Abortions need to be safe and legal

It’s been a long and harrowing political road, but the Republican candidates have finally dwindled to a manageable number. While I’m glad the clown car has come to an end, we must acknowledge the irresponsibility of the candidates.

Last year they promised the world they would run for president, and yet they’ve dropped out and abandoned their campaigns midway. Didn’t they know potential presidency begins at the campaign announcement? If they were unsure they could handle to trials and responsibilities of presidency, they should have thought of it before running.

Now they have cruelly abandoned – or one might say aborted – their campaigns midway. They should be pulled back into these campaigns and be forced to carry them until full term. So these anti-abortion preaching Republicans have hypocritically terminated their run for presidency. But let’s imagine another story of someone who couldn’t carry to term.

Envision yourself lying on a hospital table in immense physical and emotional pain. You’ve just had a miscarriage very late into your pregnancy. You and your new husband are trying to cope with the unimaginable loss of your child-to-be, but instead of being given medical and psychiatric care, you’re forced to lay still in the bed, covered in blood, with a stillborn fetus between your legs.

A policeman is staring at you, and you have to wait there for over an hour before the board of health can come and verify you have not had an illegal abortion.

This is the story of Fran Avallone. You won’t find her name in any history books, but she was one of the many women victimized by anti-abortion laws in the 1960s. She never attempted to abort her fetus. She wanted to have her baby, but she was forced instead to lie in a cold hospital bed and be treated like a criminal because of conservative politics.

Whether you’re pro-choice or pro-life, we should all be able to agree that this cannot happen again. This must have been a horrifying moment in young Avallone’s life, and we cannot have women like her suffering in that way again.

Avallone used this experience to fight for the reproductive rights of women for the rest of her life. She founded Right to Choose, the largest pro-choice organization in New Jersey, and fought for legal abortions, sexual education for teens and abortions funded through state Medicaid for lower-income women. The remaining Republican candidates all want to ban abortions and undo the hard work that activists like Avallone have done to get us here. That is not an option. Abortions need to be legal and safe for women, and whether you agree with her particular activism or not, Avallone fought a just fight against a system that allowed her to lay in a hospital for over an hour covered in the blood of a baby she wanted to have.

There are many issues at stake during this election cycle, and none should be overlooked. Importantly, though, we have to make sure that whatever path this country takes in the next four years it is a path forward. We have struggled and fought hard to get where we are and now isn’t the time to the time to step back into the past.


for more on Fran Avallone’s life:

A Is For Ancestor from David Avallone on Vimeo.