Monday, January 22, 2007

Blog for Choice Day

Today is the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and NARAL Pro-Choice America has called for bloggers everywhere to join in on Blog for Choice Day.

The topic this year is “why are you pro-choice?”

I believe that today, many women will be writing about their abortions. I applaud these women, and admire their strength in telling their stories. I believe that there is no clearer argument for a woman’s right to choose than a pregnancy you cannot continue. I doubt I would ever be able to tell the story of an abortion despite my belief in the importance of these stories; I am a coward. So first I would like to praise these women for their courage in speaking out. And then I would like to tell you why I am pro-choice.

I am pro-choice because I know that no form of contraception is perfect.

I recognize that sexuality is a component of humanity and humans have devised methods to uncouple sexual behavior from reproduction because reproduction is only one impetus for sexual activity. I believe that love, and intimacy, and pleasure, and countless other reasons for sex are equally valid.

I know that contraception is not as easy as swallowing a pill every day or wearing a condom every time. No method is ideal, a woman and her partner must always weigh the pros and cons of any given method: cost, efficacy, side effects, difficulties in obtaining. If a woman decides to begin using hormonal contraception she must visit a doctor or a health clinic. This is no small task in a country where health care is convoluted, expensive, and generally difficult to obtain.

Often, a woman’s need for an abortion is thought of as a symptom of her irresponsibility. I understand that responsibility has nothing to do with a torn condom, or a dose of antibiotics, or a lack of insurance, or a quirk of biology and certainly not with a refusal to abstain.

However, most importantly I understand that responsibility – or what we perceive as such - has shit all to do with the right of a woman to decide whether she will continue a pregnancy. I do not want anybody sitting in judgment of my actions, deciding what medical care I will be allowed.

I am pro-choice because I feel that a child should never be a punishment for what many consider irresponsible or immoral behavior. Neither hasty decisions nor mechanical or chemical failure are adequate reasons to bring a child into this world.

Ideally, a child should be born out of parental love and desire for a child. Minimally, a child should be born out of a woman voluntarily gestating the embryo and fetus that becomes the child. “Every child a wanted child” has long been a rallying cry in the pro-choice movement and I whole heartedly believe in this.

I am pro-choice because I believe that a woman should have complete control of her body, including whether to continue a pregnancy, because anything less would be robbing women of an essential dignity. I know that potential life should never outweigh actual life and that if abortion becomes illegal again, women will suffer and die. I know this because if I was pregnant, I would do everything in my power not to be, even if it risked my life.

Of course, there are a million other reasons someone might have for being pro-choice. Some of these reasons I have omitted in favor of those that speak the most strongly to me. Most of these reasons I could not even begin to describe, because I have not thought of them. What I have written are my reasons for being pro-choice, colored by my lifestyle, past, and future ambitions. This is why I would encourage you to read other blogs that are participating in Blog for Choice Day.

My reasons may not be exactly those of a woman with a very much wanted pregnancy making the difficult decision to terminate based on medical grounds. Or of a woman who chooses to continue an unplanned pregnancy. Or of a woman who is primarily concerned with the well-being of her already existing children.

However, I believe we find common ground in our opinion that how a pregnancy will proceed is ultimately the choice of the woman carrying it, because there is nobody more qualified to make the decision.

(cross posted at Eleven Thousand)

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