In honor of NARAL’s Blog for Choice Day 2008, I am answering the question why I am pro-choice (and always have been, and always will be).
Let’s get one major point clear: pro-choice is not synonymous with pro-abortion. I do not cheer every time a girl or woman gets an abortion. I would prefer instead that everyone (male and female) is provided with ample sex education and access to affordable birth control. I would prefer that an abortion is not actually cheaper than a year’s worth of birth control, even with medical insurance. I would prefer that every child born is planned, wanted, and that both the mother and father are active and equal participants in his or her care. I would prefer that both mothers and fathers take responsibility for pregnancies and child care.
Reality, however, has an annoying way of rearing its ugly head. Teenagers will be careless. Condoms will break. Boys and men will leave a pregnant girl or woman. Either mother or father will occasionally be unprepared or downright unfit to be a parent. For whatever reason, for whatever situation, a woman may become pregnant when she does not want to give birth to a child.
At this point many people believe they suddenly have the domineering right to make this choice for her. And this is where I get angry. The only person with a right to make any decisions regarding my body is ME. Not men who don’t even know what it feels like to be able to get pregnant; not religious zealots who condemn anyone who doesn’t think like they do (which is generally something they were told to think by someone in a position to profit from it); not misogynisitic cretins who don’t believe a woman should make decisions about anything, least of all their objectified bodies.
I call the bluff on any anti-choice revelers who claim that their primary concern is the child. Really? How interesting, given the child abuse frequency in this nation, and the horrifying lack of medical care for children, and the ease with which people turn their heads when a child is mistreated. Why is the reality that anti-choice individuals only scream about the child while he or she is still a fetus? Why does that concern cease immediately upon birth? Why don’t the kids who already exist matter to them?
Witnessing hideous, vicious custody battles has only solidified my pro-choice stance. I have seen wonderful children spit on, stomped on, lied to, forced to lie, manipulated, twisted, and denied something as basic as contact with their father. This is far from rare. If we as a nation are so enthralled with the lives of children, why does this bullshit continue unabated? Why are shoulders shrugged and heads turned instead of decisive and immediate action taken to protect these kids who deserve far better?
No, you will be hard-pressed to convince me that anti-choice is pro-child. I have done far more as a pro-choice woman to help children than any anti-choice person who forgets what they were screaming about once the fetus is a speaking, crying, feeling child. Prohibiting women’s choices won’t benefit anyone (except an oppressive patriarchy, I suppose). Prevention, education, and loving the children who are already here will take us much, much further. How sad that so many people oppose the solution in favor of politics, cowardice, and a status quo.