It’s a day late but in honesty, I just found about it today. If I had known there was a day in which to blog for Choice, I surely would have blogged about this yesterday. Everyone has their issues- no not THOSE issues- those social and/or political issues that they support, feel passionate about; those issues that drive them to activism. Surprise! Reproductive Rights is one of mine. As individualist and moderate as I am, is it any real wonder that I am Pro-Choice? It shouldn’t be.
Interestingly enough, "Boston Legal" (one of my favorite TV shows) had a very interesting episode last night, on the the 35th anniversary of Roe V. Wade. Coincidence? Could be but I doubt it. At any rate, one the regular looney clients stole a man’s sperm and got herself pregnant at a clinic and the man, not wishing to be a father, sued her. The looney client retained Shirley, a partner at the firm as counsel and the man retained, Alan, an associate as his. They were looking for the judge to order Shirley’s client to have an abortion since she stole the sperm and got herself pregnant without his permission.
It’s too bad you can’t yet view the full episodes of Boston Legal at the ABC site because I would surely recommend you see it. The episode addressed many issues about reproductive rights for both men and women, one of them being that some women feel that if they are not asking the man to be involved in any way in the kid’s life or decide to terminate the pregnancy and tell the man after the fact, it’s entirely okay to do so. Many women feel justified, even righteous in traveling down that road. Is it acting with integrity? Not in my book.
Doesn’t this take a man’s choice away from him? Shouldn’t he be
afforded the same reproductive rights as a woman, all things supposedly being
equal? According to the law, as I understand it, no. Once the sperm
leaves his body, it is no longer his. This is rarely an issue for women
because our eggs are long dead when they exit our bodies every month.
Yes, there is the whole egg donor thing, but that is better saved for
another post as would be the accusations that I am not a "real feminist" because I believe men have rights too.
I’ve never really wanted to "be a mom". My attitude was always kind
of cavalier; kind of a "if I get knocked up, I get knocked up and if
it’s with the right guy.." Not exactly a glowing endorsement for me as
a mother, I know. Yet I am sure if I had ever really chosen that road,
I would have made a terrific mom because once I am committed to something, I am committed to it full throttle. Most women I know with children,
really wanted to be mothers. It was in their plans. They found the
right man, got married and had babies. Some of them are still married
to that same guy. That wasn’t me. Still isn’t.
Manthing and I have been together nearly 13 years and we decided
against having kids. My attitude about it was entirely too cavalier and
I really didn’t want to change my lifestyle all that much. Then there
was the whole alcoholism and addiction thing to consider. Manthing had
his own reasons, which I am not free to disclose here and besides, his
sisters had 6 girls so we’ve had plenty of kids around. The good thing
is we can go home to our cluttered houseful of book and
critters and leave the tweenie attitude and eyerolling, mutterings under the breath out of which one can make out words like "lame" and "suck" and, of course, the temper tantrums behind.
As for me, I have made the choice to terminate pregnancies. Once
when I was doing some pretty heavy drugs and some hard drinking and had
the presence of mind to know I could not force my lifestyle or possible
birth defects on a kid who had no choice in the matter. The other time,
I was 10 months sober and it was a really hard decision to make. In
both cases, I told the men involved before the fact and in each case,
they were relieved. One was more than happy to allow me to foot the
bill and the other took responsibility and helped with the bill. In
both cases, I learned some very hard and profound lessons.
I have also had a miscarriage. I was 10 years sober and in a
relationship. I wanted to have
the baby and he did not. He was not
ready. I wasn’t sure I was either but it didn’t seem that terminating
was the thing to do either. I didn’t feel as though I could do that. It
didn’t feel right. I was also very aware that I was having a kid
against my boyfriend’s wishes and while he would do the "right thing",
I wasn’t entirely convinced he’d "get on the bus once he got used to
the idea". I was also painfully aware that he ultimately had no choice when push came to shove and as it turned out neither did I. It was one of the most stressful and uncomfortable times in
my life. While the miscarriage came as disappointment, it was also a relief.
It was a very mixed blessing, I think.
So having been there, I became an activist with ACT UP (after winning an AIDS/HIV ward at L.A. County
Hospital) campaign to rid Los Angeles of the pestilence that was
Randall Terry and his "Operation Rescue back in the day. I’ve done my stint as a volunteer escort outside my local Planned Parenthood clinics for several Saturday mornings for several years. I continue to vote my conscience and support Planned Parenthood.
I am very concerned with the government getting involved with contraception and determining what young girls learn about reproduction, contraception and choice. I believe abstinence only doesn’t work and that it should be presented as option along with other forms of birth control and sex ed. I am very concerned that my nieces will not have the freedom to choose what is right for them, legally and safely should they ever find it necessary, as they grow older.
It took women 74 years years of fighting and marching and starving to win the "right" to vote. It took nearly 100 years for women to be "granted" the right to choose for themselves what they would do with their bodies. If it is whittled away into nothing, women may never get it back.
For more reading about this I suggest Alternet’s Reproductive Justice and Gender section, NARAL, Bush VS Choice and, of course, Planned Parenthood. Or just do a Google search, you’ll find a bunch.