Bush v. Choice has designated today, January 22, 2007 as the second annual Blog for Choice Day. The theme is “tell us, and your readers, why you’re pro-choice.” I don’t think that any great political feat will be accomplished by this, but I do believe that creating a forum (or hundreds of blogger fora) to safely discuss controversial topics is important to coming to decisions about those topics. So may my words help break the taboo.
I’m pro-choice because I wish there were a better answer. My parents taught me that their religion taught them that life begins at conception and were very active in helping what they called “unwed mothers”. So at least their views were supported by their actions. This pro-life-ness resulted in me witnessing a video of an abortion being performed long before I knew how a child could be created (ultimately steeling my stomach for health classes and horror movies at that time yet-to-be-seen). Growing up in a very religious (although mono-religious) household, I developed an early desire to learn more about all religions. This quest eventually lead me to discover that sources as valid and ancient as those my parents cited for why life begins at conception also forbade a woman to mourn for a child stillborn or for any child who died before it was a month old. I also learned that I didn’t have to blindly obey the laws of my parent’s religion (whether actual or simply asserted).
I believe that sex is two things: (a) it is a natural drive to produce more of me and lots of fun and (b) it is an emotional act that has biological consequences. This belief is rooted in my fundamental beliefs about existence, as seem to be everyone’s beliefs about abortion. Since I don’t believe that there is a hell (or even a heaven), I don’t have a problem with recycling human souls, whether it’s an unborn fetus or a brain-dead loved one.
I believe that contraception, in the form of male & female pills, male & female barriers, and male & female sterilization need to be much more available to society at large as well as be understood as the responsibility of both parties. I believe that the earth is over-crowded. I believe that raising children is more important than having them. And I believe that it is the responsibility of society at large to care for its children.
I don’t believe that I would make a good mother, so I’ve taken steps to help ensure that I don’t. I do, however, believe that it is my responsibility as a non-parent to help parents (baby sit, pay taxes, &c.). I believe that men and women should get matern- and paternity leave after the birth or adoption of a child. I believe that teenagers should be given the tools to make smart choices about their sexuality. I believe that the government should provide financial assistance as needed to daycare, preschool, and kindergarten programs in cities and states. I believe that it is in the best interest of society that children (and adults) be educated.
In short, I don’t really know when life begins, but I do not believe that it ends at birth.
I have had elective surgeries and they are not to be trifled with. They are emotional and are decisions that need to be come to by the person (the surgee, if you will), the doctor, and trusted friends and family of the surgee. When I had a lump from my breast excised, I discussed it with my doctor (not the surgeon, but the doctor I trusted) and with my mother. With other surgeries, I discussed it with my doctor and my husband (my best friend). These were decisions which were mine to make, but I had people who supported me regardless of my decision around me. My recoveries were difficult and emotional (my brother-in-law says that my sisters and I are gifted with tears) on a level I didn’t expect from a simple surgery. I believe that abortion is a medical procedure, whether done surgically or medically and as such should be done with full consent of the surgee, with a medical professional (whether surgeon, OB/GYN, or herbalist), and with a support system, (whether family and friends or counseling). I believe that a woman may indeed walk away from an abortion in the way that I did from oral surgery: normal recovery period, end of story. But I also believe that a woman may walk away from it the way I did from my lumpectomy: with emotional issues that need to be dealt with, cried about, with more narcotics than were assumed to be necessary, and with a scar that won’t go away. I believe that denying that some women have emotional responses to abortions is a disservice to all women. And I believe that denying access to abortion is, too.
I hope for a future where pre-conception birth control is so good that abortions don’t happen. Not because I’m anti-choice but because I would rather have changed my eating habits before I discovered a lump in my breast than have had it surgically removed. But until that happens, I will work (and blog) for access to abortions for everyone who needs one. And for those would cannot bear it and would rather bring the pregnancy to term and put the child up for adoption, I believe that our society must support that, too.