There is perhaps no other issue that is as emotional as the debate over the “right to life” and the “right to choose”. While rarely stated, I believe that this is a human rights issue, not simply a women’s rights issue. A man is involved at conception, planned or unplanned. Sadly, many of those men choose to not be a part of the woman’s pregnancy or raising the child leading to a “stigma of unwed motherhood”. And that is one of the reasons cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v Wade in support of their decision, relying on a right to privacy under the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Other arguments included “maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon a woman a distressful life and future” and “mental and physical health may be taxed by child care”. With 40% of births being out of wedlock these days, the “stigma of unwed motherhood” has largely dissipated. And no one will deny that raising children is distressful and taxing. But that hardly seems to be a reason to terminate the lives of over 1 million babies each year. If a woman decides that she is not prepared or simply does not want to raise a child there is another “choice” – adoption. With 12% of women experiencing some level of impaired fertility, there are plenty of families in Colorado wanting a baby to love and raise.
This is personal to me, as it is for many of you. I have 3 wonderful children, of whom I am extremely proud. Each of them has been distressful and taxing in their own ways. None of them are biologically my children. Had their mothers chosen to terminate their lives, I would not have been able to enjoy the pleasures and the frustrations of these 3 wonderful people. Rather than debating a “right to life” vs a “right to choose”, I want to ensure every child is allowed to enjoy their rights as actually guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, whether that is with that child’s birth parents or with parents who choose to love that child as their own.
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