Hold on tight; here we go…
Ten reasons why I am unapologetically pro-choice:
1. I believe, perhaps more than I believe anything else concerning this question, that every child should be a wanted child.
2. My abortion has no practical effect on anyone else whatsoever, any more than my religion or my sexual orientation or my favorite ice cream flavor does.
3. Until a fetus can survive on its own outside of the womb, it is a fetus, not a person. I am of the opinion that life begins at viability.
4. I don’t believe that government (or anyone else, for that matter) should be in the business of regulating our bodies. I don’t want someone preventing me from having an abortion any more than I want someone forcing me to undergo chemotherapy if I choose not to, or telling me I can’t have cosmetic surgery to repair a cleft lip, or forcing me to undergo sterilization. Decisions about my body are under my sole discretion and jurisdiction (see how those pronouns match just nicely?).
5. Doctors get to choose what kind of medicine they’re going to practice, and their practice determines their procedures; I don’t think, for example, that a heart surgeon should have to know how to set a broken arm. That being said, if someone is going to choose gynecology and obstetrics, that person doesn’t get to pick and choose what parts of his or her profession s/he practices, any more than the pediatrician gets to tell you that he’ll see your child if she’s got the chicken pox, but not if she’s twisted her ankle. If you are morally and ethically opposed to abortion (or to birth control, for that matter), that’s fine; please choose a different specialty.
6. I do not believe that carrying a pregnancy should be a punishment for sex. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “well, if she’s old enough to have sex, she’s old enough to suffer the consequences.” Clearly, these people cannot hear themselves. I’m sorry, but that shit doesn’t fly with me. A child should never be a punishment; see item #1. (I also think it’s interesting, in a sourly ironic way, that many of the people who are anti-choice are also all about abstinence-only education, and the evidence is coming in that abstinence-only is not as effective as the proponents would have us believe. Reproductive care has to mean the whole spectrum; from education to access to contraception, to health care and screenings, to abortion and sterilization services, to neo-natal, birthing, and postpartum care. We don’t get to pick and choose what options are available to women… or, at least, we shouldn’t.)
7. My personal observation is that a lot of the noise coming out of the anti-choice camps is coming from men. I respect that everyone has an opinion – and perhaps even strong feelings – about this issue. What I respect more, however, is a man who recognizes that caring for women means trusting them with decisions about their own bodies. I believe the only time a man should have anything to say about a woman’s abortion is when he is the woman’s partner. Even then, though, I believe a good man will support his partner’s choice because it’s her body.
8. No thinking, caring person would ever force a woman to have an abortion. Why, then, would someone want to force a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy? It’s got to work both ways if it’s going to work at all.
9. All women deserve access to reproductive care in environments that are safe, clean, and professionally staffed. I will not go back to the days of do-it-yourself, kitchen table abortions, and I will not suffer the women of the future (hello? My daughters!) to have to improvise when medical technology makes abortion safe.
10. I am not interested in having a conversation about taxpayer funding for abortion. The truth of the matter is that limiting access to a legal medical procedure is discriminatory, and the fact that the women who are most affected by the Hyde Amendment (a piece of legislation that limits abortion services to Medicaid recipients) also happen to be some of the most vulnerable. Do not tell me, “I don’t want my tax dollars going to fund abortion” because my answer will be “Well, I’m not thrilled about my tax dollars going to fund a war no one can justify, or to bail out banks and investments firms that conspired to bilk millions of people of their savings, but that’s how it is.“
Access to reproductive health services should not be competitive or based on a woman’s income or education level, nor should the circumstances under which she got pregnant be a factor. Insurance companies should not get to choose whether or not to cover reproductive services, nor be allowed to determine which services are covered and for whom. Why a woman feels compelled to end a pregnancy is no one’s business but the woman’s. The choice to continue with a pregnancy or not is a decision that belongs entirely and exclusively to the woman in question. If we don’t trust women to make decisions about the care of their own bodies, we are co-opting those bodies and removing from women a key component of their personhood. Anti-choice is anti-woman, and as a woman and a human being, nothing about that is acceptable to me.
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