I am a breeder, a pro-life breeder with a small “p”. I believe in choice and in life, a woman’s life, with the safe, legal and accessible termination of pregnancy. It is not up for debate — when we limit legal access to safe abortion, women die.
In nursing school, I had a professor who never smiled, she never engaged in small talk or strayed from the academic topic of the day. Only once did she tell us a personal story which was about the day that Roe v Wade passed. At the time she was working on the postpartum floor, not with the new mothers but behind the double doors that roomed women who had found ways to terminate their pregnancies. The unit was always full. She described women that were septic, women that were hemorrhaging, women that were recovering from hysterectomies due to botched abortions. She told us how daily, women died. These women were mothers to children at home, they were sisters, aunts, students, and many were survivors of sexual violence. She ended her testimony by stating that in less than a month after Roe v Wade passed, those beds emptied, there were no new admissions and those doors closed for good.
As long as there has been sex there have also been abortions. Perhaps at different points in history, the shame we now associate with this choice was not always an issue. Making this choice can sometimes be the best thing a woman can do for her family, her health, and her future.
Today, the abortion rate is down. This is not because women are more devout, celibate or angelic but partly because the ACA. Birth control is more accessible. Organizations like Bedsider.org are giving people information about birth control and safer sex. People are discussing sex and sexual health with more honesty.
And yet, this access to birth control, this freedom of sexual expression and discussion is once again under threat. Our culture fears women’s sexual expression unless it is at the pleasure of the male gaze. Many don’t want to talk about sex for pleasure, particularly for a woman’s pleasure. They don’t want to talk about birth control on a woman’s terms and men’s responsibility in safer sexual practices. And now we are a nation lead by a predator who shows no respect for women, who in fact, openly and proudly violates women. Consent? Over forty years after Roe v Wade, we are once again fighting for our freedom, for our safety, for our rights.
I could go on and on about my country’s history of the forced sterilization of women color. I could discuss how important Planned Parenthood is, scream about how Pro-Lifers care about the lives of the “unborn” but not about the lives of immigrant infants…about how some of those same Pro-Lifer’s believe in the death penalty and torture. But I won’t because it all boils down to one simple fact. Women’s rights ARE human rights.
Every human should have the right to choice over their own body. I am not suggesting that abortion is a thoughtless easy process because it’s not. Terminating a pregnancy is never easy and usually full of doubt, even when it might seem like the clear right choice for the individual, for her goals, for her health and for the strength of her future or present family.
On January 21st, I marched with my family by my side alongside millions of other women around the world. I hope my children will never have to make that choice, as we talk about consent and safer sex practices at home. We marched because if they ever do have to choose I want them to choose freely, without fear, without shame and live to tell as I do.