Disclaimer: CW- Sexual Assault, Reproductive Rights, also, I use “women” throughout my writing, but note, I recognize gender as more expansive than a binary..
When I was younger, they were the monsters. These folks had long white jackets and grabby long fingers. They were snake-like, waiting to commit homicide like those portrayed in the Dreamworks’ film The Prince of Egypt. They were the ones excited to do harm. I learned about being “pro-life” before I fully learned what consent meant.
It was around the time that I was slowly become awakened to feminism and to identifying many of the societal norms that were created to hold me back that I remember someone that I respect deeply taking a moment to reflect on the hard work of those health care workers conducting and facilitating abortions. This was a different narrative than I was taught. It struck me. This individual was grateful for the unpopular person that was showing kindess.
The years passed, and it became something that I initially was not fully settled on. I was privileged to not have an opinion yet. It was something that I was scared to come to a decision on, and yes, I was not knowledgeable enough to do so. It haunted me because I was in the gray, and I was not sure how to fully connect myself completely with the movements of second wave feminism because of ambivalence.
As I started to learn even more about sexual assault, about rape culture, about the subjugation of women when it comes to procreation, about forced sterilization of BIPOC folks, about the start of “pro-life” movements having ties to white supremacy, and about my friends who are in the middle of infertility treatment, I realized that I was pro-choice. The monster was not a monster, but rather someone trying to provide mercy and a way out.
In the United States, women make money less than men for the same jobs. Women are reporting sexual assault and intimate partner violence at increased rates. Women are shut out of job promotions, called “aggressive” and “bossy;” They are socialized that even if they are a part of two income household, they are the ones meant to take the majority of the house work. Women are still not granted clear equal rights within our Constitution (aside from the fact that we were not written into fabric and systems in this country.) Women are still at a disadvantage, and if a society lacks abortion and birth control access, it means that a woman can be assaulted or coerced into unprotected sex and have their whole lives change and/or destroyed.
My belief and option hit a point of complete solidification when I helped someone locate a Planned Parenthood that was close to them, that would assist with their insurance, and who would help them with an at-home abortion. This is someone who checked all the boxes- at risk of their life trajectory being destroyed by an unplanned pregnancy (check), forced into a sexual encounter that they did not consent to (check), who saw this as a mercy after being forced to have many of children before (check). I recall shortly afterward reflecting and feeling that what I did was not “helping evil” but it was mercy. It was helping someone find a way out when hope seemed lost.
So, here we stand, I am pro-babies; my partner will tell you that I am always showing him photos of my friends’ and my relatives’ children. I love the faces covered in chocolate ice cream who laugh at the most mundane things. I am pro-babies for my friend seeking fertility treatment; lord, if you did not know the utter crazy that those treatments are, let me tell you that folks in treatment are BAD-ASSES! I am pro-babies for the friends that want one kid, two kids, or ten kids.
I am also pro-choice. It is of my belief that women should not have to be at the mercy of men choosing to not be violent and assault. I am pro-choice for my friends that are holding off on having children. I am pro-choice for my friends that say that they do not want children. I am pro-choice for my friends that are sexually active and are on birth control. I am pro-choice also because the alternative is a rise in suicides and women dying trying to have their own abortion. I believe that women are capable of making decisions over their own bodies as men have been making over theirs for years.
For my friends and folks that I know who struggle with recognizing abortion as something other than the monster coming for babies, I promise you it is okay to wrestle, but I encourage you to learn, to listen to the accounts of other people; see below for some quick ideas to get started. For my friends and folks that support no-abortions even in cases of sexual assault, I encourage you to learn about the effects of trauma and note how forcing someone who was sexually assaulted to carry a fetus to full term would be heavily traumatic. For my friends and folks that are pro-choice and are putting themselves on the line to fight for these rights, my heart is with you always.
“This is something central to a woman’s life, to her dignity. It’s a decision that she must make for herself. And when government controls that decision for her, she’s being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”- Ruth Bader Ginsburg
To Read More:
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