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I believe that abortion should be completely legal, with no restrictions, at all stages of pregnancy. I also believe that Medicaid should pay for abortions for low income women. As you may have guessed, I am not a "person of faith" - I am agnostic, although my grandparents are devout Christians & they also believe strongly in a women's right to choose and have, throughout their lives, contributed to NOW & Planned Parenthood.

I believe what I do because the ability to control when and if to have children is THE main reason that women have been able to move toward equality. Birth control is not enough, it fails sometimes and sometimes a woman's health or other circumstance may make carrying a baby to term dangerous, or honestly, inconvenient in some way. Perhaps she is in an abusive relationship and the child will somehow endanger her more, or she fears bringing the child into that life. Basically, there are MANY reasons a woman may need or decide to abort a child and NO ONE besides her and her maker should judge her.

I feel that "pro-life" people are very judgmental and not living in reality. While yes, I understand that people see aborting a fetus as murder, if we can not reconcile the beliefs of the few with the laws of the land then it must remain legal. Of course, now we have to also discuss when life begins. Shouldn't it begin when it can stay alive on it's own?

I would genuinely like to understand how or why anti-choice individuals think that their beliefs should be followed by everyone, and how their views fit under the law.

I would like the anti-choice to understand how difficult it is for a woman to choose to have an abortion, and to have some compassion. ESPECIALLY when it comes to "partial-birth abortion" - of which there is no such thing medically speaking - that those are such rare circumstances when such a procedure would be done - and it is almost always only when there is something wrong with the baby or where the pregnancy would harm the mother in some way. Who are we to make that decision - it should only be between the woman and her doctor.

In law school I was president of our school's chapter of Law Students for Reproductive Justice. We use to be Law Students for Choice, but as you mentioned, choice can be very polarizing. That is why we changed our name, because it really is so much more than choice - it's about reproductive rights, a person's (man or woman) ability to maintain their reproductive health and to control their reproduction - when, how and if they have children. The abortion issue really needs to be more inclusive - it needs to include contraception, the rights of pregnant women*, child care support for low income families, and other things I can't think of right now. :)
*if a fetus gets rights, wether from conception or at any time before birth, this will jeopardize a woman's ability to make choices for her own healthcare, in fact it already does. As National Advocates for Pregnant Women pointed out in a letter to Sarah Palin, if those rights had been in forced when she was pregnant with Trig she could have been imprisoned for not going to the hospital as soon as her water broke because she was jeopardizing the health and safety of her baby by waiting so long, including a flight back to Alaska from Texas, before going to the hospital.

And finally, abortion should not be a shameful thing - women should be able to talk about it openly. If they have had one they should be open to share their story so others understand why they had one & how they feel about it. This would help other women in times of crisis - to make the best decision for themselves. Also, even without outlawing abortion states are managing to make it unavailable. I don't think Mississippi has any providers, and there is only one in South Dakota and that doctor flies in from MN once a month. Also, medical schools don't teach the procedure anymore. It's a surgical procedure for God's sake - all ob/gyn's should learn the procedure for the health and safety of their patients - it's tantamount to malpractice.

Sorry, one last point - It is misguided that American's put so much weight into the personal beliefs of presidential (and vice presidential) candidates because the only power they hold in the decision is through veto of bill or through selection of judges and justices. Now granted that is pretty powerful but, as John Kerry said, I'm personally pro-life but my personal beliefs should not dictate my policies and politics because they may not be best for the country.