ColumnWomen should have access to safe and easy-to-find abortion services: period. Sadly, there are a lot of people who don’t think that should be the case. Two recent examples –the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting and an increase in self-administered abortions–happen when people try to stop women from getting abortions.
First up, the recent Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, Colo. Robert Dear, the accused Planned Parenthood shooter, attacked the Colorado Planned Parenthood. During the attack, Dear shot and killed three people and wounded nine others with a semiautomatic rifle, The New York Times reports.
After the attack, many reports have surfaced about Dear’s past. Basically, Dear was a violent man who abused women, while touting devout religious beliefs — we call that the bullshit, jerkface combo special. But all name-calling aside (sort of), Dear’s attack was completely hate-based and meant to target people who support, or who were having, abortions. While it was assumed that Dear was targeting Planned Parenthood rather than a single person when the attack first happened, the intention of his attack was confirmed when it was released that after his arrest, Dear said “no more baby parts” to investigators.
Dear’s attack is heartbreaking because (1) he took lives (2) he was misinformed — Planned Parenthood doesn’t take “baby parts” and (3) he’s not alone. There are many Americans who do think Planned Parenthood is a terrible place and that anyone who has ever stepped foot into one shouldn’t be alive, you know, except for the fertilized eggs that may or may not be in a woman’s body.
Now that we’ve discussed Dear’s attack, we want to tell you about the 100,000 women in Texas who have attempted self-induced abortions. Yes, that’s 100,000. This information was revealed by the University of Texas’ Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP). The TxPEP’s 2012 study found that “7 percent of abortion-seeking patients in Texas had attempted to end their own pregnancies before coming to the clinic, compared to less than 2 percent in the country at large in 2008,” Slate reports. “The study released [on Nov. 17, 2015] shows that between 1.7 and 4.1 percent of all Texas women aged 18 to 49 have tried to induce an abortion at home. In other words, between 100,000 and 240,000 women in Texas have attempted to terminate a pregnancy by using herbs, teas, vitamins, caffeine, alcohol, drugs, abdominal trauma, or a medical abortion pill (misoprostol) obtained on the black market or from a Mexican pharmacy.”
While all of this information is incredibly difficult to stomach, it’s even more heartbreaking that the report found that most of the women, not surprisingly, would have rather had a clinical abortion than a self-induced one. These women didn’t choose this option, though, because the procedure was “inaccessible because of finical barriers or lack of nearby facilities.”
It’s hard to end this post on a positive note, but that’s what I’m going to do because, honestly, positivity is all we’ve got. My hope is that we can educate the people who hate women who have abortions. No one deserves to die a terrible death via an attacker or because of a botched abortion just because she made a choice that concerns her body. In time, I hope all the hateful rhetoric can cease and that education will lead people to choose tolerance over violence.
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Pro-choice rally image from Shutterstock