My Contribution to the Pro-Choice Argument

 

 

Every time I open Facebook I hesitate to think about current political news to steel myself for posts from my conservative “friends.” Most recently my timeline holds posts raging against New York Senate Bill S2796, The Reproductive Health Act which allows licensed health care professionals to perform an abortion when they have good reason to believe that the fetus is not viable or the mother’s life is at risk, and protects both the doctor and mother from criminal charges. I’ve seen mothers sharing pictures of themselves with their children saying how their Christian faith led them through difficult pregnancies, shaming other women for demanding to have a choice, saying that they’re only hurting themselves. Anti-choice men who don’t even know how periods work are screaming for justice for their “legacies.” As I scroll through the anti-choice propaganda looking for the latest post from Augustana Memes for Trimester Teens, I have to hold myself back from commenting on article after article and anecdote after anecdote about how important safe abortion is to women all over the world.

 

I was recently involved in a book club project with Shout Your Abortion. SYA is a pro-choice movement that encourages women to tell their stories and destigmatize abortion. The book is a collection of stories from women who have had abortions as well as abortion providers. When I first saw the email about the opportunity my immediate reaction was sincere interest. I have not personally ever needed an abortion, so I have no idea what the experience is like and this book club offered to give me some insight. So I signed up and waited for my book to be ready for pick up. Fortunately, I got the book right before Winter break so I was able to get into it right away. When I started the book I had very little idea what to expect, I was thinking the stories would all be along the same lines and there would be stories of women that did regret their decision but I don’t know why I thought that. The actual book was much more satisfying and liberating. All of the stories were completely different except for one common thread: no regret. Not a single one of the women in the book felt any regret about their decision to get an abortion. There were women who had had a single abortion because the timing just wasn’t right for them, there were women who had had multiple abortions, there were women who had abortions pre-Roe v. Wade! The diversity in the stories was just incredible. I went to the discussion feeling prepared to listen, which is what I mostly did. The discussion helped me comprehend how I felt about the book and what it meant for me as a person capable of having children. I went into it knowing that abortion was a really important right for women but I came out having learned more specifics about why (including some terrifying facts about pregnancy).

 

Not even a month after my book club revelations, New York passed the Reproductive Health Act and all hell broke loose (again) on social media. Anti-choice people brought out the old arguments against women’s right to health care under the guise of being concerned for unborn children and women were again forced to scream back, defending their bodies against another onslaught of disregard for female humanity. I tried not to be too outspoken on Facebook (I shared some sensible articles) but I retweeted and tweeted and liked as many pro-choice arguments as I could find. The longer I scrolled through social media and the longer I reflected on my book club experience, the more firm became my belief that anti-choice people have no idea what they’re talking about. As a liberal leaning young woman, I try to remain civil in my politics, mostly refusing to stoop to the level of some conservatives, but I am just sick and tired of all the cr*p that women have to put up with. FORTY-SIX YEARS after Roe v. Wade we have a Supreme Court threatening our rights. FORTY-SIX YEARS after Roe v. Wade I have to tread lightly when arguing pro-choice in case someone throws the “murder” argument my way. FORTY-SIX YEARS after that groundbreaking case I have to scramble to defend and protect a medical procedure that I don’t know if I’ll ever need but that millions of women find absolutely necessary right this very second. Abortion should not be stigmatized and feared and hidden in the shadows. Abortion should be SHOUTED! Abortion is an incredibly safe and easy procedure that women require for so many different reasons some of which are listed below for your consideration:

  1. Not ready to start a family because

    1. Financial situation

    2. Abusive relationship

    3. Underage

    4. Illness/Death in the family

    5. School/Career

    6. Other stress

  2. Doesn’t ever want to have children

  3. Already has children and doesn’t want more because

    1. Financial situation

    2. Illness/Death in the family

    3. Changing circumstances

    4. “Over” age

  4. Rape/Trauma

  5. Mother’s life endangered

  6. Lack of fetal viability (fetus won’t survive outside the womb)/Other fetal defects

  7. Any reason the person wants to give/The person seeking the abortion doesn’t need a reason

My experience with Shout Your Abortion left me feeling confident and inspired, proud to be a woman with the power to shout anything I want. I walked out of the book club with a swagger, like I felt I could fight any senator or congressman to the death over abortion and win my right to safe and affordable prenatal healthcare. I encourage you to check out the book and never forget that you are strong and capable and have the right to CHOOSE.

 

Prenancy/Abortion resources:

National Abortion Federation

Quad Cities Pregnancy Resources

Planned Parenthood