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It's All About "Choice" -- On Both Sides of the Abortion Issue

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Have you noticed? They're speaking our language. Who is "they" and what language are they speaking? They are people who rail against abortion. The language they are speaking is "choice."

On numerous occasions, former Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin has spoken of the decisions and choices she and her daughter made to carry their pregnancies to term.

In a Sept. 1, 2009 statement on the birth of her first grandchild, born to her then-18-year old daughter, Palin said: '"We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby."

In a speech before more than 3,000 people in Evanston, In. on April 16, 2009, she talked about finding out she was pregnant while at an out-of-state meeting and briefly thought about abortion. "There, just for a fleeting moment, I thought, I knew, nobody knows me here. Nobody would ever know. I thought, wow, it is easy," she said. "It could be easy to think maybe of trying to change the circumstances. . . No one would ever know," she added.

More recently, during a public speaking engagement, Sara Palin described her discovery that her son would be born with Down syndrome. Palin told the audience "I now understand why a woman would be tempted, perhaps, to think it might be an easier way out, to say, 'I can take this in my own hands and change this, if even for a moment.' I can understand because I've been there.'"

Pam Tebow, mother of former Florida Gator's football player Tim Tebow, talks openly about her doctor's conclusion that her pregnancy was high risk and his recommendation to terminate the pregnancy to protect her life. Medical information about her condition was made clear during consultations with her doctor, her options and risks were identified, and she made the decision -- the choice -- to continue her pregnancy.

The Palins, the Tebows and many other women and families made their decisions after receiving complete information about their choices -- their options. Shouldn't all women receive comprehensive information about their pregnancies and their options and make the decision that is right for them, as these women did?

It's all about choices

What the pro-choice community has been saying for years is what the other side seems to be saying now: Women and families need to make the decisions that are best for them.

Where the two sides differ is in determining who gets to be part of that decision-making process. Is it the pregnant woman or her anti-choice neighbor? Is it her health care provider or her elected official? This is the crux of the pro-choice movement. We believe and practice, with resounding conviction, that only a woman can make such decisions upon receiving all relevant health information from her health care provider. It is also up to her who else should be included in the decision-making process -- be it her partner, her family, her friends, her clergyperson.

The pro-choice community wants all women and families to have access to full options counseling when faced with an unintended pregnancy or when a pregnancy has gone awry. A woman will learn that she has many forms of support available to her whether she decides to continue or to end her pregnancy.

Family planning health care centers begin providing support from the moment a pregnant woman walks through the door. They work with them to get the health care, economic and social support necessary for a successful pregnancy and beyond. Or, for women who choose abortion, these health care centers provide quality, compassionate care, as well as support to help them plan future pregnancies. This includes contraception counseling and other health care that can positively impact health incomes for women.

Sarah Palin made a choice. Pam Tebow made a choice. Yet, they wish to prevent others from having the same information and choices available to them. Being pro-choice means we are glad they made the decision that was best for them and for their families. We simply want others to have those same choices, as well.

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