Blog for Choice 2013 – I Don’t Need Feelings, I Need Justice
Tuesday January 22 marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision, as well as being Blog for Choice Day. This year’s theme for Blog for Choice is for writers to share their personal stories of why they’re pro-choice.
I’m not feeling it.
I’m not big on the personal stories, although I know that’s contrary to the current social media and campaigning-in-general gospel. There’s a reason my mom jokingly calls me Sheldor from time to time. My heartstrings don’t really get tugged like that, and I don’t really think the bodily autonomy of half the population should be up to whether other people get the feels or not.
I don’t really get why people post pictures of smiling white babies, or images of fetuses with notes about when they get toenails, as anti-abortion propaganda, either. I don’t care if you think baby toenails are freaking adorable, that’s no reason to tell another person what they have to give their body over to.
I get the idea behind it – that abortion has been so stigmatized, and women who get abortions so stereotyped, that finding out that they’re really your friends and relatives and neighbors and they had legit reasons to get abortions, that they had stories you could sympathize with, is supposed to be moving. Maybe it does convince some folks to bend a little on their anti-abortion beliefs – especially when we get the stories of women who die or nearly die for lack of a needed abortion, or whose much-wanted fetuses turn out to be incompatible with life.
To me, this is too similar to the “only moral abortion is my abortion” trope – it’s not at all uncommon for the anti-choice to have their own abortions while justifying them because of whatever is happening to them at the time. It’s and expanded version – “Well, yours was okay, and maybe yours…” – while retaining the right to judge and restrict all the other women. I sincerely hope reading some confessionals in other Blog for Choice posts convinces at least a few people that women who choose abortion are doing the best they can, for themselves and their families, in their own circumstances. I don’t think it should be necessary in the first place.
If those personal stories move you to be more compassionate toward the 1 in 3 U.S. women who have abortions in their lifetimes, more power to you. I personally don’t have a story to move people along. I have no heart-rending tale of trauma, no sister whose hand I held, no tear-stained waiting room narrative.
What I have is an unwavering belief that I’m the absolute best person, the only right person, to decide whether I have to endanger myself to give over my body to the physical needs of another being. Much like I don’t think the government should legally require parents to provide organ donations to their children even if those children might die without them, I don’t think anybody else should tell me I have to use my body as life support for another being. I believe there can be no equality, there can be no justice for women, when other people can require them to play host to an unwanted, internal, potentially life-threatening guest based on their own theology or desires.
What I have is the knowledge that abortion has existed as long as women have, and will continue on as long as human women do. Restricting access just makes it harder, just punishes women more, just hurts real, born people. I know that in a room full of women, if you look to your left and your right, one of you is having an abortion before you kick the bucket. Of that 1/3, the vast majority of you will be religious, and already mothers. They are us. We are them. Regardless, human rights and reproductive justice shouldn’t be up to whoever gets the warm fuzzies. I don’t care about your warm fuzzies, I care about my own freedom.
I don’t have the feels. I have a conviction. My body is mine, and anybody else who wants to live in it needs my permission to do so. Period. The end.