Blog for Choice 2011Posted: January 21, 2011 | |
I’ve been thinking about how to tackle the issue of abortion on the blog for a while, but not sure how to do it. And, to be honest, I’ve also been very apprehensive about even touching the issue at all, for a number of reasons. But, being as it’s Blog for Choice Day, now seems as good a time as any to do it.
The short story is that I used to be very very strongly against abortion rights, and I’m now pro-choice. I know some folks who follow this blog vehemently disagree with my position, and may even be disappointed in me for taking it, or offended by my discussing it. Believe me, I understand that. I really, really do. I’m not sure, but I imagine for a lot people raised differently than I was being pro-choice seems kind of . . . obvious. Of course women shouldn’t be forced to carry pregnancies they don’t want! And yes, I believe that. But getting to that place took a lot of time, and questioning, and working through really conflicted emotions. Trying to reexamine the morality of an act you’ve been raised to believe is murder, that you’ve believed for your entire life to be murder, is difficult.
I’m working on a companion post to this one, which I hope to finish and publish by the end of the day, on how I changed my mind about abortion. I think it’s important for the pro-choice movement to understand understand where others are coming from in order to better reach people from backgrounds like mine – especially now that young adults seem to increasingly oppose reproductive freedom. And I also hope it’ll be helpful to people reading who are staunchly pro-life, or people who were raised pro-life but are confused or conflicted about what they think about it now, to see the steps one person worked through in moving from a pro-life* position to a pro-choice one.
*I use this term not because I agree that the beliefs I was raised with are actually representative of a consistent pro-life ethic (anti-death penalty, anti-war, pro universal health care, etc.), but because it’s how I self-identified. I understand people’s objections to that phrase, but personally am no more comfortable with labeling all self-identified pro-life people as anti-choice than I am with pro-lifers’ tendency to label all pro-choicers as pro-abortion.
Alright, The question for Blog for Choice this year: Given the anti-choice gains in the states and Congress, are you concerned about choice in 2011?
Short answer again: Yes.
I’m concerned that GOP efforts to blackmail insurance companies into not covering abortions and force women to pay out of pocket for them will entrench and worsen already serious racial and disparities in access to safe, legal abortions, making poor and minority women even more likely to seek out back alley abortions, and even more vulnerable to exploitation by dangerous and unscrupulous people like Kermit Gosnell. I’m concerned that if these and other anti-abortion measures pass, we’re effectively saying as a nation that rich women have a right to choose abortions, and poor women do not.
I’m concerned that a number of states have passed mandatory ultrasound laws before abortions, as though a woman who has decided to terminate a pregnancy can’t comprehend the implications of her choice without one. I’m concerned that it’s increasingly difficult to obtain first-trimester abortions, which are safer, less invasive, make up the vast majority of abortions, and in most cases are the preferred choice of women seeking abortions (if you want to end your pregnancy, you generally don’t want to stay pregnant for more time rather than less), at the same time that conservatives are launching an all-out attack on the legality of second and third trimester abortions, and on the handful of medical professionals who provide them. I’m concerned that conservatives are chipping away at abortion rights piece by piece until there will be virtually nothing left. I’m concerned because a world without safe, legal abortion would be a complete disaster for tens of millions of women, children, and families.