By Mesa Messenger Editorial Staff
Friday, February 10, 2017
As of late, abortion has become a far more widely-debated topic. Although it is already one of the most significant controversial subjects, recent political events have brought it back into the spotlight. Women’s rights are once again under scrutiny.
The milestone case Roe v. Wade case allowed for women everywhere to celebrate their choices being less controlled by politics. Abortion procedures are one of the safest surgical procedures a woman can receive. According to a study conducted in 2014 by UC-San Francisco, which analyzed 54,911 abortions to see how many would experience problems, the overall complication rate was 2 percent. Most of the complications during the procedure were minor. National data provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows that the risk of death from pregnancy and childbirth is 14 times higher than with abortion.
In 1971, a woman named Norma McCovey – known in court documents as Jane Roe – filed a case against Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County at the time, who enforced a Texas law that prohibits abortion except in the event of saving a woman’s life. The case was decided on January 22nd, 1973, with a 7-2 decision in favor of abortion rights remaining the law of the United States. The court determined that a woman’s right to an abortion fell under the right to privacy protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. While the ruling on a national level allows a woman the right to abortion any time during her pregnancy, certain states regulate whether a woman can terminate her pregnancy in the second and third trimesters.
Over the last two decades, the national rate of teen pregnancies has continually declined. Between 1990 and 2010, the teen pregnancy rate dropped by 51 percent. Recent national data reveals the decline is because of the increased percentage of teenagers waiting to have sexual intercourse and using contraceptives. According to the Office of Adolescent Health, around 77 percent of teen pregnancies are unplanned, meaning they are unwanted or occurred “too soon.” In 2010, 60 percent of pregnancies in teens between the age of 15-19 resulted in a live birth, 15 percent in a miscarriage, and 30 percent were aborted. However, the abortion rate among teens is the lowest since abortion was legalized in 1973.
To bring this back to a local perspective, it is important to realize that teen pregnancy is a major issue, especially in Mesa County. In May of 2015, Grand Junction local news station KKCO posted an article saying that the number of teen pregnancies in Mesa County was “five to ten percent higher than the overall state average for teens from 15-17.” Mesa County also has a fertility rate among teens that is 10 percent higher than the rest of Colorado, according to the Mesa County Health Department.
Don’t tell your kids that abstinence is the answer; that’s ridiculous. Helping teenagers and young adults learn about having protected sex and providing resources in the case they do have unprotected sex will help prevent and decrease the amount of unwanted pregnancies in teenagers. Abstinence is an irrational, unrealistic and ineffective method. It is the school’s responsibility to educate young minds, especially on how to have safe sex. Better access to birth control, improved sex education, and general empowerment of women and their rights can all contribute to preventing abortions.
Not all contraceptives are 100 percent effective, and so if a woman does become pregnant after practicing safe sex, she should still have the decision to terminate the pregnancy. If she knows she won’t take care of it, then it shouldn’t be an obligation for her to make it her priority. She shouldn’t be condemned to bringing a baby into the world when she knows she’s not ready. And a baby certainly shouldn’t come into the world being unwanted.