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Conscience Magazine

Choice Makes Good Sense for Women and Public Health

February 19, 2014

I enjoyed reading the “Why I Am Prochoice” essays in your last issue; as a graduate student studying public health, and reproductive health in particular, I was particularly struck by Dr. Steven Sinding’s essay. As a young person and relative newcomer to the field of reproductive health, I’m immensely grateful for the work people like Dr. Sinding did at the 1994 Cairo Conference to establish the reproductive rights of individuals and couples. The idea that women and men have a fundamental right to decide whether and/or when to have children has been a cornerstone of my reproductive health education and practice.

In all of the essays you published, I couldn’t help but notice the underlying respect for women all the essayists demonstrated. This idea that women have value and rights—whether or not they ever choose to become mothers—has been a formative one for me, both personally and professionally, and is one reason why I, too, am prochoice. In addition to respecting and upholding the rights of women around the world, being prochoice also just makes sense in terms of public health. The Guttmacher Institute reports that 47,000 women died from unsafe abortions in 2008. The other reason I’m prochoice is that allowing women to freely and safely terminate a pregnancy could save tens of thousands of lives.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Baltimore, Md.