Today is the 36th anniversary of Roe V Wade. While I have never had to make the difficult choice of whether to keep a pregnancy or not, it was a choice I gave consideration to theoretically once I began to think about becoming sexually active. Knowing how easily my mom had become pregnant with me, I was deathly afraid of repeating her history of a young accidental pregnancy (she was 21). And unlike her, if it had come down to college or pregnancy, I suspected I might choose college. I have a former friend who chose to have an abortion when we were in our mid-twenties. She was in an abusive relationship, and she wasn’t prepared to (a) be a single mom and (b) have this person in her life forever…so she chose to abort the baby. It was actually her second abortion-the first was the summer in between high school and college-her parents were in the midst of a nasty divorce, both she and her high school boyfriend were heading off to college in six weeks, and her weight had dropped to about 90 lbs. She always said she had no doubts and no regrets about the first abortion, but that the second, while the right choice for her, was much harder. I can now say that I know how difficult pregnancy can be. I certainly didn’t have an easy one. I can only imagine the emotional damage having to go through all of that carrying an unwanted child could cause. One of the few things that kept me going was how desperately I loved Hope and Elanor. I have, technically, had an abortion. The D&C after Hope died in utero was an abortion. It makes me so angry to hear anti-choice people lie about the process of abortion and how horribly the remains are treated. I can attest that Hope was removed from my body respectfully and her remains were treated reverently. What makes me angry is that my daughter will not grow up with the same choices I had. While Roe V Wade is safe, more or less, it is constantly being chipped away at. Many women live too far away from the nearest location where they can procure a safe abortion. Women can no longer receive late term abortions that might save their lives (such as D&E’s-what the religious right misguidedly calls “partial birth abortions”) Parental notification laws tie the hands of teens. They are expensive. And then to make it all worse, you have states like Virginia, who are trying to criminalize miscarriage (don’t believe me? go to http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2009/sb962/ ). And let’s not forget that Bush screwed us one last time by sending through his physicians conscience executive order on 1/19/08 allowing any pharmacist, doctor or medical professional the right to refuse birth control, abortion counseling, or other reproductive freedoms on the grounds of “religious convictions”–in other words to avoid doing their JOBS (Don’t like abortion? Become a podiatrist, why don’t you?!). The second wave of feminism said that the personal is political. This is especially true when we think about reproductive freedom because they are literally trying to impose laws on our physical bodies. So for today I will put aside my fears for the future and simply say thank you for Roe V Wade.
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