“Abortion” has become a term used for ammunition and polarization. People in power use it either as a threat or as a platform to stand on in order to paint their opponent in the most unelectable light possible. The word itself has become so saturated with political undertones that it has been made impossible to talk about in casual contexts; no longer can one have any sort of external, personal attachment to the word in fear that those who hear might immediately associate them with certain moral, social and political values, or lack thereof. All of the decades of coat hangers, back alleys and medical professionals putting their reputations on the line are made irrelevant; the only thing that matters to politicians these days is the word itself. Nothing more.
The circumstances of today’s political climate (which is truly more of a relentless monsoon) has reduced abortion to exist strictly within the parameters of a medical procedure, only to be mentioned in the objective-hypothetical of having said procedure, not to be discussed in the subjective by those who have had it and had to deal with the aftermath. It is such an easy thing to talk about for those who have absolutely zero concept of what it does to the human body, similarly to discussing homelessness in an ethics class as a white, upper-middle class college student; there are some things that each of us will never be able to understand.
But I do. I understand what it is like to have an abortion, and I refuse to be afraid to talk about it.
For those wondering, yes. It is incredibly painful. But not in the way of getting a tattoo, where you are executing your constitutional right of the First Amendment to subject yourself to that pain in order to express yourself which is how some politicians are trying to portray it. Just a simple exertion of free will. A choice.
No, that’s not even close to how it felt. But I won’t bore you with the gory details.
I did not feel free as I was deciding to go through with my abortion, nor did I really feel like I had any kind of choice. I felt that I was standing at the fork of the most arduous and dangerous road one can possibly take: one path will lead you down the road of poverty and reduced opportunities, the other will take you head first down a river of blood, then leave you stranded on the island of isolation, shame and never-ending contemplation. As an aspiring journalist, with dreams of one day traveling the world with my camera and recorder to fight injustice in places that do not have the proper resources to do so themselves, I braved the latter route.
Fighting tooth-and-nail for every dollar I make to finish putting myself through school, then having to take care of my child and eventually one day having to put them through school was not an option. In order to be able to adequately participate in the cut-throat, materialistic and capitalistic society that our government has set up for us, I needed to have my hands free to pick up whatever microscopic fractions of an opportunity get thrown my way. Procrastination is not kind to the dreamers and creators of our world; leave for a little while to take care of some personal business, and you’ll find someone in line, ready to take your place.
Now, there are some people who are leaving their jobs not to deal with personal business, but because leaving is part of the business itself. It was written into the principles of our country to have elected politicians hold their positions for a finite period of time in order to make way for greener ones — who are full of life and well-versed on the ever-changing issues happening beyond the asylum of their incumbents’ cubicle walls. Our founding fathers did this on purpose; it was their hope that as time went on. Each generation of politicians would find new ways of interpreting the Constitution, allowing the laws and precedents to better suit the demographic that inhabits their domain.
I’m sure that George Washington is squirming in his grave over what is at stake come Nov. 8.
To his point, there is very little that can be done when a society is fractionalized; he was never in favor of the two party system and, well, look around. He was right. We are so busy fighting with each other — dehumanizing our counterparts until they are either red or blue — that we barely have time to ponder what we actually value. We barely have time to ask questions like what the actual, deep-rooted viruses in our culture are, what can we as individuals do to remedy the situation and what representation we need in government to fight for these ideals when they are off waging war behind closed doors.
Our government is supposed to work for us, not without us. For too long we have made decisions based on ads, logos and pictures about people that most of us know very little about. It’s time to wake up. Our government is still deciding what our natural rights are as individuals; what it means to be free and how far they are willing to go to protect that freedom. How can we trust them to fix issues in a free society like the economy and immigration when they don’t even fully recognize us as complex, intelligent human beings?
The truth is that we can’t. To 100% trust someone who is representing you in a building that you are not allowed into is an asymptote that our country was founded upon. It is an ideal that we may never get to, but must try as hard as humanly possible to reach.
On Nov. 8., all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate and 39 gubernatorial positions will be vacant, if just for a moment. Upon research, it became clear that the right to an abortion, a precedent that was set by the historic 1973 Roe v. Wade case was never federal law. There was never any permanent ink that allowed menstruating individuals the right to an abortion on a national level. Those positions, the ones that are up for grabs in less than a week, are the only ones capable of defining what our rights are.
Please. Let us choose the right people into power, regardless of political affiliation. My rights as an individual could be taken away forever.