In this polarized and polarizing world, the complexities of an identification or a political stance are lost through the need to dig in and position yourself against some other person or some other stance. As I’ve said or as you can tell, I am adamantly pro-choice. I want to take a moment to define what pro-choice means to me, because it may not complicated for me but it comes from a complex and personal space.

Pro-choice means more than just a commitment to keeping abortion safe, legal, and accessible for all women. Being pro-choice for me is a commitment to the health and well-being of women, children, families, and all people. It means I believe in people receiving comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education, in health class and throughout their lives. It means that I believe that injustices that do not seem related to abortion rights actually are, such as economic disparities and societal oppression of women. It means that as I think and re-think through my pro-choice stance, I come to the following words: faith, hope, and love.

Faith: I have faith in people, and women being people, I have faith in them. I have faith that they know their lives and their families better than any other person. I think this fact makes them best able to decide when and how many children to have. This means that I support every decision: from terminating a pregnancy to adoption to raising a baby. I have people very close to me who have faced unplanned pregnancies, and each of them has chosen their best path. And each of those decisions were made using their own goals and lives and morals as compasses. They chose to terminate. They chose to carry the baby and put it up for adoption. They chose to keep and raise the baby. Given their circumstances, I may or may not have decided they way they did. That is the point. I have faith that I cannot decide for everyone, and I have faith in women.

Hope: I have hope that the world will become empowering for women. I hope that women (and all people) will become truly equal. I hope that we have an ability to see the fullness of women’s humanity, and when we do, unplanned pregnancies will be rare. People facing one will be supported in all the ways they can be, no matter what their decision is. Again, those people in my life that have faced these decisions inform this hope. From the friend who cried on the couch to the teen mom that sighed at her lost childhood to the woman trying to survive an abusive relationship. What if those women were not treated as if they had done something wrong? What if we as a society had been there for each of them? What if they had not been taken advantage of or violated by their partners? What if we treated them as people? I hope for this evolution of our society.

Love: I love families. I am currently nannying and am experiencing many types. I love my own family. Families are (and should be) about love. Families should be allowed to be what each family wants to be: child-free, child-full, eventually childed, or any of the myriad ways they can be imagined. Being pro-choice means that how other people create their families is really none of my business. It means I believe in the Duggar’s rights to have so many children and in another’s to have none, and that neither of those families is better than the other. I love wanted, loving families.

Pro-choice is so much more than safe, legal, and accessible abortion. It is faith, hope, and love for women and for families. I will stand firm for a woman’s right to an abortion and will also stand against forced abortion. I am pro-choice. That choice is hers.

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