Op Ed: ‘Heartbeat bill’ would shove crushing burden on college-age women

By Emily Garcia

Let’s discuss an unpopular opinion in a red state. Brian Kemp’s ‘Heartbeat Bill’ is screwing the young adults in Georgia out of their educations. Statistics show that the people needing abortions are overwhelmingly young people, a demographic whose interests are often underrepresented in Congress. According to Guttmacher Institute, in 2014 more than half of women that had abortions were in their 20s: 34% of that statistic is women aged 20-24.

            What were you doing between the ages of 20 and 24? Probably not making tenure, prepared to put a down payment on a house and settle in to the suburbs with your spouse. But of course, in asking the older generation to remember their youths we young pro-choice activists often forget that Baby Boomers and Generation Y grew up in a different and less economically challenging period of time. So it is possible, some older folks will remember their early 20s as a period marked by prosperity.

            However, the majority of early 20- somethings now are not able to concur.

            I am 20 years old. Allow me, or don’t, to brief you on what my life looks like, as a 20 year old woman in America.

            At 20 years of age I have a little over $2000 saved, which will diminish by this coming May when I travel abroad to Ireland. I work at a country club as a waitress and a writer for the magazine at Augusta University (AU). With these two combined wages I am still not able to live on my own. For extra cash, I model for the art department at AU.

            Despite feeling like I never am going to have enough money to purchase anything substantial, I consider myself lucky that I did not have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars at the beginning of my semester, like so many of my friends did. I am a Zell Miller and Watson Brown Scholarship recipient, attending AU practically tuition-free. Yet, I am intending to transfer to the University of Georgia (UGA) by Fall of 2020 for my remaining one-ish year left of college.

            At UGA campus housing can cost up to $1000 each month. And while my scholarships dissipate my current tuition at AU, they make less of a dent in tuition at UGA.

            But these figures are still far more attractive than the tuitions of out-of-state or private institutions. While I disagree with the politics in Georgia surrounding my reproductive rights, I cannot move to a state that agrees with my views without going into mountains of debt.

            This would be financially irresponsible.

            So, imagine that I, a young woman in college, have protected sex, jump through every hoop to make sure I am being as safe as possible and still get pregnant. I have a total of six weeks to learn of something that I may be responsible for, for 18 years.

            To mother a child is a large responsibility, as many mothers will tell you. It is a full-time job, as my mother frequently reminds me. So where in my life, between the two jobs I have, the scholarships I continually have to work to keep, and the five college courses I am currently taking, can I fit a FULL-TIME job?

            In order to be a mother, as many pro-lifers would want me to be, I’d have to put my own life on hold. The irony in that is all too apparent.

            I fear that many young women in Georgia stress over the possibility of not having the right to choose whether or not to be a mother while they are attempting to receive their education. If the University System of Georgia wishes to retain students it is important that the Georgia governor properly evaluate the needs of all students, not just the pro-life.

Find this article on the Augusta Chronicle website: https://www.augustachronicle.com/opinion/20191005/column-heartbeat-bill-would-shove-crushing-burden-on-college-age-women

Published by Emily G. Garcia

Enterprise Reporter at The Red & Black

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