Not all body autonomy is created equal.

For example, as an American citizen, I have the right to refuse lifesaving medical treatment. Unless I give express permission, no one can remove an organ from my body — even to save the life of another person. Even after death, no one can perform research upon or remove parts of my body without prior consent.

Why do my reproductive decisions fall outside of these other condoned health-care choices? Control and subjugation are stories as old as civilization. Exerting authority over what I do or do not house in my body is no less oppressive than restricting what religion I can practice or which consenting adult I can marry.

I had an abortion, and I need no one’s forgiveness. Nor should I need your permission. In defending reproductive rights, we should refrain from framing the argument around the most extreme and saintly of cases in the hope of converting more supporters. When we pander to find circumstances under which abortion becomes palatable, we dilute the simple message that body autonomy should be a right regardless of gender.