Anti-abortion has no place on campus

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When my little brother was 17, he learned how to skateboard for the first time. 

He got his first job and he saved up for his first car. 

He fell in love with mechanics, and he found the technical school of his dreams. 

These, however, weren’t all of the firsts that happened in his last year of childhood. 

When my little brother was 17, he also found out he was becoming a father. 

While abortion in my home state is legal up to 21 weeks, a minor cannot receive any form of abortion without parental permission. In a sense, if you are a child, you can be forced to have a child. 

16. That was the age my brother’s ex-girlfriend was when she discovered she was pregnant. The choice of whether or not she wanted to birth and raise a child, however, was gone long before this discovery. 

Panicked at the sudden awareness that everything they had ever known was about to change for the worse, they sought desperate means to save the futures that were so quickly slipping away from them. 

They spent months trying to find ways to leave the state, undetected, and go somewhere it was legal for her to terminate the pregnancy. Something as trivial as a state border would dictate the rest of their lives.  When this proved to be impossible, they sought out help from the internet and classmates, desperate to attain any pill or concoction that would work. Their grades suffered, their friendships fell apart, and their wellbeing deteriorated as the sand at the top of the hourglass thinned. For each failed idea, the clock ticked forward a bit more. Eventually, the 22-week mark crept up, dragging with it the fact that there was no longer a way out of this. 

Both attempted suicide in the days that followed. 

You can imagine how it felt to see a new pro-life student organization at the campus fair, only weeks after nearly losing my younger brother. The same movement that is responsible for taking away the healthcare that my brother and his ex-partner so desperately needed, was being proudly represented in the campus center. 

Abortion is necessary healthcare for a medical issue that nearly half of the population has the potential of facing in their lifetime. Side effects of leaving unwanted pregnancies untreated include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, malnutrition, hypertension, anemia, and suicide, in both the carrier and secondary parent, to name just a few. There is nothing pro-life about allowing an untreated medical issue to worsen to the point of killing someone. 

Like all medical issues, there are preventative measures that can be taken to stop unintended pregnancies; however, medical care is necessary for those that slip through the cracks. Proper diet and exercise can only do so much to prevent heart disease. Nevertheless, adequate medical care is a deserved right for both those sufferers who dieted and exercised properly, and those who did not. The same goes for unintended pregnancies. Sufficient sex education, access to multiple forms of birth control and abstinence only do so much to prevent unintended pregnancies. Regardless of how one attained this medical problem and regardless of what they did to prevent it, they still deserve the treatment that keeps them alive. 

Undesired pregnancies will always happen, and people will always need the right to stop them to avoid their devastating side effects. 

Irrelevant is the argument that the unborn fetus matters. A fetus with no awareness will never be worth more than living beings with memories, dreams, hopes, loves, fears and aspirations. Removing a fetus is not a desirable procedure; nevertheless, it is necessary to save the lives of actual human beings. 

Besides the point is adoption. The permanent physical and psychological distress that results in the near year-long experience of pregnancy is still there. Added are the overwhelming feelings that come with such a decision and linger long after those nine months are gone. How should a 16-year-old go about life without any sort of suffering after going through such an ordeal? Adoption is not a comprehensive solution to an unwanted pregnancy. It is not the solution for everyone, and pretending that it is does no good. Adoption does not save lives if it’s not the right treatment for the carrier of the unwanted pregnancy. 

Unwanted pregnancies aren’t surprise blessings in disguise. They aren’t miracle interventions to the parents involved. They’re ugly and damaging. They ruin two lives and then drag a third one into the wreckage. 

My little brother is not fit to be an adequate father because a child is never fit to simultaneously be a parent. As I watch his videogame discs be replaced by diapers and his skateboard collection by a crib, I am reminded of this. Yet, he will be responsible for another human being for the rest of his life, co-parenting with someone who is in no better place than him. 

While, like anything, something positive may arise from the negative, it won’t be without shattered dreams, dark mental health struggles and sacrifices made by many. None of which, needed to happen had healthcare been accessible. 

For Lawrence University to have approved a group with such harmful and damaging beliefs to represent a piece of our school at the fair was not appropriate. Abortion is healthcare. It is suicide prevention. It allows people to attend college. It prevents children from growing up in broken homes. It is vital, and it is life-saving. 

Any organization that seeks to rob an essential treatment from the people who need it has no place on campus.