I’ve got a post brewing about parenting, and about why my generation seems to suck at it (honest to God; who the fuck is RAISING these KIDS?!), but I thought I’d share this ahead of time.
This evening, my family and I settled in to watch The Assassination of Dr. Tiller. When it was all over, we talked to the girls about what we saw, and about the culture of the abortion issue.
My children have always known that their parents are both strongly pro-choice. We’ve never shied away from the complexities of the issue; the girls understand that it’s a wrenching choice that no one but the woman involved can truly understand, and that we refuse to pass judgment on the issue because we know we don’t have the right to make decisions for anyone but ourselves. Further, we’ve made the distinction between being pro-choice and pro-abortion; no thinking, feeling human being is pro-abortion, but we also recognize that situations drive women to have to make these choices, and having safe, legal, accessible abortion services is crucial to women’s health and autonomy.
I think what bothered my kids the most weren’t the graphic pictures of the murder scene, or of the images that the anti-choice protesters distributed, but rather the callousness of the anti-choice “leaders” who were interviewed for the piece. Bean was pretty astute in pointing out that no one who promotes the kind of disrespect and hatred that these people foment should be allowed to walk away without consequence when someone else takes that rhetoric to its horrifying conclusion. Punk was a little harder to read; she kept going back to a conversation we had where she was certain I made a proclamation about abortion as birth control, and she hasn’t yet been able to get past that (for the record, and regardless of what she remembers, my stance is and always has been that “abortion as birth control” is a trope formulated by the anti-choice movement. I can’t even begin to imagine a woman who would subject herself to such a thing, particularly not when birth control is (for the moment) so inexpensive and readily available. Introduce me to someone who uses abortion as birth control, and then I’ll express an option on the matter).
I love that my daughters are mature enough to have these conversations. I love that my husband is unashamedly in support of women’s rights in all forms. Finally, I love that my girls are thinking now about these really tough issues. I have precious little time left with them before they venture out into the world and have to make decisions for themselves; that they have the opportunity to do this kind of critical thinking right now bolsters my confidence in their ability to navigate the world on their own later.