Pro Life Vs Pro Choice- Two Perspectives on Abortion with Hannah Thorp and Susanna Ball
Roe Vs. Wade is a bill that was initiated on January 22nd, 1973 allowing women the constitutional right to an abortion. As of May 3rd, 2022 a United States Supreme Court vote was leaked leading to mass-hysteria nationwide on all sides of the decades long debate. I interviewed Hannah Thorp and Susanna Ball, two girls who hold opposite perspectives on this matter (through an unbiased perspective) to help others understand the many sides and opinions to this topic. For the purpose of remaining unbiased through these interviews, I asked the same questions to both girls in separate interviews and held off personal commentary. Both girls have confirmed their responses and wording after final review. Additionally, I chose the terminology "pro-choice" and "pro-life" to describe how both girls choose to identify in this matter. TRIGGER WARNING that there IS mention of the word rape in some questions answered. "*" Refers to information being cited below.
Meet Susanna Ball: Pro Choice Advocate
Susanna is a student at Cal Poly Pomona studying Public Relations. Susanna has been passionate about social justice for years stemming from herself being a triple marginalized individual of color who is queer, black, and a woman. Susanna was adopted at a young age and this event in her life has helped her develop her perspective and credits the ACLU, Planed Parenthood, science, and learning about individual women's perspectives as well.
Meet Hannah Thorp: Pro Life Advocate
Hannah is a student at Azusa Pacific University studying nursing. Hannah has been passionate about the fight for life since she entered high school. Hannah credits the Live Action organization for opportunities to learn about abortion procedures and resources for Pregnancy Centers, as well as her Faith, and science for providing her roots in the Pro Life movement.
How do you feel about the current situation?
SUSANNA- Pro Choice:
I think angry doesn’t begin to cover it. This piece of legislation being overturned allows for states to have a say as compared to a federal level and allows states to participate in voting for the individual people. When Roe Vs Wade gets overturned, unfortunately this will set a precedent for states to set the tone for sex in general. It is dangerous for women. Luckily, California and many other states will always guarantee women to have this right. However, this, (Roe Vs Wade being overturned), is a slippery slope because who's to say something like Loving v Virginia, (1967)* can get overturned as well. Why are we letting a few people decide for the sake of millions? The majority of women are deciding to vote pro-choice* and I believe we should side with these women. The medical field is going to go through change. There is so much going on in the world, why is this the matter at hand? There is so much death on grown humans that already lack medical help. If you don’t want an abortion don’t get one.
HANNAH- Pro Life
Overturning Roe V Wade and abortion itself is controversial, even as a pro life person I do see that. It’s important to understand why a woman would get an abortion and to address those reasons. However, I do believe that overturning Roe V Wade is going to save lives because it will heavily reduce the amount of women who get an abortion. When we legalize something in society it makes it okay across the nation, even if someone is personally against getting an abortion themselves, so for the Supreme Court to decide abortion is illegal, woman will begin to question if abortion is really okay and keep them from getting one. Additionally, illegalizing it will help in situations where a woman is being pressured into getting an abortion by an abusive spouse/ partner. It makes it harder for men to make this decision for them. One main concern is if it’s overturned, more women will be carrying children to term that they might not be ready for or want, so it’s important to understand why a woman would want an abortion and continue to support pregnant woman and foster/ adoption agencies. The reason this isn’t a drawback in overturning roe v wade is because there will be more time and effort from anti-abortion/ pro life groups dedicated towards supporting women now that they’re not focusing on illegalizing it at the federal level too. When overturned, most likely 27 states will have illegalized abortion so there will be a large shift in focus from illegalizing abortion to supporting the women who would have gotten one, their needs, and addressing the reasoning for not wanting their child. In states where abortion will still be legal, there will most likely still be a focus on illegalizing it there in addition to different groups providing resources. I’ve noticed a lot of peoples reasoning for being in favor of abortion and not wanting to overturn Roe v Wade are around a woman’s reason for wanting one but not on what an abortion is and does to a woman, her body, and to the fetus/baby.
