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May 5, 2022

Every Child a Wanted Child & Every Body our Own: What “Pro-Life” really Means.

 

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Like most people I know, I am appalled at the leaked draft of the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

It reeks of the eternal desire to control the sovereignty of potentially childbearing people and the belief that the government is authorized to make decisions that affect not only that person, but the unborn (or as anti-abortion protestors call “the pre-born”) and society as a whole, for a lifetime. I am curious as to the source of the leak and wonder if it will turn the tide in terms of the upcoming elections. According to recent polls, more than half of the Americans surveyed consider themselves pro-choice.

Since the breach, thousands have gathered throughout the country to raise their voices in protest over the as not yet final, decision. In my town of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, a rally was held, and had I not been newly diagnosed with COVID-19, I would have joined them. To be clear, I am not pro-abortion. I am pro-choice.

There are so many nuanced aspects to the decision about whether to become pregnant, or whether to remain pregnant. Unplanned pregnancies occur even if contraception is used. Unhealthy pregnancies (whether for the fetus or the pregnant person) happen and a decision about quality of life needs to be made. Those for whom pregnancies are foisted upon them through rape have the right to decide whether to continue with it and not have their choice taken from them, causing further trauma.

When you have a child, you are raising an adult. A few years back, those wise words came from a young woman who told me that she had gotten pregnant unexpectedly and had a miscarriage. As sad as she was about that outcome, she was also relieved since she didn’t believe she had the ability to raise a child at her age and also couldn’t imagine giving them up for adoption.

I am not pro-abortion. I am pro-choice.

I am pro-life after birth, wanting to be sure that children are cherished, loved, and cared for outside the womb. Pro-life status is all about the right to walk free regardless of melanin content, culture, gender, and faith tradition.

I am pro-life after birth, insisting on a clean and healthy environment for the next generations.

I am pro-life after birth, wanting sane gun control laws.

I am pro-life after birth, wanting people to be accepted regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation.

I am pro-life after birth, wanting to amplify the voices of those who are not being heard.

I am pro-life after birth, protecting children from abuse and witnessing abuse.

I am pro-life after birth, expecting that people have the right to personal agency and body sovereignty.

Other reasons I am pro-choice:

>> This law and others that might follow are not merely a “noble” attempt to save the lives of the unborn, but a means of controlling the lives of those who possess the reproductive organs to potentially give birth.

>> I have heard and read stories of rape, some by incest, that resulted in pregnancy. Beyond the devastation of having body sovereignty ripped from them is the reality that the victim would be compelled to carry the perpetrator’s child to term.

>> How many who oppose abortion support a safe, healthy life for the children who are already alive? Are they in favor of programs that provide food, shelter, and clothing? Are they only interested in the well-being of children whose skin color, culture, or religion matches their own?

>> As conscientious and careful as people may be, contraception sometimes fails.

>> The purpose of sex isn’t just reproduction. Saying yes to sex doesn’t mean saying yes to pregnancy.

>> Some people can’t afford contraception.

>> Sex education in schools is primarily abstinence-based and an abject failure.

>> There are some who are a thread in a multi-generational family abuse quilt.

>> Pregnant people should have access to safe abortions.

>> I know women who have been faced with that dilemma and were grateful that they had the choice since Roe v. Wade had become law in their lifetime. It was not a cavalier decision that they made lightly.

>> In 1992, I had an ectopic pregnancy and under this potentially horrific new law, I might have had to justify the lifesaving surgery I had after my fallopian tube ruptured.

>> Raising a child is an awesome responsibility, one not to be entered into lightly. I wonder how many people think it through and consider that it is a lifelong commitment.

There is a meme going around indicating that anyone who doesn’t have a uterus shouldn’t make decisions for those who do. My contention is that even those who have a uterus have no right to decide what others should do with theirs.

I read a powerful article penned by Jessica Valenti called “F*ck You, I’m Done—We’ll get our abortions whether you like it or not” that projects the loud and clear message, “Abortion is a human right and a moral good.” And I’m done feeling humiliated. No more bad faith debating, no more explaining basic medical facts or pinning our hopes on politicians. Right now, my only priority is making sure that anyone who needs an abortion can get one safely. And after years of doing this work, the one thing I do have faith in is that a nation full of furious feminists can make that happen. As the organization Shout Your Abortion put it this week, “F*ck SCOTUS, we’re doing it anyway.”

Imagine what kind of world we would be inhabiting if every child was wanted, provided for, nurtured, never abused or neglected, loved, and cherished. That includes those who could potentially become pregnant, whether by choice, happenstance, or violation. Imagine a world where every person had the right to body sovereignty that was not legislated by someone other than that person. The right to life would take on an entirely different meaning.

To be clear, overturning Roe v. Wade won’t prevent abortions. It will prevent safe abortions. Reproductive health should be everyone’s right.

~

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