Pro-choice is not pro-abortion

Story by Katrina Leonard

What does it mean to be pro-choice? Most people associate it as a binary issue. You are either anti- or pro-abortion. I spent a semester as a Planned Parenthood intern and have met many pro-choice people in my life and I have not met somebody that is “pro-abortion.”

Pro-choice individuals believe that a woman has the liberty and right to choose what to do with her body. Yet, nearly forty years since the controversial decision of Roe v. Wade, anti-choice groups are still fighting to take that choice away from women. That is, the choice whether or not a woman will keep her pregnancy to term.

If a woman discovers that she’s pregnant she has three options: have the child, give the child up for adoption or have an abortion. Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended and I am sure most women do not make up their mind about what to do about their unplanned pregnancy the moment they discover they are pregnant. It takes time and careful consideration as well as many other factors including religion, family and work.

If a woman does decide she wants to have an abortion, then she can legally have a safe abortion. If an individual feels that abortion is against their beliefs, then you are entitled to your opinion. However, other people have the right to have the freedom to make decisions about their own bodies.

There are many other reproductive rights issues besides abortion. Most of the work I did as an intern through Planned Parenthood was involved around issues of safe sex and birth control. Most of what Planned Parenthood, other pro-choice groups and individuals do is preventive. For example, over the past 75 years Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin provided health care needs for 70,000 women, men and their families annually including life saving cancer screenings, birth control, STD prevention and treatment as well as annual health exams and sexual health education.

In Wisconsin there is currently a lot of legislative proposals that could be potentially harmful to women. Some of these bills that have been proposed include: cuts to BadgerCare to eliminate health insurance coverage for tens of thousands of citizens, SB 237 which would repeal the Healthy Youth Act (the law that allows comprehensive and age appropriate sex education in schools), SB 92 which is a ban on insurance coverage of abortion, LRB 2284, a ban on well-woman funds for non-profit health care providers like Planned Parenthood, AJR 34 an assembly vote to honor crisis pregnancy centers and LRB 28591 a constitutional amendment to establish personhood outlawing aborting, IVF and birth control.

All of these proposals are frightening and detrimental to women and all Wisconsin citizens. Bill proposals such as LRB 28591 were recently proposed and voted down in Mississippi with the “personhood amendment.” Such measures are not only trying to ban abortion but ban birth control. Birth control is used as more than just a contraceptive. Women that have reproductive problems such as pain associated with menstruation, acne, endometriosis or any other number of issues use birth control for relief. If you are willing to give somebody medication to relieve another problem, then you should give them birth control to help women with their pain.

Women are no longer simply just housewives and mothers. We have the option to become whatever we want to be. We can now choose when and if we want to be mothers. Please remember that if you want to take this important choice away from women, you are deciding the fate of millions of women across America.


By Katrina Leonard


Katrina Leonard is a junior women’s studies major and freelancer for The Spectator.