Today is the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
So, why am I pro-choice?
Because I don't believe the government belongs in my bedroom or in my uterus. Because, likewise, I don't believe someone's church belongs in my bedroom or my body. And I certainly don't believe those two institutions should be able to enter both together. I want to have the choice of who I bring to bed with me and what happens following. Because having a child should never be a burden, an accident, an oops, forced upon an individual or couple who does not have the emotional, mental, financial, or physical means to raise said child, and should be a calculated, active, carefully thought out life decision. Because, heaven forbid, I would want the choice to terminate a pregnancy if I'd been raped (neither I nor the potential child would want the repercussions of that reminder). Because, if some day I do decide pregnancy is for me, I want to have options if my life or the child's life would be put at risk if the pregnancy is taken to full term. Because I try to make smart choices and, even while I take care of my body and take the necessary precautions to avoid pregnancy, nothing is 100% effective. Because it wouldn't be fair - to myself or to any child I could bring into the world - if I wasn't ready or didn't want to be a mother.
Some people argue that if made an accessible option, then there are plenty of people in the world who make bad decisions and continue to make bad decisions. The right to choose to have an abortion can, just like any choice people have throughout life, be abused. However, that is someone else's decision. And I should not have that choice taken away from me because someone else is irresponsible, takes advantage, and so on. I agree that people should deal with the consequences of the decisions they have made. But, no child has ever made the decision to come into a world where it was not wanted, was not taken care of, could not be cared for, could not be treated the way it deserved, and so on and so forth.
I have to believe, however, that in the majority of cases, it is not a choice that is taken lightly. Just like the choice to have a child is a big decision, the choice to not have one should also be.
If you don't want to share a bed with a woman, don't. If you don't want to share a bed with a man, don't. If you can't bear the thought of an abortion, don't have one. (Those issues, in my mind, have become linked over time - contraception, sexual orientation, abortion, sex education, and so on are all ways the government has and does attempt to regulate the population's sexuality over time.)
I am also a person who believes nurture has something to do with it all, and I was lucky enough to have a mom who has always been very open about these sorts of issues. On my ninth birthday, she showered me with books, videos, and a really uncomfortable conversation about what would eventually happen to my body as I aged. (To this day, she apologizes for ruining said birthday.) A year or so after I started my period, she sat me down for another talk, this time with a greater emphasis on the possible repercussions of sex. She always said I should feel comfortable coming to talk to her about such things, particularly if I were ever to become pregnant. She never wanted me to face that alone. And, if I decided it was the right decision for me, she would drive me to an abortion clinic. I will never forget her telling me that.
When she was in her early 20s, she worked for a local Planned Parenthood, driving women from her clinic to those that would perform the procedure. Today, she volunteers for the local Planned Parenthood as an escort. Walking women (and occasionally the men that join them) from their cars to the front door, through the occasional crowds of protestors. I have always had an incredible amount of respect for my mother's strong beliefs on the issue and like to think I have adopted them as my own.
It is my body, my choice. I choose to get it pierced or tattooed. I choose what I put in to it - food, drink, drugs. I choose who does and does not get to be near it. Likewise, I should be able to choose whether or not I must suffer through 10 months of pregnancy.
One of the things that has always gotten to me regarding this issue is the language (which is partially what my research involves regarding same sex marriage). I have never been, nor will I ever be, pro-abortion. Nor am I anti-life.
I will, however, always be pro-choice.
(I have run out of steam, but this is one of those issues I could babble on about at some length. I don't, at the moment, have the energy to make my post as coherent and well thought out as I'd like it to be, but I felt I shouldn't let the day pass without saying something . . . even if it does read like free association.)