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Eileen McCabe: We are all Pro-Choice

Who among us can say that we know another person’s challenges and conscience, and that we can judge for her?

On July 9, 2018,  President Trump selected Brett Kavanaugh as the nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. While Kavanaugh, like past candidates does not clearly state his opinion openly about Roe v. Wade, his anti-choice views are clear from other sources.  If confirmed, Roe as well as other settled law regarding birth control and abortion will be in peril.

As we reflect on the future of reproductive freedom in the United States, and see the media coverage of protests and marches across the nation, I would like to pose a few not-quite hypotheticals:

If you are a teenager and have decided to abstain from sex, despite intense peer pressure, because you have not yet decided for yourself the ethical issues about birth control

    you are Pro-Choice.

If you are 19 and pregnant, and have decided to continue the pregnancy, despite the fact that it will mean leaving college, and bringing great strife to your family

    you are Pro-Choice.

If you are 20, attending college in a dangerous area, and although not sexually active, have decided to take birth control pills, because if you became pregnant as a result of rape, you could not ethically have an abortion, and having a child would end your college and career plans

    you are Pro-Choice.

If you have ever signed a petition in support of continued legal abortion services, although you firmly believed you would never seek an abortion for yourself

    you are Pro-Choice.

If you have become pregnant, despite taking birth control pills diligently, because you were not warned about the drug reaction between your pills and your anti-biotics, and decide to proceed with the pregnancy despite the risk of birth defects

    you are Pro-Choice.

If you have taken any measures, including abstinence or the “rhythm method” to space your children

    you are Pro-Choice.

If you have taken any measures to prevent pregnancy because your husband was out of work

    you are Pro-Choice.

If you have decided to have a D&C at the advice of your physician, because the fetus was not developing normally

    you are Pro-Choice.

If you have a special needs child, and despite taking measures to prevent another pregnancy, become pregnant, and decide to end the pregnancy, because you need to save your physical and emotional resources for your living child

    you are Pro-Choice.

If you are approaching menopause and learn that you are pregnant, and decide to end the pregnancy because of the impact it would have on your struggling marriage and new life roles

    you are Pro-Choice.

If you have had a tubal ligation to absolutely prevent future pregnancies

    you are Pro-Choice.

If you believe that there are any cases, such as rape or incest, or saving the life of the woman, where abortion should be legal,

    you are Pro-Choice.

If you believe that abortion is a sin, but that it is not your place to tell another person what to do,

    you are Pro-Choice.

Each one of these hypothetical situations represents an actual decision in the real life of one woman, who believed she could never have an abortion, but also knew she could not impose her beliefs on anyone else. Yet, as she faced different life challenges, her personal choices changed as well.

Choice is not exclusively about abortion.  Choice is about being faced with a decision, often an agonizing decision, weighing options and coming to a conclusion.  Every choice is personal. Who among us can say that we know another person’s challenges and conscience, and that we can judge for her?

Choice must be preserved.  Roe v. Wade must be upheld.  Our youth must be educated about sexuality, in medically sound ways that acknowledge the realities of the human experience, including temptation.  They should be given clear information about disease and pregnancy, about choices for prevention and treatment, and community resources for information and services.  They should be given information about their choices and the consequences for those choices. Parents should acknowledge the sexual awareness of their adolescent children, and clearly communicate their religious and social values about sexuality to their children in age appropriate ways. Birth control should be freely available.  Abortion should be legal, and its choice left private, between a woman and her doctor.

We cannot walk in another’s shoes, and we must not cast stones.


Eileen McCabe is a progressive activist and an advocate for Planned Parenthood.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.


Roe v. Wade established the legality of abortion in 1973.. (Photo: AP/Rich Pedroncelli)

One comment on “Eileen McCabe: We are all Pro-Choice

  1. Tricia Knoll
    July 26, 2018

    Good work.

    Liked by 1 person

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