Monday, January 22, 2007

Why I Am Pro-Choice

I made a commitment to myself that I would blog about women's rights in a purely positive way today. Frankly, the anger that I feel knowing that there are those who want to relieve women of their rights makes that quite impossible. But, I'll do the best I can.

For me, the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade is a day for celebration. It's the anniversary of the day that my people were released from government-enforced slavery.

Oh, now I know that many who read this will think that I have a lot of nerve comparing women under compulsory birth laws to slaves. Let's think about that for a moment, shall we? What does one call a person who must submit herself entirely to the well-being of another, or risk death attempting to escape that 'duty'? What does one call a person whose wishes for the use of her own body are not considered in the decision-making process? Slave is a harsh word to use, but in this case it is also an accurate one.

There were photos online of protesters in Pennsylvania today, carrying signs that read "Your mother kept you." They're right, my mother did keep me. She had no legal choice in the matter, really. Women's reproductive functions were still the property of the state when I was born, just over one year prior to the Roe v. Wade decision. She could have broken the law, of course. Many did. Many even lived to tell about it. She could not have had an abortion after Roe v. Wade, because the cancer the doctors discovered in her uterus while she was carrying me was quite advanced by the time I was born, and her uterus came out just after I did. Frankly, it's a miracle she survived at all.

So, my mother did choose to carry me to term and raise me. She made that decision for all of my siblings, too. And, trust me, they are legion. Yet, she celebrates with me and my siblings today, because she knows that her daughters do not have to choose between respect for their own rights as full human beings, and respect for the law. We don't have to 'choose' to risk our own deaths and risk leaving motherless children behind because the doctors or the government or some schmuck with a collar says that's what's right. Whatever else we may encounter in our daily lives, we have the comfort of knowing that we have full custody of our own bodies.

Some people may show up at this blog and say that I should be grateful that my mother was forced to risk her life and the well-being of my siblings so that I might live. I would ask them to consider under what circumstances they would choose their own lives over the safety and well-being of their own mothers and their entire families. Not many, right? I mean, not if they're not totally horrible people. Had my mother NOT chosen -- under duress-- to carry me to term, I wouldn't have a single bad thing to say about her. She owed me nothing.

There are those who would like to reinstate that slavery, just as there have always been reactionaries after every major movement forward in human rights. Those people will spend today trying to convince lawmakers and homemakers alike that it is in the best interests of the nation, the family, and the once and now proposed slaves ourselves that we gild our shackles and wear them proudly. Fuck them.


Anonymous said...

Heo Cwaeth nothing in over a week, getting worried! *The crowd clamors for more bloggety goodness*

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