Today was the 36th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the ruling that made abortion legal and kept many friends of mine from being prosecuted as criminals, from suffering at the hands of back-alley “physicians”, or from tying themselves to a situation for which they were not ready.
Today was also Blog for Choice Day. I’ve spent most of today trying to come up with a blog post about what having this choice means for me. My thoughts have mostly veered off from the issue of terminating (or not) a pregnancy to the ability (or not) of a woman to choose how she wants to birth.
The issue at the heart of both the abortion debate and the less well-known birth debate is the same: bodily autonomy. Who has it? Who gives it up? Who takes it over if it is abandoned? Education, evidence-based policies, and scientific research give us the best information with which to make our decisions and maintain our autonomy, and I’m glad that President Obama’s inaugural address indicated a return to those particular values. Because as a birth doula, my whole reason for working in this field is to help women maintain their autonomy and their ability to choose not only where and with whom they give birth, but also when and if they do at all.
Edited to add:
I just now (Friday 1/23 at 9:15am) found this message from President Obama (seriously, I get such a huge happy every time I type that) regarding the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision:
“On the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are reminded that this decision not only protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose.
While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue, no matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make. To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services.
On this anniversary, we must also recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights and opportunities as our sons: the chance to attain a world-class education; to have fulfilling careers in any industry; to be treated fairly and paid equally for their work; and to have no limits on their dreams. That is what I want for women everywhere.”