Two years ago today, Dr. George Tiller was gunned down and murdered by an anti-abortion activist while attending a church service in Kansas. Last week, a man was arrested, after accidentally discharging his firearm in his motel room, and charged with attempted murder. He had planned to go to a clinic and kill everyone he could find, then go to another clinic for a repeat performance. Were it not for his carelessness (and cluelessness) in that hotel room, we may be mourning a mass murder this week.
For today’s Ten Things Tuesday, I offer ten of the many reasons why I’m pro-choice.
1. I absolutely believe that if we take away a person’s (not just a woman‘s, but any person‘s) right to tend to their own bodies in the way they see fit, we remove that individual’s very person-hood. We should all have control the one thing that is truly ours. Margaret Sanger said, “No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her own body.” I think she was right.
2. A child should never be a consequence or a punishment. Forcing a woman to carry a child to term as a punishment for her sexual behavior is reprehensible.
3. A woman shouldn’t have to bear sole responsibility for something she didn’t do all on her own. If a man can (and many of them do) walk away from his share of the responsibility for bearing and raising a child, a woman shouldn’t be left holding the proverbial bag.
4. Making abortion illegal just makes it less safe. If we make abortion illegal, women will seek “back alley” abortions performed in unsanitary conditions by unqualified practitioners. Making abortion illegal won’t keep abortions from happening.
5. If we make abortion illegal, compassionate doctors will be forced to practice in secret, risking their livelihoods and their freedom if they are caught. (also, and not for nothing, I find it interesting, and more than a little hypocritical, that is seems the people screaming the loudest to make abortion illegal are also the people screaming the loudest for “smaller government.” How do they not see that irony?)
6. Being pro-choice does NOT mean that one is “pro-abortion.” Pro-choice means being supportive of a women’s choices – whether she chooses to terminate, to give the baby up for adoption, or to keep the child is entirely her decision, and those of us who are pro-choice honor and support whatever decision she makes. To characterize pro-choice advocates abortion-crazy baby killers is a tactic used by the radical right to avoid real discussion of the issues.
7. Even responsible, careful women can have an unexpected pregnancy. Contraceptives sometimes fail.
8. I object to the people who both want to limit women’s access to abortion AND to limit access to contraception. Do not try to take away the means to limit the need for abortion, then scream when the number of unwanted pregnancies skyrockets. This is nothing but a play to control women, and it’s disgusting.
9. Neither the government nor the religious communities should be making health decisions for individuals. Period.
10. There is no scientific consensus as to when human life begins; it’s a continuum. I personally feel that a fetus becomes a person when it can survive outside of the woman’s body – until then, it is essentially a parasite. If we were to enshrine fetal rights into law, women’s rights would be subjugated; she would become a living incubator.
Here’s the thing; you are welcome to disagree with any or all of this. I have no objection to anyone’s disagreement, and I’m not in this to change anyone’s mind. What I object to – and strongly, at that – is anyone’s attempt to forcibly impose their beliefs on another person. You can think abortion is wrong; hell, I don’t love the idea, myself. What I think is more wrong, though, is having the audacity to tell another person that she has to carry and bear a child because you find the idea of abortion distasteful. I’m very much in the thinking of the bumper sticker that says “if you think abortion is wrong, don’t have one.” Make your choices for you; let her make her choices for her.