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Today is Blog for Choice Day

Blog for choice
Blog for choice

Today is the 33rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade descision. The site Bush v. Choice organized a "Blog for Choice Day" for today. Actions such as this are important as recent political movements have been chipping away at a woman's right to control her own body.

I grew up in a conservative home and a conservative religion, so I think I have a pretty good grasp of where pro-lifers are coming from in their ideology. But essentially, the religion I was brought up in (LDS) espoused "free agency". Some of the stories I was told in Sunday school as a child were of a "pre-existence" -- a sort of heaven before the earth was created by God. In this pre-existence, I was told, there was a war over the idea of free agency of the earthly existence. The angel Lucifer asked God to let him lead humanity, that he would make them obey God's will. The angel Jesus told God that he would let humans have free choice serve God's will or not. At the end of this "war", Lucifer and his anti-choice followers were cast down into "outer darkness".

I always remember this story whenever I hear about our (mostly) Mormon legislators here in Utah passing legislation that limits our free agency in many ways, from reproductive rights to instituting a lottery to benefit schools, to allowing kids to organize gay-straight alliances. I wonder if they got the same lessons in church that I did, and how they reconcile their own actions with that theology.

The beauty of choice, I've often felt, is that it honors everyone's choice. My choice to have my children is just as valid as that of someone who chooses to have an abortion or give their child up for adoption.

That essential choice is not always an easy one. Both of my children were unplanned and I was not married to either of their fathers, although I did later marry the father of my youngest. I went through each of my options over and over, carefully weighing the repercussions of each. In the end, both times, I chose to have my daughters. I would never condemn a woman who made a choice that was different than mine.

Raising a child does not only entail hard word and expense, but it can be so draining mentally, emotionally and physically that, in my experience, you sometimes feel as if are losing yourself. There are some rewards and benefits to having children, but there are rewards and benefits that are equally as good for those pursuing other paths in life. And there are rewards and benefits to having children when the timing is right: after you have had ample time to discover yourself and enjoy your life, after taking time to work on career goals and come to feel mature enough to handle motherhood.

It's interesting to me that the issue of abortion is often bundled together with other reproductive issues. I would think that those most involved with the fight against abortion would at least champion birth control and comprehensive sex education that generally reduce the need for abortion, but most of these people are fighting women's access to these options as well. This makes me wonder if those opposed to abortion are more attached to the idea of punishing women for being sexual than to any issue of fetal rights.

The ideological shift and the growing power of this regressive segment of society frightens and angers me. I am a whole human being, with hopes and dreams that don't necessarily have anything to do with raising children, and in some cases, are hindered by it. I am vital and interested in doing much in the outside world; I refuse to be limited or imprisoned by a narrow role defined by my physical ability to get pregnant.

My ultimate goal in life is to leave the world better than I found it. I intend to raise my girls with the full knowledge of all their options in life. I intend to raise them with the awareness that they are whole human beings, and that motherhood is one option among hundreds or thousands that they may choose from. I hope for a world where women not only have choices, but one where they have a supportive society that honors their choices.

_______________________________

My friend Eileen McCabe-Olsen wrote a very moving poem about women's choice for their bodies. She performed it last night at a poetry slam sponsored by the Slamdance Film Festival -- the rival to Sundance. (Photos from that event can be found here).

God Has a Plan B

I have figured out why

Bush, Ashcroft, Rove and Falwell

fear the woman with choice –

Because her god can beat their god

with one arm tied behind her back

Her god, my god has a Plan B.

My god is not foiled

by the knitting needle, the coat hanger

the pennyroyal, periwinkle, RU-486

or the compassionate physician.

My god does not stand helplessly by

wringing her hands and

whining to the next

Ghandi, Mother Teresa

Albert Einstein or Margaret Sanger

why they’ll never be born.

She just fills out a new boarding card

pats them on the head

and sends them on their way.

I have always known my limitations.

It is not for me to decide

which spirits will grace this earth.

But it is for me to decide

whether to invite them

into my body and into my life.

When the Great Mother comes knocking –

The answer can be no.

So to patriarchs everywhere –

Have a little faith in the powers that be.

Render unto God what is God’s -

But render unto Woman what is Woman’s.

Eileen McCabe-Olsen 04/26/2004 – 05/01/2004

 

 

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Jan. 22nd, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your personal account and thoughts and experiences. I am grateful for women who speak out for those of us who had to make the choice to terminate a pregnancy. Believe me, it is the hardest choice a woman can make. No matter the reason, it is a personal choice that only the individual knows the benefits/repercussions of and it is that individual who must live with the choice.

I later had three beautiful children in whom I have instilled the value of life and making personal choices. I would never condemn **anyone** for making choices that would affect their lives. I am thankful for Roe v Wade which permitted me to make the choices I faced.

A.D.
one_in_progress
Jan. 22nd, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC)
Wow, that is a brilliant poem. Thanks for sharing.
robynchick
Jan. 22nd, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)
I love the poem! I'm hanging it on my wall.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 23rd, 2006 06:29 am (UTC)
Thank you. Good piece of writing. I loved the poem. Again, thank you.
Rowan
http://bupp.blogs.com
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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Sunflower A
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Jennifer Killpack-Knutsen
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