro and con, on women’s physical, mental and emotional health?

Neither do we.

In America, the abortion debate has become one based purely on personal morals. One side tries to disprove the other, using emotional appeals and one-sided logic to sway the undecided to their cause. No one talks about the procedure itself. What paperwork is required to get one. Whether it hurts. Exactly how many women report regret or, conversely, relief. If it affects a woman’s fertility or her chance of getting breast cancer in the future.

The government seemingly stays out of it, letting both sides of extremes propagate their beliefs and agendas. And the people let them do so, as if we’ve forgotten that our government representatives have a responsibility to support the legislation they pass.

We expect the government to label cigarettes, to regulate air travel safety and to enforce traffic laws. We value our independence, but rely on them to protect us and to tell us the truth, so we can make informed decisions on our own. We expect doctors to give us the best possible medical treatment, regardless of their political, religious or moral beliefs.

So why do we let abortion – sex in general, really – be treated as an unspoken, shameful act? It’s amazing that there is so little information readily available to the public about this procedure that is protected by law. Students rarely learn about it in school, in health or history class. There are no notes on its passage, on its place in the feminist movement or on its opponents. It’s the silent law.

No one wants to offend. No one wants to talk about how claims of infertility are unfounded; they don’t want to come off as a radical feminist. No one wants to discuss the stages of development of a fetus; they don’t want to be viewed as a right-wing pro-lifer.

So instead, we stay silent.

We don’t talk about contraception in the days of abstinence-only government sex education; we don’t talk about much of anything. We don’t learn how to prevent unwanted pregnancy, because, no matter how much policy-makers want to believe that students who don’t learn about sex won’t have sex, it’s just not true. Rates of pre-marital sex, no matter the generation, have been fairly constant.

Sex education should be important to everyone. Pro-choice advocates don’t want abortion to be the first line of defense; they want it to be the last. And the more pregnancies that can be prevented, the fewer abortions that will be sought, which should please those on the pro-life side.

It’s not about right or wrong – it’s about education. It’s about protection.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.