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MSNBC's Toure: "Abortion Was There To Save Me"

MSNBC's Toure says abortion "saved" his life because a former girlfriend, who he didn't want to have a future with, decided to have one.

TOURE: This week brought us the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and made me reflect on a moment from 15 years when I was in a committed relationship with a woman who I knew was just not the one. She also knew it probably wasn't going to work out and then she got pregnant, and I was terrified. I have always known the importance of family and building kids into strong adults and I know I would not be who I am if not for growing up under the watchful eye of two people who loved me and loved each other. I knew that pregnant woman and I were not going to be able to form a lasting family. She decided it was best to have an abortion and days later she did, we did, and in some ways that choice saved my life. I was not then smart enough or man enough to build a family or raise a child, and I only would have contributed to making a mess of three lives. Years after that I met another woman, married her, and after we decided to get pregnant, I went to her doctor's appointments, our doctor's appointments, with joy. It was a thrill to watch that boy grow inside her, but I must admit during that second trimester as we watched him move around on 3-D sonograms I saw how human and they were my life long belief in abortion rights was – let's say – jostled. It was life colliding with belief system. I had to rethink my position, but in the end I remain committed to being pro-choice because I cannot imagine arguing against a woman's right to control her body – and thus – her life. I believe in, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote, “a woman's autonomy to determine her life's course.”

Yes, there is a reasonable and unsolvable medical debate about when exactly life begins, but I find something undeniably misogynist about the impulse to deny a woman's dominion over her own body and limit her ability to shape her life – and impose another sense of morality on her. Family building is at the heart of nation-building, and taking away the ability to choose means the ability to build lasting families is challenged. Richard Florida finds the higher a state's abortion rate, the lower its divorce rate. But even though abortion is legal, ever since Roe was passed the right has been working not just to overturn it, but also to constrain it. Today was the 40th annual March for Life in D.C – and 87% of counties there are no abortion providers and in several states it's nearly impossible to get an abortion. In over the past two years 130 laws have been enacted restricting abortion rights and curbing the number of abortion providers. I want abortion to be legal, safe, and rare, but restricting access makes it rare for the wrong reason and drives many women to self-administered abortions that endanger their lives and their reproductive future. In a nation where 40% of children are born to unwed mothers, we are hurting our nation by making family planning harder. I thank God and country that when I fell into a bad situation, abortion was there to save me and keep me on a path toward building a strong family I have now – and I pray that safety net remains in place. People who have children when they're prepared leads to stronger children, stronger families, and thus stronger adults and a stronger America.

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