What side of the debate are you on and why?
SUSANNA- Pro Choice
I very proudly identify on the pro choice side but I also think its important to point out, prochoice doesn’t mean pro abortion. The media has often spun it to seem that way. I'm pro choice but I personally don’t think I would get one, the beautiful thing about this is it's my right to choose not to have one. Regardless of myself, I'm allowing others to have a choice as well. It will never affect me what others do with their bodies, there are so many reasons one would choose to have an abortion. Privilege affects this topic more than many understand. One thing I have never understood is those who say they are pro life but also advocate for less gun control, not wearing a mask, or getting vaccinated. How could you be pro life but advocate for other things that take many lives away such as gun violence or sickness like COVID. How do guns have more rights than someone with a uterus? Some of the states with the highest abortion rates have punishable affects. Safe abortions are the most important at this moment and if abortion becomes illegal, this puts more stress on the medical field due to uncountable deaths resulting from unsafe abortions. How can you not support the 400,000 children in foster care or the women losing their lives to unsafe procedures. If we can't even make a choice about our body, what does this say about the future of women's rights. We don’t even have a chance. This is a physical and a mental fight against women. Regardless of my body, it's my choice.
HANNAH- Pro Life
I am in favor of overturning Roe V Wade and am on the pro life side of this topic. I know there are many ways to profile my side, often seen as pro-life/ anti-abortion. I do choose to identify as pro life because I advocate for life in addition to the lives lost to abortion, such as for lives in the foster system and being against the death penalty. For abortion specifically, the basis for my view is my background in and knowledge of the science in this area. I am a third year nursing student and have been intrigued by biology for many years. I am a firm believer that life begins at conception because when a sperm fertilizes an egg, it makes a set of DNA that is completely unique to that individual and that will never be seen again. In high school my AP Bio teacher had us calculate the chances of your biological dads sperm fertilizing your biological moms egg - men make about 150,000 sperm every 5 minutes and women have over 200 or so different eggs released during their lifetime. The chances of your biological dads sperm fertilizing your biological moms egg to make you are 1 in a trillion and will never occur again, making a set of DNA completely unique to each zygote (“clump of cells”). Another reason I identify as pro life is because pro life is pro-women! I believe that if you're advocating for a woman to have an abortion, you’re telling her that she is not strong enough to be a mother or carry her child to term, to do the things she desires or be successful and birth a child at the same time, and that she can’t deal with what she is going through. The message the abortion industry is sending is not one of female empowerment. There's a lot of unity in focusing on supporting pregnant women through love, support, and encouragement, instead of focusing on encouraging abortions.
Do you think that religion plays a role and is it fair
SUSANNA- Pro Choice
I think religion does play a role for many individual's opinions and it is not fair. Most of the anti-abortion legislation comes from the Bible Belt and those who base their beliefs on THEIR religion. This is not fair and it is ridiculous, the United States doesn’t have a national religion just as it doesn’t have a national language; so how could we project one religious value onto those who do not follow those same set of religious values? I haven't heard any arguments from other religions besides the Christian faith and I know many religions support women's right to choose. People are not going to stop believing what they believe, and I understand that. It's not religions' fault, it's the way people abuse religion through pressuring others to follow their beliefs.
HANNAH- Pro Life
Yes, I recognize that religion does play a role in influencing legislation and opinions, as it should. I do believe there are verses in the Bible that show life begins at conception and even says how beautifully made you are in the womb. Although I am a Christian who believes in what the Bible has to say and these verses, this isn’t my main reasoning in being pro life. I always go to the science first because I know there’s a lot of non-Christian’s out there who don’t have the same beliefs as me and I can’t hold them to my same spiritual or religious standards. It's difficult to have a conversation about abortion with someone who is not a Christian if you're using Biblical theology, which is why I refer to science as my main reasoning. I do believe science and Christianity have interconnectivity.
