“Anonymous” found herself in a complicated situation. It was three months into a pregnancy when she realized she was with-child. The circumstances of her pregnancy were not ideal, to say the least, and she concluded that she didn’t want to have the child. The guy she was “talking to” for a little while, and wound up sleeping with once or twice, was barely committed enough to call to see how she was doing, let alone committed to being a father. Furthermore, already a single mom, her job, coupled with government assistance, was barely enough to help take care of her now three-year-old daughter, and therefore she felt that she was in no position to have another child. So, she had an abortion—abortion #3.
Some of you may be shaking your head right now. Typical girl in the hood, right? But while this story is hardly uncommon—this outcome is not just limited to so-called “girls in the hood.” The same thing takes place every day on college campuses as well—where casual sex is rampant, yet the thought of not switching one’s tassel on schedule will cause many girls to abort a perceived hindrance in a heartbeat. When I was in college there were always murmurs, and I witnessed firsthand many girls making trips to the campus clinic to dodge the reality that would hit home if allowed to grow past the semester.
The point is that this happens on a daily basis among women of various backgrounds and socio-economic standing. Many young women today are having multiple abortions, and, dare I say it, abusing the option. Not to condemn anyone who has had an abortion. While I don’t agree with the procedure, I can understand how an unplanned pregnancy can make a young woman feel like her back is against the wall. And I realize that you never truly know what you might do until you are in one of these situations. There are also the horrible cases involving rape or incest to take into consideration. But what is troubling is that there are many women today who continuously put themselves in a position to have an unplanned pregnancy (i.e. engaging in unprotected sex) and approach abortion as “The Other Plan B” or the “Mornings After Pill,” if you will. It seems that a culture of using abortion as a back-up plan has been adopted by many who repeat the same irresponsible choices in regards to sex. And that I find to be disturbing.
According to the Guttmacher Institute—which compiles reproductive health statistics—Black women abort their children at five times the rate of Whites and twice the rate of Hispanics. (The rate is 11 abortions per 1,000 White women, 28 for every 1,000 Hispanic women and 50 for every 1,000 Black women.) The study also says that, in general, women between the ages of 20-24 obtained 33% of abortions and 47% of women surveyed have had more than one abortion.
I believe the question of why so many Black women, young in particular, are opting for abortions (often times repeatedly) needs to be addressed. In part, popular culture plays a big role by constantly promoting casual sex and instant gratification, without focus on the very real consequences and/or results that can come along with it. Just like AIDs/HIV and STIs, pregnancy is not something with which one wants to play Russian Roulette. We all have the right to our own choices, but if you know you’re not prepared to have a child or don’t want a child, why continue putting yourself in a situation where you’re looking to abortion as a way out?
In addition, aside from the emotional distress it can cause some women, abortion procedures can be very dangerous to a woman’s body; especially when one has had more than one. For example, heavy bleeding, inflammation of the cervix (which can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease), damage to the womb or cervix, future miscarriages or infertility, among other serious health complications, are some possible risks of surgical abortion. There is also ongoing research into whether abortion increases the risk of breast cancer.
So, in a nut shell, abortion should not be taken lightly. Furthermore, I feel that being blessed with the ability to reproduce life should not be taken lightly either. Yes, things happen, but the law of cause and effect is at the root of everything. Let’s discuss the topic of abortion with our friends and other young women and educate ourselves; especially if we have been in said situation(s) or know someone who has. We have choices. However, just because there’s a “Plan B” available, it does not mean one should abuse this option. So whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, we should all be pro-active in out striving to make wise decisions and accepting responsible for our actions.