Dr. Wendee Wechsberg President of WomenNC Board of Directors Speaks Out on Abortion Rights
ABORTION: ARE WE A CARING SOCIETY?
"When I was almost 17 and pregnant, I had to travel across several states for a legal abortion. This experience — prior to Roe v. Wade —was terrifying.
We have come a long way in supporting young women in their sexual and reproductive health choices with better care and follow-up after procedures. We have advanced in better contraceptive options and decreased unintended pregnancies. In North Carolina, teen pregnancy rates have decreased from 21.8 pregnancies per 1,000 young women to 17.3 between 2016 and 2020.
We are at a watershed moment concerning women’s sexual and reproductive rights, as we see NC politicians and others chomping at this opportunity to take away a woman’s right to choose.
Decisions about unintended pregnancies are not easy no matter what age or circumstance. It is a private matter. It is also an issue of rights and justice for women that will disproportionately impact Black and Brown women.
We have been facing over two years of a pandemic where women still care for children, elders, and others and yet who has been most affected? Even more, the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic has been unjustly placed on women of color.
The health disparities are concerning for maternal mortality and morbidity. Between 2018 and 2020 in the U.S. the maternal mortality among Black women increased by 48%. Health disparities and personal empowerment are directly impacted by equality and rights over one’s own body.
We have achieved gains in lowering high school dropout rates in North Carolina, which is associated with decreased adolescent births; will these gains in education for adolescent girls be lost?
We also know that if Roe is overturned there will be deaths and botched illegal abortions. Who will be most affected? Adolescents, women of color, women who live in poverty. We must ask ourselves, are we a caring society or a controlling one?"
- Dr. Wendee Wechsberg, Raleigh, NC
From: Charlotte Observer's NC Voices, where leaders, readers and experts from across North Carolina can speak on issues affecting our communities.
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