Transitioning to pro-choice values in adult life

By Karly Dunn

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(American Life League/ Flickr)

(American Life League/ Flickr)

Throughout my life, those who have attempted to take charge of the decisions I made have always angered me. Even as a child, I felt I should be the only one in charge of myself. Granted, my parents did a remarkable job raising me to be an independent and confident person, even as the youngest mom and dad picking their daughter up from school.

One day, my parents asked me how I felt about abortion. As the young girl I was, I deeply felt that a growing human should never be killed before they had a chance to live. It dawns on me now that my parents were having this same conversation just a few years prior, when my 18-year-old mother found out she was carrying me.

I remember my mother and father asking me why I thought what I thought. I simply responded that a baby didn’t choose to be made, and therefore shouldn’t die while it still had no say in the matter at all. My parents then asked me if I thought women who didn’t ask to make a baby should still carry a pregnancy.

I think that has been stuck in my head ever since.

I am eternally grateful that my mom and dad chose to “keep me,” if that’s the appropriate phrase.  I don’t think my views on pregnancy and abortion are a reflection of how I feel about their parenting; in fact, I feel as if their parenting has influenced me to work as hard as they did at the age where they were juggling much more than college classes and part-time jobs.

Just a few months ago, my dad and I were talking about this same issue. We talk about it a lot, and we’ve discussed it many times after that first conversation. One of the sticking points in our conversation was when he explained that pro-choice people are pro-life, too.

To explain this, it is the opinion of people who are pro-choice that it is not anyone’s job to govern women’s bodies. In cases of sexual assault, financial crisis and illness, a pro-choice advocate believes a woman should have the right to terminate a pregnancy she cannot nurture.  My father’s point was this: pro-choice isn’t about killing babies. Pro-choice is about letting women take care of their bodies the way they see fit.

Before even getting into the science of embryos and fetuses, I changed my entire view of abortion and women’s rights. I don’t want to be restricted from terminating a pregnancy I am not able to carry out because a group of men decided it’s my fault I got pregnant in the first place.

I think I am pro-life. I would love if the number of abortions per year decreased as time went on.  However, I am not in any place to judge anyone else’s circumstances but my own. In addition, I will not let anyone else determine what I do with my body. In a “pro-life” world where a woman becomes pregnant due to sexual assault she not only loses the power of choosing to become pregnant, she loses the freedom to control her body, her own future and the potential future of her child altogether.

It’s one thing to have someone speak on one’s behalf without permission, but I would hope we could collectively draw the line when it comes to governing the rights of one to their own body.

Karly Dunn is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]