Pregnant and pro-choice

16 Mar

These days, I split my reading time pretty evenly between pregnancy/alternative parenting blogs and feminist publications. It disturbs me how so much of the supposedly “alternative” mama universe is so essentialist. Breast is ALWAYS best, women are NATURALLY nurturers, Attachment Parenting is the ONLY valid child-rearing theory. In the midst of these often polemical discussions, I rarely see these activist mothers declaring themselves to be pro-choice. Perhaps some of them are and just don’t feel the need to mention it. Or maybe many of them aren’t.

Either way, I feel the need to state loudly and unequivocally that I am pro-choice. That translated to so many different issues that affect women. I believe all women should have access to a full spectrum of reproductive health care, including safe and accessible abortions. I don’t think that every woman should want to (or be forced to) carry a child. I believe that life begins when a baby is born and not before. And I believe that women should be able to make choices — alone or with their partner(s) — about how to feed, nurture and care for their children.

I find it unbelievable that contraception has become a polemical issue in the U.S. once again. What year is it, 1958?!? And the recent spate of mandatory ultrasound laws for women seeking abortions is the most condescending, vindictive, woman-hating trend I have seen in contemporary North American politics.

That being said, I would like to present two heroes of the week. The first is Garry Trudeau, veteran creator of the Doonesbury comic strip.This week, has been running a week-long criticism of the Texas mandatory ultrasound/abortion law. Here is just one brilliant piece of it:

And the bravery award should really go to a woman named Carolyn Jones from Texas, who was courageous enough to write about her experience terminating a much-wanted pregnancy, after discovering that the fetus had catastrophic abnormalities. Already facing a gut-wrenching decision, she was forced to shuttle between clinics, undergo a non-consensual ultrasound (where the doctor was forced to describe all of the fetus’ body parts in excruciating detail) and then wait 24 hours before she could terminate her pregnancy. Truly horrifying. My heart goes out to her and my rage over this violation know no boundaries.

In Canada, a Member of Parliament has brought forward a Private Member’s Bill that would seek to establish legal status for fetuses as human beings. These kinds of “slippery slope” laws have led to situations in the U.S. where women have been jailed and charged with murder after having miscarriages or giving birth to babies with disabilities. The group National Advocates for Pregnant Women has been following and fighting all of these cases.

Needless to say, I expect to find myself on Parliament Hill some day soon, sporting an obvious baby bump and a large sign that says “Pregnant and Pro-Choice.” I hope you’ll join me.

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5 Responses to “Pregnant and pro-choice”

  1. cathy March 19, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    pregnancy has made me more vocally and virulently pro-choice.

  2. pajamamommas March 20, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    Hi! I found your blog via Gus&Otto. Thank you for this! I agree with cathy that pregnancy actually increased my pro-choice committments. It was a powerful and complicated experience to have my body taken over by this little critter, even though it was a very wanted pregnancy. The idea of being forced to continue with an unwanted pregnancy became even more abhorent.

    • Hazel Cohen April 21, 2012 at 4:03 am #

      I couldn’t have said it better. That was exactly my experience too.

  3. ladycurd April 5, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    Likewise being pregnant confimed my pro-choice feelings. Having an ectopic pregnancy removed and realising there are idiots (thankfully a tiny tiny minority of the pro-life movement) who would rather see me die than remove the embryo which has zero chance of survival and save my life.
    Great blog!

  4. Hazel Cohen April 21, 2012 at 4:01 am #

    I love this post. Pregnancy IS political!

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