Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why I Am Pro Choice ~ A Statment from WY State Director of

Since I accepted the position as Wyoming's State Director for I have been thinking a lot about abortion law in the US. I am not the only one, it's all over the TV and the political candidates and pundits keep arguing about it. 
Few of them seem to acknowledge that the actual law of these United States, as determined by Roe v. Wade, states that under the 14th amendment women have a right to privacy which includes the right to make their own private medical decisions.
The 1st amendment states that we also have a right to freedom of religion, which clearly includes a freedom to decide on issues of faith personally and privately.  Nobody, has any scientific idea of when a soul enters a body.  Nobody.  This is an issue of faith and as such it is protected by constitutional law.
I can't help but ask, why there is a movement to outlaw or at least make abortions less accessible?  Does anybody really believe that making abortion illegal will make it go away?  Have we forgotten bloody coat hangers in back alleys
More to the point, does anybody really think that making abortion more accessible would make women start having unprotected and promiscuous sex while planning on using abortion as their sole form of birth control?
Seriously, let's stop and just be frank for a moment.  Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that we tried the polar opposite of the GOP plan
What would happen if we made abortions and birth control legal, accessible, free, and put a clinic on every corner?  Would women suddenly say, "Wow, I think I'll go have more abortions."?  What if we gave away a free TV set or a new car with every procedure?  Would you carelessly get pregnant and go have an abortion?  What if we had a policy of ensuring that anybody who had an abortion got a tax cut?  How about then...does that make you wanna abort a child?  What about anybody else you know, would they do that? How big with the tax cut have to be?
This is absurd.  We are fighting over a right that was put in place for difficult circumstances. We are not talking about limiting an enjoyable experience.  For instance, if we were talking about the new law in New York which limits the sizes of sodas vendors can sell:
What would happen if we made sodas accessible, and free and put venders on every corner?  Almost everyone would say, "Wow, I think I'll drink more soda."  What if we gave away a free tv set or a new car with every soda?  Would you go get yours? What if we had a policy of giving tax cuts to soda drinkers?  Does that make you thirsty? 
Do you see, how absurd this is?  There is a difference between limiting enjoyable but harmful behavior and helping to ensure the safety and accessibility of a terrible choice.
I like to think of that difference as demand. The demand for soda, is obviously more fickle, and dependent of factors like thirst and associated offers for televisions or money.  The demand for abortion is based on life circumstances known only to each individual woman. 
History has proven that the choice to have an abortion is so desperate that we can't legislate it awayOn the other hand, we have also learned that we can make it safe and provide other real, workable alternatives ranging from prevention of abortion (aka birth control) to adoption. 
I don't know about you, but I don't know anybody who would say, "Yes, stick a vacuum inside my vagina and suck the very life out of me please."   No matter what mythology you may have heard, abortions are not easy or painlessAbortion is painful, it is confusing, it is scary, it is risky, and it is a terrible experience.
Current GOP mythology talks about women who have abortions because they are too lazy to take birth control, or too selfish to consider the unbornMeanwhile they simultaneously make access to birth control more difficult and less affordable - forcing women into terrible situations.
They tell lies about women making up or somehow exaggerating  rapes to get abortions, even though the only circumstance under which a woman would have to do such a thing, would be if abortion were made illegal except in the case of rape.
The GOP imply that there is a priority in their faith over all else.  But they forget that their faith is not everyone's faith.  The women of America are free to operate within the confines of their own religions, not the religion of their bosses, or their congressmen. Folks, this is the noble thing about America.  We are all free.
Our freedoms end only when they overlap and eliminate the freedoms of other citizens.  As Oliver Wendall Homes said, "My right to swing my fist ends at your nose."  That means that your right to practice your religion ends at my uterus.
The fact is that using shame and misplaced laws to regulate abortion is ineffective.  If we don't want abortions, we should wise up.  We should teach actual, science based, family planning from an early age.  We should provide easy and affordable access to all forms of contraception.  We should provide choice and opportunity and education to young women, because the most effective way to reduce abortion is to give women power and confidence and financial security.
We should also recognize that unwanted pregnancy is not a women's issue.  It is a human issue.  It is a sexual health issue that applies to both genders.  We must put as much pressure for sexual responsibility on young men as we do young women.  We should teach both our sons and our daughters that they are valued; that love and sex are not interchangeable; and that they can find ways to have safe, happy, healthy relationships that are valuable to both parties beyond the bedroom. 
The bottom line is that laws that shame women, by implying that choosing their own path, their own spirituality an their own method of family planning is somehow sinful are crushing the spirits of the women in our nation.  They teach us to hurt ourselves, disrespect ourselves, and settle for less than what we deserve.  When this happens to the women of our nation... this happens to our whole nation.
I understand and wholeheartedly support the choice to have a child, planned or unplanned.  In fact, I find motherhood and all it's struggles to be even more beautiful when I consider that the mother chose that destiny.  Wiping poopy diapers, scolding teenagers, loving grown adult children and worrying every night before you fall asleep for the rest of your life is a beautiful gift from a mother to a child.  Doing all of that, when you didn't have to, is even more grand. 
I remember that one of the most heroically loving things I have ever seen was when I watched a dear friend give her son a complete family when she gave him up for adoption because she was not ready to raise him.  Both she and I count the days till he is an adult and ready to meet us.  Few people hold more honor in my mind than women who are strong enough to give the adoptive parents and more importantly the child such a fine gift.
I have also seen another young woman who faced an unwanted pregnancy after date rape as a teenager... She said she knew instantly that she was not strong enough to give a baby up for adoption.  If she carried the pregnancy to term, she knew she would want to keep it and she knew that was the wrong choice for her.  She felt that giving any child that particular rapist for a daddy or an unprepared teenaged mom for a mommy was more despicable than having an abortion. 
No one was capable of judging that but her.  Nobody but her has to carry the weight of this burden, so nobody but her should decide if she should shoulder it.
Choice, is a two sided coin.  I stand up for not just the heads or the tails flip, but the whole coin when I proudly proclaim that I am pro-choice.  No woman should ever be forced to carry or abort a child  against her own free will.  Nobody should be shamed for examining their own spirit and determining their own destiny.  That isn't what America is about. 
America is about choice and opportunity.  Freedom of choice is implicitly preserved in our constitution and explicitly protected by Roe V Wade.  We are a great people, and we know that at least 51% of the reason for that comes from the women that we should trust with their own bodies, minds, and destinies
I know that I would trust my mother, my sisters, my daughters, my nieces, my aunts and myself with these decisions.  I trust us to know when and with whom we are prepared to have a child.  I place my bet on the integrity and morality of American women over shame any day.


Oblio said...

Amazing post, should be required reading for all voters before going to the polls. Your open letter to Romney hooked me, your writing and posting continues to amaze me. Thanks!

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