RMC Responds: Choice is About More Than Abortion

“Choice” seems like a simple, important concept; having choices and options is a cornerstone of our nation.  Yet when in the context of reproductive health, the mere word choice becomes a charged and often misunderstood stalemate. One Facebook commenter recently claimed that we are “opposed to choice” and believe abortion is the “only” choice.

Four decades after the landmark Roe v. Wade decision giving women and families the ability to access abortion pre-viability if they deemed it necessary “choice” is as polarizing as ever.  The labels pro-choice and pro-life are political terms that do not reflect the multilayered views surrounding reproductive choices. Today, then, we would like to take the opportunity to discuss what pro-choice means to us, and why it is so important to protect.

Choice is about so much more than abortion. Reproductive health is made up of many choices including, education, abstinence, prevention, adoption, motherhood and abortion.  Women having the access and ability to make the best choices for themselves and their families is what our pro-choice ideology is truly about.  When some big-government lawmakers push for a one size fits all mandate they miss the very real fact that every family is different, every situation is different, every pregnancy is different and what makes our nation so strong is that we do not allow government to block families from pursuing their best interests.  Teens who delay having sex, parents who support educating their kids about sex, responsible couples who practice safe contraception, mothers who choose adoption, like families who may ultimately access abortion are all striving for the right choice for them.

Reproductive health choices are also a vital economic issue.  From the cost and availability of birth control, to the often expensive adoption process and the decision to have children, how many and when are some of the most significant economic decisions an individual or couple will make.  Recent studies show that for every dollar we invest in family planning, we save almost six dollars on long-term costs as we allow couples to determine when they are emotionally and physically ready to begin their families.  These choices should not face overregulation, instead our government should stick to the GOP mantra of doing only that which individuals cannot do for themselves.  We can certainly provide information and assistance when needed but complete control and restriction of choices is a dangerous over-reach.

Pro-choice is pro-access and being respectful of those who disagree with abortion but remain open to solutions based policy that helps families and lessens the need for abortion.  If we want to reduce the incidence of abortion, however, we need the choice of birth control to be more available to everyone.  These means also acknowledging that birth control is a significant expense for women, and that the most effective methods of birth control come with the highest costs. Restricting access and taking away choices only harms individuals and the community.

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