Commentary: Why I'm Pro-Choice

I once overheard a girl talking to her friends about her pregnancy while passing by in the halls of my high school. She said things like "don’t know who the father is this time" and "another abortion" and "my mom doesn't know." Instead of using birth control or condoms to prevent pregnancy, she had apparently decided that taking care of things after the fact with back-alley abortions was good enough. I felt sick hearing her words. And I hated her for the casual manner in which she discussed the life of an unborn baby.

Another girl I knew found herself pregnant at 16 and chose to drop out of school and attend a school for pregnant teens. Her baby is now a full-grown man, and I wish I had had the courage back then to tell her how proud of her I was (and still am) for choosing to trade high school football games and homecoming dances for motherhood and responsibility.

And I was once the unborn child of a high school senior who is here today only because my mother made the same choice.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm pro-choice. That means that I respect a woman's right to choose and a rape victim’s right to not be forced to carry her attacker's child to term. It also means that sometimes I'm not going to like why a woman or a teen chooses to get an abortion. Even in those circumstances, I don't have the right to deny another woman her own right to do what she feels is best for herself any more than I have the right, or the power, to force my daughter to not hate the homemade chicken soup I made for dinner last week (even though I know it was fantastic).  So when a friend in college asked me through tears to drive her to the clinic because she felt ending her pregnancy was her only option, I hugged her and got my keys. I've never felt guilty for that.