Today is the 37th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision (read the whole thing).
I’ve been thinking about what I would write for the last couple days, and other than incoherent ravings I didn’t think I had much to say, mostly just bullet points. But the incoherent ravings are huge. And frothy. I froth at the mouth when confronted with injustice.
A lot of the things I want to say are pretty inflammatory if you’re on the other side. Words like “forced-birth” and “fascist state” come to my mind, but I don’t want to use them because they don’t get my point across. That’s not true. They get one of my points across, but not in a way that accomplishes much.
Abortion has been legal for my entire lifetime. That’s a really hard sentence to follow — it’s been legal for my whole life. I’m about to turn thirty next week and that whole time this medical procedure has been legally available to women. Is that amazing to older feminists? It’s something I think I’ve taken for granted, so much so that the whole abortion/Baby-lies-to-her-Dad part of Dirty Dancing completely went over my head. What was the big deal? Baby didn’t lie to her Dad, after all. Wait, you mean this was illegal once?! My adolescence right there.
There are so many facets of this issue to talk about: how it’s actually not accessible by all women, thanks to the Hyde Amendment of 1976; how the granting of personhood to fetuses reduces the personhood and civil rights of the women carrying them; that the current attack on abortion rights seems to stem less from concern about unborn children than from a deep desire to keep women from attaining complete bodily autonomy WHAARRRGGARRBLL.
Ahem. dabs froth daintily from corner of mouth
The part of reproductive choice that I am most involved in is the choice of women to decide when, where and with whom we will give birth. The ‘when’ kind of encompasses most of the pro-choice argument, but the ‘where and with whom’ is part of my doula/labor and birth support activism. I am an advocate for a woman’s right to decide where she will give birth (at home in a pool for a natural birth after a cesarean, in a hospital with the Cadillac of epidurals) and with whom (do you want your whole neighborhood there? Just your partner?) because this is part of the whole package, the whole reproductive choice issue. The right to privacy and bodily integrity was a focus of the Supreme Court decision in 1973, and in 2010 that right is vanishing. If one part of our ability to self-determine is taken away, others are sure to follow and what will be the end result? Who benefits from that? Clearly not the women who are not allowed to decide for ourselves what to do with our bodies.
I’m a pro-choice doula, likely an unpopular stance in my profession (I haven’t met many of us yet), and I trust women to make our own decisions.