I worked as an acupuncturist for something like twenty years before I started moving around too much to keep my license in place. Healthcare is important. I try to keep politics off this site but to me healthcare shouldn’t be political. And abortion is women’s healthcare.

I’m not going to debate when life begins or when abortion should be legal. I’m not going to share whataboutisms for women who may need abortions. Everyone has made up their mind about that already.

I am going to reference a study from the Guttamacher Institute that says that abortion rates don’t go down when abortion is illegal. It just becomes more difficult to obtain safe abortions. In countries where abortion is legal, 9 out of 10 abortions happen safely. In countries where abortion is illegal only 1 in four happen safely.

As a healthcare provider, I’d rather women didn’t have any procedure if possible, so maybe we look at what stops unintended pregnancy. Robust sex education, easily accessible contraceptives (this often means at no cost), and universal healthcare. These things make sure that all people of reproductive age have the best understanding they can about their bodies and where to go should they decide to become sexually active. For those who do not want their kids becoming sexually active before marriage, that’s a moral issue to be discussed in the home.

For people who may become pregnant but agonize over whether or not to have the baby, the things they are mostly likely to need are paid parental leave (at last one year), and affordable day-care (preferably on site a their company).

For students who become pregnant and are on scholarship, I would argue that free or at least low cost college would keep them from not having to chose between their career dreams and the having a family sooner than expected. At the very least, allowing scholarships and grants to be put on hold until the student comes back would be helpful.

Finally, for those in the most poverty, knowing that they would be able to provide the baby with housing, clothing (including diapers), and food (including formula if needed) could go a long way. These would all be in the form of easily accessible social programs.

As an acupuncturist we had to look not only at the person’s illness and complaints but had to look deeper at what caused them. Maybe if we started looking at why there were unintended pregnancies and why people might decide to terminate, we actually could lower the rates of abortions without removing a woman’s right to bodily autonomy.

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