This was from about five months ago; I’m not sure about the exact date because I updated the file before taking it down. All I had down was an outline and a few sentences!
I call them anti-choice advocates because that is what they are. Some people claim this is the same as them calling me anti-life, but its not. Its not because I am pro-life, who isn’t? I think senseless killing is wrong; which is why I am a pacifist, I care about animal rights, about anti-violence initiatives, and about gun-control. You know what I’m not about, though? Controlling other women’s bodies and lives.
If faced with a pregnancy I’m honestly not sure if I would adopt or carry to term, my own feelings about conception, life, and adoption are far too complex for me to ever know how I would react to this situation (only being in the situation, honestly, would let me know.) However, regardless of the choices I would make, I respect other women far too much to try and force my own choices, my own views, onto them.
That’s why I’m pro-choice. I don’t like the idea of abortion but, even more than that, I don’t like the idea of a world where a pregnant woman is not in control of her own body and not allowed to make decisions about whats forming inside of her body.
This political cartoon, a piece of cultural crap as far as I’m concerned, exemplifies the perception problems we have in America concerning Pro-Choice. Honestly? I have never met a single person – female or male, pro-choice or anti-choice – who enjoyed the idea of abortions. No one wants to get into a position where an abortion is necessary – and yet all too often people who believe in choice and the right for a woman to be in control of what is growing inside f her own body are depicted as blood-hungry, rabid lunatics who lie, pressure, etc. to convince women to get abortions. Obviously this is not the truth.
Pro -choice does not just mean defending a woman’s right to choose abortion, however. For many people, myself included, being pro-choice means being tireless advocates for the many programs and infrastructure projects that allow all women to have a choice about reproduction, including comprehensive sexual education, easily available contraception, resources for expectant mothers, reasonable maternity and paternity leave, affordable childcare, and reproductive counselors who provide women with all of the unbiased information that they need to make a decisions about their own lives (that is to say, I’m against “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” and other places that have motives to steer women towards a particular decision.)
Here’s a really extreme example to illustrate what I, personally, work towards through my pro-choice advocacy:
Tessa Savicki, mother of nine, was recently forcibly sterilized by a doctor that she had gone to see for an IUD (article via Jezebel.) This was done because she had already mothered nine children, by a few different men, and the doctor felt that she should not have ny more children and, thus, steralization was necessary. Now, while I personally do not think that Savicki getting pregnant again would most likely turn out well for her, or her children, I acknowledge that my opinion about her situation does not give me the right to make any decision for her. Why? Because its her body. This is a distinction that Tessa’s doctor clearly failed to make.
Similarly, and just as frustrating, many women seeking permanent sterilization are turned down by doctors each year simple because the doctor feels that they might change their mind.
The case of emergency contraception can also be looked at in making this argument: did you know that Plan B was held up by the FDA for years because certain administrators felt it might lead to teen sex cults. Its horrifying to know that my government would rather hold back safe and helpful medical advancements then work towards educating teenage women in a way that leads them to being safe and responsible about sex. This is what I’m talking about, in a nutshell; the anti-choice movement works tirelessly to limit the options available to women when it comes to reproductive health, as a method of control. Of course different people within the movement have different motivations but in the end, it all comes down to one thing: forcing their own morality on an entire, diverse, population by legally limiting women’s options.
“We could not anticipate, or prevent extreme promiscuous behaviors such as the medication taking on an ‘urban legend’ status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B.”
– Janet Woodcock, former FDA Deputy Operations Comissioner
The movement doesn’t always stick to legal and honest methods for imposing their limits, either. Just take a look at this feministing article from earlier today:
“The blogger at Everysaturdaymorning, a pro-choice clinic escort in Louisville, KY, has posted pictures and video of the latest disgusting tactic from the antis outside their clinic: wearing fake escort vests.
Escorts wear bright orange vests that say things like “Pro-Choice Clinic Escort” in an attempt to clearly identify ourselves to patients. Even so, the space outside a clinic where anti-choicers have gathered can be incredibly confusing for patients, those accompanying them, and even passers by on the street. Some protesters simply stand off to the side and pray. I don’t like the atmosphere of shame they create, but it’s the antis we call chasers or sidewalk stalkers who cause the biggest problems. They will do almost anything to harass people going in and out of a reproductive health clinic, which is why pro-choice escorts are necessary – we’re not protesters, we’re just trying to make it possible for women to access abortion and other medical care. Interactions happen so quickly, and the milieu outside a clinic can be so confusing for someone who didn’t expect to be harassed by ideologues on her way to the doctor, that we already have to work hard to make it clear who works with the clinic and who is trying to get in a patient’s way.”
At the end of the day, regardless of the methods employed by either side of the reproductive rights battle, what it all comes down to is respecting women; something that anti-choice advocates do not do.
Pro-choice advocates respect women enough to trust them with the information and the freedom that they need to control their own bodies; whereas people who advocate against reproductive rights often give off the distinctive notion that they do not feel women are intelligent or strong enough to take control of their own bodies. Just take a look at some of the ridiculously paternalistic abortion laws in place today like mandatory wait periods that assume women need time to force them to consider their decision, as if they hadn’t done so before entering the clinic; or mandatory ultrasounds that imply women seeking abortions do not understand what they are trying to remove from their uterus. For me, being pro-choice is the only stance I could ever take because I trust myself, and all adult women, to be responsible enough to make their own choices about birth control, abortion, and so on; and I respect them enough to want to join in the fight to protect our freedom of choice and our right to helpful, unbiased information about our bodies.
True, people aren’t always going to make choices that I think are wise, or that I agree with… but that’s the point, I don’t have to agree with their choices and they don’t have to agree with mine, so long as we are free to live our own lives out. This is why I feel it is perfectly possible to be personally anti-abortion (not that I am, at all), but pro-choice all the same; all it takes it acknowledging that your belief system does not necessarily need to be applied to everyone else.
If anti-choice advocates are going to paint me and my peers in this light then I believe, at the very least, I have the right to call them what they truly are: anti-choice.