What portion of this topic are you the most passionate about?
SUSANNA- Pro Choice
As a three times marginalized person, I am mad about how the media has portrayed the pro choice crowd. These laws are going to affect women of color, and marginalized women... These laws will not affect upper class white individuals. The reversal of Roe Vs Wade will ban abortions for people who barely have access to them as it is. This topic affects people of color so much more than others, the resources given to support minorities are not adequate. Many national statistics* show people who already don’t have access to birth control are going to have to continue to push the boundary further through more abortions being needed and less access to abortions (leading to many deaths from illegal/ botched abortions). Doctors can’t even come to an agreement on this~ which just furthers my presumption that when pro-lifers talk about how life begins at conception, they don’t know what they’re talking about. If trained, board-certified doctors, surgeons, and researchers don’t have that answer, what makes you, a less qualified individual than a board certified OBGYN, think you know better?
HANNAH- Pro Life
It’s sad thinking about how many children we lose in this process. Live Action* posts videos on what the procedure is, but a lot of people who are prochoice have never seen these and don’t know what an abortion is. Feelings of shame from sexual assault/ rape are really challenging to go through as well but an abortion isn't going to make them better. Women who have survived rape have gone on to birth the child that resulted from that crime (referenced below). Abortion isn’t the resource women need to heal from this. I'm also passionate about reasons why a woman would choose to have an abortion. It's important to address all the reasons one would consider to understand and support women better. Racism comes into play here as minority and marginalized women have less resources and are more likely to get an abortion. I think people do not realize how racism plays a role in targeting underprivileged communities through the abortion industry. The leading cause of death in the African American community is abortion* and that’s tough to come to terms with.
Would you be open to hearing other perspectives?
SUSANNA- Pro Choice
I'm inclined to say yes however I have yet to hear a solid argument that does not have to do with one's religious beliefs. People on the other side like to have to say "what would you do if you were aborted". I was adopted so the odds of me being aborted were significantly higher than one who was not given up for adoption. My mother chose life and gave me up for adoption, however if she chose differently, I wouldn’t care because I wouldn’t be here to know any difference. I respect my birth mom’s choice but I also respect those who do not wish to choose adoption, because it is her choice to make. You are your own person, and I don't believe you can represent every other person out there because of your personal feelings are personal to you. That it makes it extremely hard to listen to others' perspectives. If you can answer why you're pro life without bringing religious beliefs then I will listen, however up to this point, nothing will change my mind. I know many others who identify as pro life may answer this differently however this is my response.
HANNAH- Pro Life
There's a lot of different perspectives between myself, my friends, and my family. I try to always listen to these different perspectives and understand where different people are coming from and their reasoning behind being pro life, prochoice, or some sort of in between. I also see a lot on social media and will hear out those views because I feel like the pro choice side is a lot more promoted on social media. I am a firm believer that a lot of the things you see and hear from social media are based on feelings and I have yet to have my view swayed. I honestly don’t believe my perspective will change however it's important to listen to others and their perspective.
How do you think you can support women best?
SUSANNA- Pro Choice
-Increase awareness on the benefits of vasectomies.
-Increase of access to free birth control and preconception resources to allow for women to not have to be in the situation to make a choice in the first place.
-Listening to women. Get involved if you're passionate enough, especially men who advocate for choice!
-Universal health care needs to be implemented to support women. If Roe Vs Wade is overturned, the babies that you are advocating for at least deserve health care.
