Friday, January 22, 2010

Blog for Choice Day 2010

As many of you know, today is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade as well as the fifth annual Blog for Choice Day. How it works is that NARAL Pro-Choice America poses a question to pro-choice bloggers before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and then asks them to blog their answer on January 22 each year. This year the question is “What does Trust Women mean to you?” in honor of the late George Tiller who often wore a button that said “trust women.”

So what does “trust women” mean to me? I guess it means that no matter how you may personally feel about abortion, you ultimately realize that each woman has to make this decision for herself. It’s also the realization that women have abortions for a myriad of reasons and it’s not our responsibility to decide what reasons are acceptable and which should be condemned. Whether or not we think every abortion is a tragedy or whether we find the act of abortion morally reprehensible is ultimately irrelevant when we trust women. Trusting women means we’re willing to accept that each person’s bodily autonomy outweighs our personal opinions regarding that autonomy. It means that a woman has the right to use a perfectly legal medical procedure for any reason she sees fit without having to appease our personal attitudes on the subject. It means we trust women who have abortions to have done so because they thought it was the right decision for them. It means that instead of being reproachful towards women who have abortions we support them. It also means that women who choose to have children should not be ridiculed by those who don’t nor exalted by those who are scared to death to allow women control over their bodies.

This picture is for a fashion show (I believe), but I really like the idea that we, as women, are chained to our reproductive choices no matter what decision we make. At least that’s what I think when I look at this.

When I found out I was pregnant after dating Ryan for only a few months of I thought my life had ended. Seriously, I can't even explain the feeling of hopelessness I felt (some of you will know exactly what I'm talking about). I was only twenty years old, a college dropout, and I worked two jobs in order to barely support myself. Not only did I think it would be virtually impossible for me to care for a baby at that point in my life, but I also didn't want to care for a baby. I never had. Having kids always seemed like something I'd never do. Right along with getting married or voting republican. So I did what I thought was the right thing to do and made an appointment to have a medical abortion. But as I was sitting in my local planned parenthood on the day of my appointment something profound happened to me. I realized that there was a life growing inside me. And I realized that that life was something delicate and precious and I couldn't go through with the abortion.

I want to make it very clear that I'm not sharing my story in order to judge other women's choices or provide fodder for the right. What should be taken away from my situation is how having a choice made all the difference in my situation. If I hadn't been able to seriously contemplate abortion I may not have ever awoken that tiny place inside me that realized I could handle being a mother. I can easily see how being stripped of my choices could have led me to try something unsafe instead of taking the time to really think about what I wanted. I can also see how easy it would have been for me to become a bitter woman forced to have an unwanted baby. That is the point of the story.

Choice is freedom.

I also want to include this quote by Katherine Ragsdale because I think it speaks volumes for how the right to choose is fundamentally a question of freedom (big thanks to Britni for the link):
"Let’s be very clear about this: when a woman finds herself pregnant due to violence and chooses an abortion, it is the violence that is the tragedy; the abortion is a blessing.

When a woman finds that the fetus she is carrying has anomalies incompatible with life, that it will not live and that she requires an abortion — often a late-term abortion — to protect her life, her health, or her fertility, it is the shattering of her hopes and dreams for that pregnancy that is the tragedy; the abortion is a blessing.

When a woman wants a child but can’t afford one because she hasn’t the education necessary for a sustainable job, or access to health care, or day care, or adequate food, it is the abysmal priorities of our nation, the lack of social supports, the absence of justice that are the tragedies; the abortion is a blessing.

And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion — there is not a tragedy in sight — only blessing. The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply blessing.

These are the two things I want you, please, to remember — abortion is a blessing and our work is not done."

To read the responses of other bloggers just follow the link at the top. You can also get information if you'd like to take part in Blog for Choice Day yourself.

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