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What My Body, My Choice Really Means to America

The historic case Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973 and set the act of abortions to be federally legal. That gave the impression the discussion on abortion and female reproductive rights were protected by the government, due to citizens having the right to privacy. However, it is 2018 and we still have issues with female body autonomy.

In March, an official speaking for President Trump called America a “pro-life nation” before delegates of the United Nations. The same day, Bethany Kozma, an advisor in the office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment for U.S. Agency for International Development, displayed an abstinence-only sexual education platform she hopes to implant. At the end of the meeting, Kozma pushed to use words like “family planning” in replacement of “modern contraceptives.”

Last month, an Idaho GOP claimed that women who have abortions should face the death penalty. Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood, an organization dedicated to administer safe and legal abortions, STI/STD testing, birth control and proper sex education is under attack and faces loss of federal funds. Missouri GOP lawmakers recently attempted to block funds for the organization. Ohio and Wisconsin are suing President Trump over defunding their Planned Parenthood.

America has an issue with women. It gives us the legal rights to do how we wish with our bodies, but it still is being fought against regularly. Basically, people admit that it is my body, but it is meant to be used for other people’s enjoyment, specifically men. We hear cases of this all over, especially with the recent discussion of incels, men who hate women for not sleeping with them and acting violently against them, like the Toronto van attack. But there are other situations like the 16-year-old girl killed because she rejected a boy who asked her to prom, the woman shot dead because she didn’t give a man her number, the woman killed after saying no to a marriage proposal and the girl murdered for breaking up with her boyfriend. These are just a few cases among the many in the epidemic of breakup violence and with women simply saying no to men.

We can do better, we started as a country dominated by old, rich, white men and eventually modified it so that every person is granted rights. But we deserve more than rights, we deserve the ability to make decisions about our bodies and our lives, and not be attacked for these decisions by other people. We deserve to be given the option to have an abortion or have a baby, not narrow it down to one choice to better fulfill the format of stay at home wife and mother stereotype. America is trying to maintain some aspect of control on what women should do and must be, and even some women have agreed with these notions. Misogyny can be internalized after decades of a way of life for every person, but we are in an age where we can counter it. We can learn from each other online and in person through discussions, from organizations dedicated to alter mindsets and fuel them, and by looking into our ourselves. America is its people and the people can change.


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Mia Boccher
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