Abortion is hard to talk about. It is so taboo you can’t even mention it without getting a glare or two. But why is it so unspeakable? About one-third of American women will have an abortion in their lifetime. Women who live in countries that forbid abortion will risk their health and potentially jail time by having an illegal abortion. These women will get abortions for many reasons, including rape, incest, financial instability, medical issues, etc. No matter what their reason may be, legal access to abortion is a human right that all women should have. An estimated 49% of all pregnancies are unintended and among women aged 19 years and younger, more than 4 out of 5 pregnancies were unintended, meaning not all mothers are prepared to have a child. There are many reasons why a mother would want to terminate her pregnancy, including financial instability and unreadiness for a child. Recent studies from the USDA, “Expenditures on Children by Families,” show that the average cost of raising a child today is over $245,000. Basic Needs Budgets indicate that it takes an income of about 1.5 to 3.5 times the standard poverty level to cover the cost of a family’s minimum day-to-day needs, and more than 45 million people in the United States are living below the poverty line. Because of financial issues, many women are forced to keep their unwanted children. This leads to unemployment, reliance on public assistance programs, and living even further down the poverty line. Unwanted children can lead to abuse. A University of California at San Francisco study found that women who are unable to obtain abortions will often stay in a relationship with an abusive partner compared to women who had an abortion, and were more than twice as likely to become victims of domestic violence. Having access to abortions makes it easier for women to leave these types of relationships. Abuse doesn’t just happen to the mother, but to the child. Women who are unable to obtain an abortion are known to forget their parental responsibilities. According to The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, unintended pregnancies are associated with reduced rates of breastfeeding, maternal depression, and a dramatic increase in the risk of child abuse. Having access to safe, legal abortions greatly reduces the risk of maternal injury and death caused by unsafe, illegal abortions. In countries in which abortion is illegal, women seek abortions clandestinely, often by using coat hangers, knitting needles, or radiator flush, or by going to unsafe “back-alley” abortionists. Regarding the deaths caused by these unsafe abortions, about 68,000 women die of unsafe abortion every year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every eight minutes a woman in a developing nation will die of complications arising from an unsafe abortion, making it one of the leading causes of maternal mortality. To fix this issue, these countries must take into consideration all of the reasons women may need to have an abortion, including cases of rape, financial instability, cases of incest, and illness that could kill the mother during the pregnancy. There are some that say abortion is murder, but the legitimate definition of abortion is the termination of a human pregnancy, not a baby. The Roe vs. Wade case in 1973 established that “the word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution, does not include the unborn.” Still, some may say that abortion is against the word of God, but even the Bible does not portray the killing of a fetus as equivalent to the killing of a human being. While some religious groups oppose abortion, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations are all officially pro-choice.Denying women access to abortion is a form of gender discrimination. The definition of discrimination against women used by the Working Group is taken from article 1 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) provides that “discrimination against women shall mean any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.” In 1999, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) recognized “laws that criminalize medical procedures only needed by women and that punish women who undergo those procedures” as an obstacle to women’s access to appropriate health care. Laws that deny access to abortion, whatever their stated intentions, have the discriminatory purpose of both denigrating and undermining women’s capacity to make responsible decisions about their bodies and their lives. It is not surprising that unwillingness to allow women to make decisions about their own bodies often coincides with the tendency to deny women decision-making roles in the areas of political, economic, social, and cultural affairs. Sandra Day O’Connor wrote in the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, “The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her dissenting opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) that undue restrictions on abortion infringe upon “a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature.” No one likes abortion, but it is still needed. Only a few women are lucky enough to have a happy pregnancy.