By Vivian Blevins
With all the current uproar about abortion, I’d like as an educator to ask my readers to consider some issues: opinions of adult Americans on abortion, some reasons for abortion, the disparity of state legislatures on abortion, the availability of reliable birth control, and my personal interactions with college females.
The Pew Research Center is a source to which I turn when I want reliable information. The center indicates “About six- in- ten Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.” The center reports that in 1995 about 60 percent agree with that position, and in 2021, the agreement stood at 59 percent. Those who believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases stood at 35 percent in 1995 and 39 percent in 2021.
What are some of the reasons for abortion? Do you agree with any of these?
A pregnant girl/woman
· has a serious mental illness,
· is in danger of dying if she maintains her pregnancy to term,
· is carrying a fetus with serious physical or mental defects,
· is 45 years old, more or less,
· is 9 years old (Reports from reliable sources indicate American girls are beginning puberty from ages 8 to 13),
· was raped,
· does not want to be pregnant with all the ramification if pregnancy,
· does not want a child at this point in her life,
· is carrying a fetus in her uterus that physicians have declared is deceased due to trauma such as a gunshot wound or medical phenomena,
· has used a coat hanger, a knitting needle or Lysol to attempt to self-abort and has been unsuccessful with the process,
· was made pregnant by a close biological relative,
· is living at or below poverty level and already has children living on government benefits,
· is single with an absence of the male who impregnated her,
· is in a relationship with a male who objects to the pregnancy and has shown violent behavior in the past,
· is financially unable to birth and care for a child,
· would suffer social ostracism for a variety if reason,
· has an ectopic, extrauterine, or tubal pregnancy.
Abstinence is the only birth control that is totally reliable. Pharmacies sell prophylactics and spermicidal gels over the counter, both with limited reliability. Birth control pills require a prescription from a physician and self -discipline to maintain efficacy. Unless taken exactly as prescribed, they lose their level of reliability. Intrauterine devices, IUDs, can be used by some women as well as diaphragms, implants, and injections but require regular healthcare access and doctor visits. There is no need to list the rhythm method or other strategies that have been used or suggested in the past by those who are uninformed as they are not for birth control. What we want, of course, is that those not wanting to become pregnant use reliable contraceptives.
Some states seem to have legislative bodies that seem aimed at punishing women and physicians while giving monetary rewards to persons who report abortions. Others support Roe v Wade. With 50 states, perhaps you want to research the one in which you reside.
The Atlantic recently reported on self-abortions as well as political movements afoot to share information on those methods as well as on access to abortion pills, mifepristone and misoprostol. “The Abortion Backup Plan No One is Talking About” by Olga Khazan gave me information that I had not before known. If you’re interested, search the Atlantic the web site.
Finally, I’d like to relate the stories of four Ohio college students I have known:
Student # 1 was serving as a mentor and academic tutor to a 10-year-old girl, or perhaps I should call her a child, who was pregnant and intent on carrying the fetus to term.
Student # 2 made a persuasive speech opposing abortion and indicated in her conclusion that her mother was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant with her and was told by medical personnel to abort in order to have treatment. She opted not to abort and died two years after the student was born.
Student #3 had an abortion in a facility that was dirty and performed in a manner she considered callous. She knew that abortion was the right choice for her, but she resented the circumstances.
Student #4 was mature, financially stable , in a solid marriage, and pregnant but did not want a child. She debated aborting the fetus until the deadline for a legal abortion was very close and decided not to abort. She communicated with me for a year plus afterward that her decision was a good one for her and her husband.
In conclusion, few issues are simple. If the Supreme Court determines to override the decision in Roe v. Wade, it’s possible the state in which you live has already determined how it will handle the issue of abortion. How, for example, will a state with extremely rigid laws handle the girl or woman who has suffered a spontaneous abortion and arrives at a medical facility seeking help?
Know that the laws could impact you, your daughter, your granddaughter, your mother, your partner. What is your position?
Vivian B. Blevins, past CEO of colleges in Kentucky, Texas, California, and Missouri, holds a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. She currently writes a weekly column for Aim Media Midwest, teaches at Edison State Community College, and volunteers with veterans. Her email is [email protected] Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints nor the independent activities of the author.