Blog for Choice Day 2008
The theme of this year’s Blog for Choice Day, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, is why it’s important to vote pro-choice. I know there are those of you who may disagree on this issue, but it’s important to me, especially in an election year, to have this discussion.
I vote pro-choice because, in my state, there are politicians who, every year, propose bills intended not to make women and families better able to successfully raise children, not to encourage access to birth control and healthcare, not to improve sex education and education generally, but solely to restrict women’s ability to make this legal and personal decision. I vote pro-choice because I believe that when politicians are focused only on the act of abortion and not all of the personal and societal reasons that women choose abortion, we all – women, families, and communities – lose.
I vote pro-choice because when these same politicians propose legislation that suggests that women just haven’t thought about what they’re doing (waiting periods), that they don’t know what pregnancy is (ultrasound provisions), that they would choose differently if they just knew better, those politicians demonstrate an appalling underestimation of women’s intelligence and capacity as fully functioning human beings, if not outright contempt for women and their families. These politicians further attempt to shame women with proposed bills such as the one to mandate death certificates for aborted fetuses, while not requiring the same for miscarriages that take place at the same gestational stage as most abortions. I vote pro-choice because I believe women are smart, capable, and know exactly what they’re doing when they make this personal choice.
I vote pro-choice because methods of bringing on a late period (inducing miscarriage) and terminating pregnancies have existed as long as women have existed, and will continue long after any legislation makes them illegal. I believe that voting pro-choice protects existing women, families and communities which we have invested in as a society by keeping abortion as safe as possible. I vote pro-choice because I believe that making abortion illegal would increase the rate of unnecessary death for fully grown women, and make criminals of women and doctors who are making what they believe is the best decision for them, in their own times and places and situations.
I vote pro-choice because I believe that there is an inescapable ethical and legal conflict inherent in any situation in which one being depends solely on the body and resources of another being for its existence, and this conflict is never more pronounced than when a fetus inhabits a woman’s body. To codify this conflict such that one party always necessarily wins seems to me a poor solution, whether the fully grown woman must always carry a pregnancy to term or a pregnant woman must always have an abortion. I vote pro-choice because I believe this conflict cannot be resolved in extremes, and is best resolved on an individual level rather than by a faceless, unaccountable government.
I vote pro-choice because I do not trust my government. My government turned its head while poor, Southern, black men were systematically denied treatment for syphilis. My government allowed laws to be passed permitting involuntary sterilization. My government has suppressed responsible sex education, allowed abstinence-only provisions to be largely written and spearheaded by a man who says, “Abstinence at the federal level is not primarily an STD prevention program. It is rather a marital preparation program. Also, it’s not about preventing teen pregnancy,” and pulled factual information on condom efficacy and abortion and breast cancer from its websites that did not support its political agenda. I vote pro-choice because the default position in our political system should be our government saying, “yes, we trust you” (with accurate information, and with personal decisions), not the other way around. I vote pro-choice because we are people, not pawns in a game with no consequences for those moving the pieces. I vote pro-choice because my government cannot be trusted to make my decisions for me, or for any other woman or families on such a personal level.