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Columbia Missourian

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Conversation about women's health needs to reflect complexity

By Ben Edes
January 22, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST

Recently there seems to be a significant amount of media surrounding the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The anniversary has increased the dialogue surrounding this issue; however, the dialogue that often results is hostile and polarized.

I believe this often stems from the absolute terms used when discussing a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion. The labels “pro-choice” and “pro-life” do not capture the complex thoughts that most Americans have on this topic. Unfortunately, these loaded labels also polarize legislators as well as the general public, resulting in proposed bills that continue to create barriers for women to obtain abortions.

The divisive rhetoric surrounding abortion seems to also encourage politicians to weigh in on the subject, invading a woman’s right to make private medical decisions without the interference of her elected official. It is my hope that state politicians discontinue their relentless attacks on women’s health.

We get so wrapped up in the debate surrounding abortion that we often overlook interventions that have been proven to work to reduce unintended pregnancies.

“Pro-life” camps are so set on demonizing family planning services that they often refuse to have a conversation about preventive services such as comprehensive sex education programs or free contraceptives.

It is time for the public dialogue to evolve and reflect the complexity of the issue and time for politicians to remove themselves from the conversation.

Ben Edes is a Columbia resident.