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I have been following the news coverage of the recent events in the abortion controversy — specifically the March for Life in D.C and Right to Life’s ballot initiative campaign here. 

I understand that this is a highly sensitive topic, especially with the current atmosphere of political polarity in our country. However, I couldn’t help but notice the harsh tone in every report on the events. Both movements were consistently labeled anti-abortion, anti-choice and anti-women, and portrayed as fueled by old, white men trying to legislate medical decisions.

As one of the volunteers who gathered signatures for Right to Life, I would like to respectfully challenge that stereotype. For one thing, I am definitely not an old white male. I am a 17-year-old female high school student. My hometown is Auburn Hills, although I have also lived in Asia. My goal after college graduation is to work in global trafficking prevention. All that to say, I am not someone who is calloused to the challenges women face, especially unplanned pregnancy. 

I am certainly not anti-women. Yet I am pro-life.

Too often, pro-lifers are seen as people on a campaign to destroy women’s rights. But that is the farthest thing from its heart.

Our disagreement is not over the question, “Should women have the right to choose?”

Pro-lifers believe strongly in women’s rights and their power of choice: to vote, to hold public office, to pursue education, etc.

Our real disagreement is over the question, “Is a fetus a human being with equal rights?”

If it is not, then abortion does not matter. But if it is, then abortion is a violation of human rights. No one, man or woman, has the right to end another life, but that is exactly what happens in abortion. 

The love of pro-lifers for women and mothers can be easily obscured in the political arena. I have volunteered at my local pregnancy center for the last year. I can tell you personally that there is so much love there for every woman who comes through the doors, even for those who have still decided to abort.

This is where the pro-life movement has made the most mistakes, and it is also where we need to rise up. We must love and fight for the unborn; we must equally love and fight for their mothers.

So as a 17-year old passionate to help women around the world, I want to tell you that the pro-life movement is not a sexist campaign. We are not fighting to limit rights. We are fighting to extend them to the most voiceless and vulnerable in our society.

Myah Gebhard, Auburn Hills

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