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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    The abortion debate: What both sides don’t discuss

    In recent months, Planned Parenthood has faced strong opposition by pro-life groups at the openings of its newest sexual health care clinics. Because of the number of pro-life protesters showing up to these new clinics, Planned Parenthood decided to get creative.

    Now Adopt-a-Protester, a fundraiser, counts pro-life protesters and gets pro-choice supporters to donate an amount per protester. Planned Parenthood, the organization most demonized by conservative, supposedly pro-family groups, is now working to highlight the other services they offer, such as cervical cancer screenings, birth control and testing for STIs. The news coverage about clinic protests frustrated me intensely, and not just because this liberal lady considers herself pro-choice. The polarizing, partisan discourse surrounding abortion offers few solutions and leaves a lot out of the debate.

    We’ve all heard the basic positions for and against abortion. The pro side says it’s a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body, and the con side says it’s morally wrong to kill innocent babies. My problem with both sides is the way the argument is framed – there’s very little actual information employed, and much that is completely left out.

    For instance, the

    Both sides tend to omit men, as a whole, despite their involvement. Leaving men out the abortion debate sucks because men are obviously part of the issue – they’re creating the baby batter in every single pregnancy, unplanned or otherwise.

    Alan Guttmacher Institute found that 50 percent of pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and half of those pregnancies are terminated. When unplanned pregnancy is so common, there are obviously a few men in the equation. Pro-life organizations have attempted to say that men should have a right to decide the fate of a fetus, but only when the daddy-to-be wants to have a child and mama does not. The opposing end argues because reproduction occurs in a woman’s body and she is responsible for the burden of pregnancy, it is her right alone to decide to have a child or not. Both sides tend to omit men, as a whole, despite their involvement.

    Leaving men out the abortion debate sucks because men are obviously part of the issue – they’re creating the baby batter in every single pregnancy, unplanned or otherwise. When their role in creating unplanned pregnancies isn’t discussed, two side effects occur. The first is men get kind of a get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to family planning and being involved in the abortion debate, and the second is that the debate continues to focus on women being selfish and irresponsible. Because it takes to two to tango, both parties should show up to take some of the heat.

    Furthermore, the debate about abortion is a reactionary one – it’s responding to what is considered a negative social phenomenon, unwanted pregnancies and abortion. The reaction from the pro-life side supports abstinence-only sex ed programs (which have been demonstrated to be completely ineffective, and even increase risky sexual behavior.) Many pro-choice organizations are working for subsidized birth control and comprehensive sex education. While comprehensive education and access to condoms and birth control help couples make informed, safe decisions about their sex lives, these structural reforms can only go so far without real discussion and realizing that change starts with the individual.

    I guess the reason that the abortion debate frustrates me so much is that it’s discussed abstractly, even though every sexual decision that every single person makes contributes to it, and the huge percentage of unintended pregnancy proves this is no small issue. Negotiating the space between serious relationships, dating, hooking up and one-night stands is difficult when doling out responsibility, but leaving guys out of the discussion isn’t helping anyone. In order to combat a concrete issue, we have to start discussing abortion outside of party lines and inviting men into the conversation.

    Allison Dumka is a senior majoring in political science and women’s studies. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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