Monday, January 22, 2007

Blog For Choice

The theme for this year's Blog For Choice seemed pretty straight forward. They wanted folks to write about why they are pro-choice. As I thought about it over the last few days, though, it's not that simple. There are a lot of factors that have contributed to my opinion on this amazingly polarizing debate. My upbringing, religious experiences, education and medical experiences have all contributed in one form or another.

First of all there was my mom. She never really had to come out and say it, but I know that she held the basic belief that your body is your own and nobody has a right to tell you what to do with it, least of all some government officials. Whenever a news story would come on after dinner about Roe vs Wade etc., she just had a way of shaking her head at the television that made it perfectly clear what she thought of the mess. When she did mutter something under her breath at the news announcer, it was always in the pro-choice direction.

As a teenager I did the usual questioning of authority figures, pushing boundaries...that sort of thing. I was baptised in a Lutheran church as a baby, but ended up a practicing Wiccan. I read a lot, listened to my friends and made up my own mind about a lot of stuff that I had taken for granted for most of my life. I think we all do that to a certain degree. Luckily, I never had to make the decision about whether or not to go down to the Family Planning Clinic in my town, but I know some girls that did. A few of them chose to go there and came back to school a week or two later...changed. Others chose not to and disappeared from our school hallways a few months later. It wasn't the kind of thing you talked about much, but it happened and we knew it. They (and their parents, I'm sure) were able to decide what was best for them at the time. They made their own choice and lived with it afterwards.

Another very real factor that I think solidified my position on the matter occurred a couple of years ago. I got very sick with an infection that threatened and finally destroyed my reproductive system and landed me in the hospital multiple times. I wasn't allowed to make some incredibly important decisions about my own care at the time because the male doctors believed that I was too young and didn't know what I really wanted. Now, I'm sure they did what they thought medically best (and probably financially best as well) but I couldn't get them to listen to me. It was not a good feeling. I learned the hard way that I need to be able to make fully informed choices about my health. It was terrifying to have that basic right so blithely taken from me. I don't want to live in a world where we make any pregnant woman feel that way as a matter of law.

Being pro-choice does not mean you are pro-abortion. It means that you respect another person's ability to make their own choices for themselves. I don't see how an institution like our government can seriously try and make that decision for anybody. Governments are good at large, sweeping policies that help run a nation of millions of people. They are not designed to dictate the complex, personal decisions of that citizenry. Whether or not a woman is able to carry a pregnancy to term emotionally, financially and realistically are all decisions that are best made at home, by the people involved, not in a courtroom.

I'm pro-choice because I don't think that I have any right to tell another person what is best for their family and neither does anyone else. I don't know if having a baby would make your life complete or ruin it. I don't know if you are a devout Catholic or an agnostic. It seems very strange to me that America is supposed to be founded on this idea of religious freedom (among others), yet our lawmakers continually make decisions for everyone based on one religious ideal. I'm pro-choice because I want to make my own decisions about my health and because I believe other women have the same right.

9 comments:

Ms. S said...

Meesh, I couldn't agree with you more! While I'm not pro-abortion for myself, I am pro-choice for being able to have the choice and that choice be available to others, too. It has a lot to do with responsibility and education, too. I don't believe it ought to be used as birth control. But, I'd rather live in a society where that is a healthy and legal option. It scares me that it may become the 21st century's Prohibition. And look how well that worked out?

Miss B said...

as usual, eloquent, poignant and relevant. you already are a journalist, whether you have the degree or the job to prove it.

Rosie said...

What a wonderful, thoughtful post. Thanks!

Trish said...

I really don't think any woman who is pro-choice is really pro-abortion, mrs. s. This was a thought-provoking post. Thanks for sharing.

Sandra said...

Awesome post, thank you.

Cherry Red said...

Wonderful words, Meesh. I Blogged about it too! Keep up the great work. :)

Kim

Marz said...

bravo

bazu said...

A great post, Meesh. I wish I'd known about this blog event and had written about it myself, but you put it much more succinctly and eloquently anyway.

I'm pro-choice for all the reasons you stated. Plus, I'm deeply suspicious of the pro-life movement, for whom abortion is just another in a campaign of misogyny and hypocritical religiosity.

Thanks so much for your happy thoughts, by the way! My swelling went down on one side, so now I only have one chipmunk cheek left!

Gaia said...

I love the way you write Meesh.

Thank you :)