Today is Blog For Choice Day. I chose, last year, to blog my personal story about why I am pro-choice. This year, I want to focus on the governmental role in this debate.
Who, exactly, is our government to impose their morality on us? By and large, this government, and those of most of the Western world, are run by affluent white guys. Men can never understand the fear of pregnancy, and unwanted pregnancy at that, so why should they legislate what they do not understand? How can they codify something so basic and personal? This isn't making the hippies of the sixties cut their hair before they can enter Disneyland -- this is the forced bearing of, and care for another human being for at least 18 years! And why are so many fundamentalists okay with this? You would never see Congress debating forced sterilization laws -- why should it be the woman's reproductive rights that are curtailed? Amazing as it may seem in what is supposed to be an enlightened age, there are still men who feel that the decision needs to be taken away from women because they too often tempt men -- the whole "Eve got us cast out of the Garden of Eden, so it is woman's lot to bear the shame, and the children" argument. As Cro-Magnon as it is, there are still men in power who want to take the whole decision away from women because, poor things, they get all hysterical when the difficult topics are raised. Must be their time of the month.
Hasn't the United States power structure over the last few decades proven to the general public that they are not immune to making mistakes? That they will even lie to us? That they, like everyone else, have biases and prejudices that lead them to make bad decisions, even sometimes hasty decisions?
My dissatisfaction with choice being a political platform is that "They" make having an opinion a bad thing. Either you believe just what they believe, or you are wrong, and often even *worse* than wrong -- immoral, indecent, and damned to hell. And surely, since you can't think rationally, we have to take the decision-making process out of your hands!
What I believe in may not necessarily be what YOU believe in, but does that give you the right to stop me? Does that give you the right to take away my ability to think and decide for myself? The knee-jerk response of the politicos is to say that they abhor the idea of abortion because it concerns (and cuts short) human life -- well, yeah. It does. But, what you often gloss over is the woman it also affects. I know plenty of people who are not what I'd call "mother material." They choose to remain childless because they realize this about themselves. Rather than doing a bad job, and screwing up the life of a child, they've actually been fairly responsible enough to say, "You know...I'd rather not put a child through that." I would rather someone choose NOT to bring a life into this world that they know they are unequipped to deal with than to see a woman bear child after child that she cannot care for, and even worse, resents.
I have a big problem with men being the driving force behind all of the pro-life rhetoric. While I think that they are allowed their opinion, I do not think it should carry as much weight at a woman's, simply because they are bystanders in the issue. Sure, it takes a man (or a product of man, the sperm) to get a woman pregnant, so his opinion should not be completely discounted. But, all of the real decision making should lie with the woman -- the woman who has to bear the child. The woman who could be endangering her own health, both physically and mentally, by bearing a child that she may not want, or does not have the means to care for.
Don't mistake me -- I'm neither a man-hater nor a child-hater. I'm a straight, white, married, middle-class mother of one. I love my life, and I'm proud of both my husband and my child. But -- there are people out there who are not as fortunate as I am right now. I myself, was once not so fortunate, but had I not had a choice, what I am today could be radically different from what I could have been. I'm lucky in that I was affluent enough to be able to make the choices I did. I could not imagine the heartache of being one of those disenfranchised ladies who are faced with an unwanted pregnancy, and no other option.
I do not think that the government has any right to dictate my reproductive rights to me. I resent wealthy white men coming over all bombastic and rigid over abortion rights when they can never experience it for themselves. When they often don't care enough to use birth control in the first place or take care of their unborn child once it has been created. Isn't it enough the government pokes their nose into my rights plenty as it is? My life is pretty much an open book -- what you see is what you get -- but do I have to sacrifice even my body upon the altar of their morality? The answer is "no." And, in my opinion, "no" it shall remain.