Lauren Barbato

Grad student and writer, Catholic

Newark, NJ

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I have seen firsthand what it’s like for women who cannot afford an abortion, the hoops women have to jump through to scrape together the funds or beg for any sort of assistance. The most shameful part about facing an unintended pregnancy is being too broke for an abortion and too poor to be a mother. Making women pawn their belongings or beg for money to obtain a simple healthcare procedure—it’s not right. It turns abortion into a degrading experience and further stigmatizes women’s choices.

“As a Catholic, I respect and support those who, in good conscience, have made a decision to end a pregnancy, as much as I support those who have made the decision to stay pregnant.”

For far too long, the lives of women have been used as a political football in ideological and political debates. Decisions are made by people in power who don’t listen to medicine or science and who refuse to listen to the voices of the people whose lives they affect. Our lives and bodies should not be violated by the political and religious views of others. It is our right to decide.

As a Catholic, I respect and support those who, in good conscience, have made a decision to end a pregnancy, as much as I support those who have made the decision to stay pregnant. There aren’t “bad” women who have abortions, and “good” women who are mothers. They are the same woman. As Catholics, we are called to stand with those who need a helping hand. We must not ignore women who choose to have abortions. There is no God-given right to judge their decision or, worse yet, to pretend we have the authority to make the decision for them.

As a Catholic, I believe supporting a woman’s right to have an abortion intrinsically involves supporting measures that ensure every woman can freely exercise that choice. Although abortion is legal in the United States, it is not always accessible or affordable. When you can’t afford an abortion, there is no choice. When there is no health insurance coverage or public funding available, there is no choice. Where there is no choice, there is no justice. That is why I’m proud to join this campaign. I hope you will too.

Stand up with Lauren

By taking the pledge, I invite Catholics for Choice to email me with additional ways to get involved.