Monday, January 22, 2007

Blogging For Choice

Today is Blog For Choice Day, so that’s what I’m going to do.  My best friend, an avid advocate for women’s reproductive rights, sent me an email alerting me to Blog For Choice Day and I’m so glad that she did.  The right of women to have complete, unfettered control over our reproductive destiny is paramount to a just society.  We are human beings with hopes and dreams, talents and visions for our future and never should we be reduced to baby making machines.

Amanda Marcotte over at Pandagon, suggested that those of us Blogging For Choice today should tell our personal story of why we are pro-choice.  My story may not be that compelling, but here it goes.

I have never had an abortion.  I have been pregnant twice in my life, both planned pregnancies and both resulted in beautiful, healthy children born into a stable two-parent household, but I would be stupid to believe that that is the norm.  Life isn’t a nice, tidy experience and shit happens.  I credit my lack of an unwanted pregnancy to luck and my anal retentive tendencies in equal measure.

Having grown up with a single mother, I knew how hard that prospect was and from the time of my first sexual experience at 15, I was terrified of getting pregnant.  Not terrified enough to fight my raging hormones and choose abstinence over the ecstasy that was sex back then, but terrified enough to get on birth control pills before my first time and take them each day religiously.  But, even with the pill, I was convinced every other month or so that I was pregnant and the relief I felt each time I turned out not to be, was overwhelming and had more to do with the abortion I avoided than the prospect of a choice I would have to make.  I always knew I would have an abortion if I got pregnant at that time, I was just lucky enough to never have it turn out that way.

The closest I ever really came to having an abortion was when my daughter was nine months old.  I was still breastfeeding so my periods were all whacky and having just been pregnant, I thought I knew the signs and I thought for sure I was pregnant again.  I was devastated.  I was exhausted from taking care of my daughter, we were struggling financially and I was stretched to the limit with what I had on my plate and I just knew another child at that point would very likely send me over the edge.  I was already having fantasies of running away (mostly involving checking into a hotel and just sleeping!) and another pregnancy (I hated being pregnant) and another child to take care of would have sent me packing for sure.  As I sat in the clinic, waiting for the results of my pregnancy test with my baby on my lap, I was prepared to make an appointment for an abortion immediately if the test came back positive.  But my luck kicked in again and my test was negative.  Another dodged bullet.

I didn’t have any moral qualms with abortion, I still don’t, but nonetheless, I wasn’t exactly eager to have the experience either.  For me, it wouldn’t have been making a choice so much as availing myself of the medical options available to me.  Abortions are safe and legal in this country, safer in fact than carrying a child to term, and thank goodness for that.  Thank goodness we are evolved enough as a society to provide women with the whole range of medical options and allow women the right of self-determination.  Not all of us are mothers and not all of us mothers should mother children we don’t want.  Some can, but some simply can’t, and we have the right to make that choice for ourselves.  We are women not future mothers!  Some of us are both, but not all of us are, and even those of us that choose to be both have the right to order our lives in whatever way we see fit.  Only a devolving society would take that right away.

13 Comments:

Anonymous david said...

What I find disgusting is the same person who rants about "killing babies" makes it difficult to be a single mom and demeans the young women who were foolish enough to believe the Pro-Life movement by forcing them on Work-fare and slandering them at every chance as freeloaders and "scarlet women". These latter day Puritans still want to embroider an "A" on the Hester Prynnes of today and put them in the stocks.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TLGND -

Two things:

1. Your post would send many a 'pro-lifer' into hysterics over what they would perceive to be excuses of convenience (at least in my opinion).

2. That is precisely why your post is probably the best personal statement, from someone who supports the right for women to choose, I have ever read. It's an honest, detailed account of why one would choose to have an abortion.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 80-something grandmother and I talk regularly; she was born and raised in TX.

She's religious, active in her church, and has devoted faith in God and JC. Furthermore, I think she's a bit racist as well based on her comments regarding blacks and hispanics (I'm bi-racial and that certainly doesn't bother her since I'm family, I guess).

She's a very good, loving person that I feel wouldn't wish harm on a soul. I believe she would never deny rights, hurt in any way, or harm anyone that isn't caucasian, but her racism is seated in a general distrust of brown people.

Having said all this, imagine my (very pleasant) surprise and sense of pride when we were talking about abortion. She stated (although she made me promise not to tell anyone even though I have no contact with anyone else in her community and do not talk to extended family) she didn't like abortion but felt that it was up to a woman to decide if she wanted to have a child; if a pregnant woman didn't think she should have a child, then she should be able to not have one.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

Thanks, Molly. I just learned this was Talk-About-Choice Day and I'm glad you jumped on it.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous whl said...

Hey liberal girl, not anywhere near next door:

Let's have some humor. I am an old man. I knocked up the same woman 2 times. Both kids are alive & well & doing fun things.

I have paid for 5 abortions in my long, eventful life. I come from a very large family with 3 sisters. At different times, long ago, I paid for their abortions. Oldest sister cost me bus fare from way North America to Mexico & chump change for the evil deed (1960s). Second sister cost me plane fare to Nassau (ouch) from the other Washington, DC & so-so for the deed (1970s). Third sister cost me for a simple outpatient thingy a few miles from her home (1980s).

