Framing the abortion debate

The debate over women’s rights fails to regard real needs.

Daily Editorial Board

In the recent light of certain male politicians in the news for their controversial rape and abortion statements, it’s time to have a serious discussion about these issues in a very public fashion.

As unglamorous a topic as it may be, abortion is a real issue that college-aged women commonly deal with. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 11,071 abortions were performed in Minnesota in 2011, and 42 percent of them were carried out on women ages 18-24.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, an organization aimed at the advancing of reproductive and sexual health and research affiliated with Planned Parenthood, women in their 20s account for more than half of all abortions. More shockingly, 6.7 million pregnancies occur in America every year and 49 percent of them are unintended.

Whatever causes there may be for the high number of unintended pregnancies, politicians on both sides of the aisle should be looking for ways to realistically lower the statistic — whether it be through advocating contraceptive use or not — instead of making up fairytales about magic uteri that can ward off unwanted sperm and prevent pregnancy.

The Guttmacher Institute has suggested that targeting at-risk women — who are statistically younger, single, low-income minorities — for enhanced contraceptive education and use could be major factors in lowering the number of unintended pregnancies across the nation.

Women need to join the conversation, too. Rape and abortion are not light subjects, and they shouldn’t be taken lightly either. Making claims about what constitutes “legitimate rape” is highly insensitive and disrespectful; so too is the suggestion that carrying out a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest would be more righteous than an abortion alternative. These statements have displayed Rep. Todd Akin’s, R-Missouri, and others’ chauvinism in a political culture too often condoned as a man’s world.