Today, January 22, 2013, marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which recognizes a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice America is honoring this occasion with its eighth annual Blog for Choice Day, which I am very excited to participate in!
Here is some background from NARAL’s website:
Blog for Choice Day gets more people reading and talking about reproductive rights online on one of the most important days surrounding a woman’s right to choose: the anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade decision, when the Supreme Court ruled that abortion should be legal. Your participation in Blog for Choice Day lets your readers and the mainstream media know that a woman’s right to choose is a core progressive value that must be protected.
As you know, reproductive rights were a critical issue in the presidential election. Thanks to you, we helped re-elect pro-choice President Barack Obama and defeated some of the most extreme and outspoken anti-choice candidates. But our opponents aren’t backing down, and we need to be ready for any attempt to take away women’s access to safe, legal abortion and birth control.
It’s our personal stories that change hearts and minds about the importance of advancing reproductive justice. That’s why this year NARAL is asking us to share our stories about why we’re pro-choice.
If you’re interested in telling your story, I think you can still sign up on NARAL’s website letting them know that you plan to write a blog post today.
Don’t have a blog? No problem! You can tweet using the hashtag #Tweet4Choice or update your Facebook status with your story — it can be just a sentence or two. You can also post the Blog for Choice Day graphic on your Facebook wall.
Together with NARAL, we can ensure that , the blogosphere is flooded with stories of real women, keeping reproductive rights in the spotlight!
Now, on to my actual post . . .
Never in a million years did I think I would be where I am today — working for a super progressive women’s organization that further sparked my deep passion for abortion rights and reproductive justice. But this work is so important and something I care deeply about!
I have always believed in a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion. I grew up in a liberal family (parents, grandma) . . . my dad used to work for Planned Parenthood, and these progressive values were always a part of me and how I was raised.
For me, it really comes down to a few things that I feel have been reiterated over and over again, but are either just not heard or ignored (not by our side of course, but by the right wing and anti-choicers):
1. My body, my choice.
2. Valuing the well-being of a fetus (or a clump of cells, really) over that of a woman who is actually living and has a life to live is truly unacceptable to me. Women are not a human incubators — we are living breathing people! It is important to think of our well-being and life situation first. You can read this great post over at Fem2pt0 for more on this.
3. I trust women. Period. I trust women to make the best choices for themselves. All of this nonsense about why women aren’t fit to make decisions for themselves about their reproduction has got to stop!
4. And finally (but certainly not least!), the decision to have an abortion is a deeply personal one that is also medical in nature and therefore should be between a woman and her doctor, who has her best interests at heart. Politicians have no place getting involved in any type of personal medical decisions about a women’s pregnancy!
According to Planned Parenthood’s new website, Roe Is Here For Good, evidence shows that restricting access to safe, legal abortion care does not lower abortion rates. In countries where abortion is illegal — which we are close to becoming — abortion rates are actually higher . . . It just forces women to search for clandestine and unsafe abortion.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, “More state-level abortion restrictions were enacted in 2011 than in any prior year and 2012 brought the second-highest number of restrictions ever.”
I would also like to take this opportunity to dispel the misconception that people who believe in access to safe, legal and affordable reproductive care, including abortion, do not like or want children. While that may be the case sometimes, it is a sweeping generalization. I of course cannot speak for everyone, only myself. And as for me, I love kids! I just want to be able to plan when I want to have them so I can give them the best life possible!
I am 26 years old, which means my whole life abortion has been legal. However, I do not take this for granted and realize this is a critical issue we must continue to fight for. Safe, legal, and affordable access to reproductive care, including abortion, is a necessity. My hope is that one day it will widely available to all women, should they so choose, regardless of where they live, their economic situation, etc., and free of embarrassment or shame our society cloaks it in.
I would like to add that in college I made friends with several fundamentalist Christian folks*, who were also anti-choice. They were my friends first though, and this was just something we disagreed on and didn’t talk about. Some of them merely disagreed with me, while others were more steadfast and strong-willed in their beliefs. I respected and still do respect their beliefs, as they do mine. Some of us are still friends, and we agree to disagree on this issue and not talk about it . . . which is difficult for me considering how passionate I am about it. But I know talking to them about it will do nothing for any of us.
Perhaps some of you are reading this blog post?
This experience and these friends helped shaped my stance on abortion rights and reproductive justice in quite a unique way, perhaps ironically pushing me further to the “left,” if you will, than I would have been. It made me realize, first hand, how necessary it is that there continue to be people like me who care about and fight for this issue. It also made me realize how important it is not to judge another person’s decision, no matter what it is, because you never know what you will choose to do until you are faced with an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy.
*I am well aware that there are many people of faith, including Christians, who believe in abortion rights and reproductive justice. These were not those people.