My daughter had a low-cost DnC in the 1990s with no travel. Recently, a wonderful niece needed a few shekels for a morning-after thingy cause she was short on cash before payday.

Very shortly, my dear, young, lovely lady, NO ONE will even know that Ms XYZ aborted & it will be dirt cheap. It's intriguing to watch technology blow the wingnutz out of the water. And it's satisfying to see the modern world push the ancient paradigm into oblivion. And, except for the niece (too young, still), all of those wonderful ladies, who I dearly love, have gone on to have beautiful, truly delightful children.

Funny how that worked out.

Here's my problem, liberal girl. Would it be crude to ask for my money back??????????????? Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha.

10:23 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

David--You couldn't be more right.

Anonymous--1) That's true and I'd be glad to be the cause of their hysterics. 2) Thank you.

Anonymous--I'm proud of your grandmother too. I imagine that she has lived a full life and understands more than most of us how plans don't always work out and all we can do sometimes is the best we can do and that religious ideals are something to be strived for, not used to condemn those who don't live up to them all the time, but at least try their damndest.

Lynn--It's all my friend's doing. If left on my own, I would have found out too late.

WHL--You are a good man and certainly a good man to have around in a pinch! As to your question, I think you just have to chalk it up to money well spent and leave it at that. Although I do think you could get some sweet treats out of the deal, complete with fingerprints on your shirt left by all those kids running around!

Thank you for sharing your personal story, it really did make my day.

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have been pregnant twice in my life, both planned pregnancies" - good to know you planned to have children you couldn't support financially.

6:01 AM  
Anonymous david said...

anonymous3, where in that post does it say LGND can't support financially her two children? All it says is she was struggling, which is the state of most families in America.

Read Frank McCourt's grim telling of life without choice in Angela's Ashes. Or the hidden world of abortion before Roe v. Wade in John Irving's Ciderhouse Rules.

The same people who think a fetus is a person with inalienable rights don't seem to mind taking away habeus corpus, covering up the sins of the clergy, eliminating the minimum wage, going to war on a lie, or murdering & torturing in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous ChicoCathie said...

LGND,
Beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I couldn’t be more proud of you or love you more.

WHL,
You are my official hero for the day. Because beyond paying for the abortions, you were someone those women felt safe going to for help. Every woman should be so lucky to have a brother/uncle/FATHER that she could not only talk to about abortion and other reproductive issues, but count on for help.

Your comment also brought home the issue of access to abortion. While some communities have abortion providers, the majority do not. Women have to pool many resources for travel, hotels and transportation, in addition to the cost of the abortion. It is not simply a matter of abortion being legal, it is how far the anti choicers have gone in blocking access to abortion.

Anonymous-
It is despicable that two young, intelligent, caring, loving people would choose to have children without money. ‘Cause we all know that having money is clearly the defining characteristic of good parenting. Look how good that Bush kid turned out, after all.

9:08 AM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Anonymous--We could afford both of our children thank you very much, and don't worry, we had (have always had and still have) private insurance so your precious money wasn't wasted on my children.

I was wondering though, which is more exhausting, lugging around that rock in your chest where your heart should be or hoisting that giant chip onto your shoulder each morning?

9:24 AM  
Anonymous drm said...

Interesting post but left unsaid are the real policy issues surrounding "Choice". Choice in quotes because we all know your strident belief in choice does not include choice in other areas, but that is another issue.

You mentioned a "woman's choice". So does that extend to a "child's choice"? Are children free to choice this medical procedure without a parents consent? Does "choice" extend through the entire pregnency, up until minutes before delivery? Does "choice" also mean somebody else (meaning taxpayers) must be compelled to pay for your elective "choice"?

The entire abortion/choice debate is quite silly. In our form of government abortion/choice policy is best made by the electorate.

Funny how it is perfectly ok for state legislatures to pass laws regarding a right identified as part of the Bill of Rights but it is not ok for the same legislatures to pass laws regarding a "right" nowhere in the Constitution.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous david said...

drm, of course children have a right to choose this procedure. But it is very risky for a child of 11 or 12 to take a pregnancy to term. And I would not want to force a child to have a baby when she are so close to being a baby herself.

Your discussion of the medical issues reveals you're quite ignorant of the debate. Nearly all abortions occur in the first trimester. Restriction on what can be done after that are common in all countries where abortions are legal.

As for Rights in the Constitution, well, you sound as ignorant of that document as the Attorney General. You'd have to be more specific of your beef and make sure that it's not covered by the Ninth Amendment.

8:11 AM  
Anonymous drm said...

david,

we are not talking about other countries, I was talking about the U.S. Roe v. Wade has been used to block any restrictions at any time. Funny how abortion is the only medical procedure that an 11 or 12 year old can choose to have performed without parental consent. My god, a twelve year old cannot choose to take a Bayer aspirin at school but can choose to have an abortion. Let's see, a 12 year old cannot choose to get her ears pierced, cannot choose to have a tatoo, cannot choose to have a nose job but can choose to have an abortion.

regarding the Constitution, state governments pass all types of laws regulating the right to bear arms and that seems ok to everyone, they pass laws regulating certain types of speech and that is ok, but they better not pass any laws regulating the so-called "right" to abortion.

4:08 PM  

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