Friday, March 19, 2010

Blogging for Choice

Because having the right to choose what is best for myself and my body is important every day.

An important factor for women's advancement in society is our ability to control our fertility. Without that, we are trapped by the realities of pregnancy, childbirth and child-rearing; rather than a privilege and a gift, these aspects of being female become a burden.

I see attempts to limit women's reproductive freedom as no more than a gambit to keep women "in their place". To grant a fetus that cannot exist outside the womb greater rights than the woman carrying the fetus is fundamentally incompatible with the function of civil society.

In the words of supreme court justices O'Connor, Kennedy and Souter: "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."

No one wants to plan an abortion. But the best way to prevent abortions is to prevent unwanted pregnancies: through sex education, improved distribution of birth control, and general empowerment of women to shape our own individual lives.

Among the many reasons that I'm pro-choice is because it is the only option that isn't poisoned with misogyny. I believe that we are responsible for justifying our beliefs, and just as one cannot claim that a given race is inferior to another because "it's what I believe", I don't think one can argue that men can assert control over a woman's uterus -- and future -- because they claim to believe that a fetus is comparable to a human life. That belief is a result of the fact that only women can get pregnant and only women would ever have to carry an unwanted fetus to term.

Can anyone really believe that abortion would even be an issue if men had to face the possibility of giving birth to and raising a child because of one night of failed contraception?

I think Florence Kennedy said it best: "If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament."



  1. After I bowed out of the dialogue on the forum where this topic is still raging, I came up with the retort I needed:

    In Athens, fathers had the control over the lives of their babes -- about 5 to 7 days after their births. On the Hellenistai forum, Lesley just posted great information about this. At this time, the father decided whether or not he would accept the baby into the family. If he didn't, the child was exposed to the elements.

    This was the choice in the father's hands. We KNOW that the choice was sometimes made to reject the child -- to kill it. And there's no denying in anyone's minds that we're speaking of a human life. THAT was part of the Hellenic worldview. The baby's not mine? Exposure! The baby can't thrive? Exposure! I'm an asshole and have reasons I don't care to explain? Exposure! (Maybe. I don't know. That last one could be a stretch. I'm sure not all the babes killed were on the up and up.)

    But, oh, let's not muddy the waters with the choice being in the mother's hands! Just because the records don't show what Athenian women did when they never wanted the pregnancy to get that far, that doesn't mean that the women didn't share those methods with each other regularly enough.

    Life is precious and sacred and joyous. By and large, women want to become mothers. But there have always been reasons why they wouldn't want to -- not the least of which is safety. Women knew a high fatality rate in child-bed, and I can assure you that women have always shared methods for preventing and "correcting" unwanted pregnancies.

  2. Life IS precious, but our bodies are our own, no one has the right to make a decision for us. The thing that really galls me is that so many men are involved in the so-called pro-life movement - the same men who kill doctors that perform abortions, don't pay child support and believe it's OK to "discipline" their women. I'm not saying ALL men involved in the movement are, but many do believe in their "god-given" right over women.

  3. I was part of that disheartening debate (under the name of "Aias")and I was appalled enough by the sheer misogyny and, more, the sheer inability to recognize misogyny, that I hung on debating till Timothy Alexander "banned" me on the grounds of my complete intolerance of others' opinions. One strange man could applaud the assassination of a doctor who performed abortions but he was not reproved. I argued the nature of choice and control and was repeatedly admonished for dragging the discussion off topic. Res ipse loquitur--the thing speaks for itself.