-Resources: ACLU, Planned Parenthood,
HANNAH- Pro Life
-I think this depends on a case by case basis and requires us to look at each individual’s needs because they won’t be the same across the board. This will look different if I’m working as a nurse than if my friend got pregnant and I’m supporting her in that context. This will also look different to each woman so it’s important to address her reasoning and needs, whether that’s not feeling prepared or supported, trauma, feminism, etc
- Assistance with food insecurity such as getting them connected to food banks or family members, preconception resources such as birth control/ education/ family planning, rape and domestic violence counseling, etc
-Medical side: as a nurse we screen for abuse, violence, and trauma, if we see signs of these we can report it, including case management in a patients care allows us to not only address their health needs from the nursing perspective but also helps get them connected to chaplains if they need spiritual support, social workers can help them get food and housing, psychiatrists for mental health needs, etc
-Greater support to pregnancy resource centers: these centers are underrated. Right now a lot of the pro life movement is focusing on ending abortion but focusing on this right now doesn’t neglect other resources because different groups, organizations, and individuals have different focuses
-The other side can say pro life advocates are hypocrites and this needs to be addressed. Some advocates are passionate about supporting different things, and we are not able to do everything. For example, adopting and fostering is something I'm personally passionate about and would love to do someday but I know others might not be called to this and are passionate about other things like donating diapers and volunteering in centers, or using their social media platform for advocacy. This isn’t hypocritical, but rather we’re just able to use our different abilities to serve in different ways
Is there any remaining statements, information, factors, or opinions left to share on topic?
SUSANNA- Pro Choice
-If you're not a doctor, don’t spread medical information~ it’s likely is information. Find reputable sources and statistics to share!
-There is so much that’s unknown about Roe Vs Wade being revoked, we have never been through this before. It feels like all the progress women have made throughout the past 50 years is slowly slipping by. It is unsure what will happen now so it is crucial to advocate for women.
-There shouldn’t need to be a justification for abortions; to bring assault in the abortion debate is triggering and unnecessary, a woman shouldn’t have to be assaulted for their choice to be heard.
-Universal health care. Don’t force kids to be born into a situation where they are unable to have health care to live a fair life. If you don’t support universal healthcare, you are not really pro life.
HANNAH- Pro Life
-A lot of pro choice individuals don’t want it for themselves but they also don’t want to regulate it for others. My response to this is would you say child abuse is bad but you would be okay with other people doing it? Or that slavery was bad and you wouldn’t have owned slaves, but are okay with others owning slaves? These follow the same line of thinking.
-A common phrase I hear from pro choicers is “my body my choice,” however I don’t believe the fetus inside of you is your a part of your body, after conception that is a separate individual. In choosing an abortion you’re removing that individuals choice, freedom, and right to live.
- I want to mention that we shouldn’t demonize or hate on women who have had abortions - they deserve our love and support as well because it does require healing, and their experiences are valuable and should be shared especially with women considering an abortion.
-Miscarriages and abortions are extremely different. I want to acknowledge how hard it is to lose a child to a miscarriage and to an abortion, and also explain that the pathophysiology behind a miscarriage is vastly different than the events in an abortion. Videos to abortion procedures linked below. Also, the difference between the DnC procedure in a miscarriage is different than in an abortion as well. This procedure is used to ‘clean out’ the uterus after a miscarriage where the baby had already died. In a DNC abortion the zygote is still viable and growing but is removed and destroyed.
-Preconception support and information is also important. Sex education and birth control are important to tell others about. It can be stigmatized in the Christian faith but there should be ways to talk about this and space to have conversations about it.
- Regardless of where you stand I’ve noticed every person I’ve talked to, regardless of their views, is in favor of supporting women. This is a commonality we all share but just have different ideas on what this looks like.
Pro Life Resources
1st trimester DNC abortion^
2nd trimester D&E abortion^
Not mentioned in article but third trimester abortion ^
About DNC, general ^
Different types of miscarriages, DNC mentioned under “incomplete miscarriage”^
Link to live action with a bunch of info ^
Response to cases of rape ^
On mental health and abortion ^tough to find unbiased info on this but I think this one has a well rounded view
On abortion and violence against women ^ might be hard to access the full article…
Articles on rape and abortion from a rape survivor who got pregnant, includes other women's stories ^
Post-abortion support ^
Pro Choice resources:
Loving Vs Virginia case information^
Majority of United States favoring choice ^
People of color being impacted the most^
Impact on world if overturned ^
Health risks if overturned ^