62 people died in alcohol related traffic accidents in El Paso in 2010.  We need to ban alcohol, establishments that serve alcohol, and cars to prevent that from happening again.  Pretty stupid, huh?  Well, that’s basically the argument being made in the Texas Legislature about abortion, and there are thousands of people, including our locally elected officials, who are fighting the wrong fight.


El Paso State Rep. Mary Gonzalez is among El Paso officials who are against the controversial bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks, as well as require costly upgrades to clinics of abortion providers.   Gonzalez says the right to terminate a pregnancy after 20 weeks is a “women’s health issue”, and ignores all the women who would want to terminate a pregnancy caused by sexual abuse.  Those arguments cloud the real issue at hand.

That issue is making sure abortion becomes unnecessary.

First, let’s talk about Gonzalez’s claim that the bill would ignore the needs of women who become pregnant because of sexual abuse and rape.  According to prochoice.org, 1.3 million pregnancies are terminated nationwide each year.  They also say that of those, 13,000 are terminated because of rape or incest.

No one is downplaying the incidence of pregnancy caused by sexual abuse, nor are they downplaying the horror caused by that abuse, but saying abortions should be allowed after 5 months of pregnancy because fewer than 2% of unintended pregnancies were caused by that abuse, is the same as saying we should ban cars, bars, and alcohol because of the incidence of deaths caused by drunk driving.

Gonzalez, and all the other people against the abortion bill, should be concentrating on trying to get legislation passed to allow sex education in our schools, and on making it easier to report sexual abuse.  Deal with the behavior that ends in abortion, rather than insisting on being able to kill a life.

And, yes, it is a life.

Ever had a sonogram?  You can see a heartbeat, the development of the fetus, and even its reaction to having the sonogram wand being pushed down on the mother’s belly in order to get a clearer picture.  Babies move in order to get away from that wand.  Don’t tell me they don’t feel pain.  And don’t tell me that’s not a human being.  What is it?  A watermelon?

As women, we are at the mercy of our reproductive life.  If we aren’t careful, we could conceivably be pregnant every year of our potentially 30 child-bearing years.  Instead of telling our daughters how to end a pregnancy, we need to tell them how to prevent a pregnancy.  That is where sex education comes in.

Teaching boys and girls about condoms is not going to suddenly turn on the “hey, let’s have sex” light.  Mother Nature turns that light on when we hit puberty.  You don’t think that by telling your child that they’ll burn their hand if they touch a hot stove that that will make them want to touch the stove, do you?  No, you tell them about the dangers of touching the stove so they know to be careful.  That is what sex education does.  God said, “Be fruitful and multiply”, but we don’t want multiplying pre-teens and teenagers.  Knowledge is a good thing.  Teach them how to not get pregnant at school, and why they shouldn’t have sex at church.

We also need to stop calling abortion a “women’s health issue”.  It’s the right to terminate a pregnancy.  Unless you are in medical danger because of your pregnancy, there is no issue.  Making sure women have access to safe, affordable contraception so they don’t have 30 pregnancies is a women’s health issue.  Perhaps making concessions with the bill’s authors – give us sex education in high schools, and we’ll agree to something in their bill – would help move us more in the direction of education, and away from abortions.

Finally, women need to stop pointing accusatory fingers at each other because religion plays a role in our individual opinions on this matter.  Humans form opinions on everything based on religion, whether they are religious or not.  Stop calling people “Jesus freaks” because they have a problem with abortion – likewise, stop saying people are going to burn in hell because they are pro-choice.  The name calling detracts from the true issue here – making sure no one has to deal with an unplanned pregnancy.  No one wants to have an abortion.  Let’s make sure they don’t have to.