No matter what side of the abortion debate you fall on, we can all agree that everyone deserves access to life-saving healthcare. Abortion, in many different ways, is just that. My abortion, at 15 years old, saved my life and my future. In high school, I battled both suicidality and depression. When I found out I was pregnant, I was devastated. It felt like my whole life was falling apart and I did not know how to move forward. I knew that I needed to get an abortion and thankfully, that was an option for me. If forced to go through that pregnancy, I would have tried to kill myself. My abortion was elective and it saved my life, my future, and my mental well-being. My story is one of many and each abortion has a different reason behind it.
Regardless of the reason, abortions are a form of life-saving healthcare as life-saving means something different to each person. Access to this life-saving care, however, is under attack all over the country. 44 states have some sort of ban on abortion with 12 states having a complete ban and 32 states having some sort of ban in place based on how far along a pregnancy is. These bans are going to have a major impact as millions of unplanned pregnancies happen each year with 4 out of 10 unplanned pregnancies usually ending in abortion. Even those who have planned pregnancies need an abortion. It is predicted that one in four women will have an abortion at some point in their lifetime by the age of 45 years old. Many of these people do not have access anymore and the choice of continuing a pregnancy or not is out of their hands.
There are many reasons people may need an abortion and all of those reasons are personal and valid. People deserve the right to choose what happens with their bodies whether that means continuing a pregnancy or having an abortion. Many state governments are trying to strip people of that control and ban them from accessing that life-saving care. Several organizations have teamed up in a movement against these bans called #BanOffOurBodies. Support them by signing their petition or donating to preserve this life-saving form of care.
Kimberly Hernandez is a fourth-year medical student at the CUNY School of Medicine. She hopes to be an OB/GYN physician and applied for OB/GYN residency, which will begin in July. She is currently a national volunteer lead for Planned Parenthood and helps coordinate various events regarding reproductive health justice and choice. She is passionate about health equity, health disparities, reproductive choice, and access to higher education. She believes the Young Advocates Program will give her the tools to influence public policy and inspire political change, especially as a future physician.