It's like Sex and the Suburbs and 30 Rock all rolled into one…
Bitch Media alerted me that today is Blog For Choice Day, aka the 37th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision. They pose the question: What does Trust Women mean to you?
Well, it reminds me of an old bumper-sticker I saw in the liberal heart of America – the Woodstock Village Green – that read “If you can’t trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child?” I found sage words from a propaganda tool and they’ve always stuck with me my entire life, no matter where along the political spectrum I’ve found myself. Indeed how can a society trust women to raise its children if it cannot trust them to decide whether or not to have that child? Our society is still very much expects women to raise and educate children. It is the female of the species that is considered the more nurturing, the one with more of a biological imperative to bond with offspring. There are multitudes more stay at home mothers than there are stay at home fathers. And yes, while fathers play a crucial part in bringing up children, I think we naturally assume, as a society, that the mothers do most of the grunt work, like changing the diaper, making the food, making sure the child eats it, and is responsible for the early education.
We trust these women to raise children that are functional members of society and do so with little interference or interaction. Certainly there are extreme cases, such as abuse, but those are a minority. For the most part, women have children and then get to figure it all out sometimes with the help of friends, family and a partner, but often times without.
Anti-Choice individuals don’t trust women with the decision to have a child, even going so far as to try and limit the ready availableness of contraceptives. It insults the intelligence of women everywhere. Raising children requires the same deliberate thought that goes into deciding whether or not to have an abortion. A parent – a mother – must decide very important, life affecting things for a child while raising it. I know that good parents tend to put a lot of thought into these choices. Well, deciding whether or not to have an abortion requires the same thought, indeed it often involves counselling sessions that require deep, critical thought.
By taking away that right to make that choice, a conservative politician is telling his or her women constituents that he or she does not believe that they have the mental capacity to choose. They are saying “we don’t care what logical thought you put into this decision. We don’t think you are capable of making that choice.” At this point, they should also take the child away from the parent at birth. Obviously they do not trust the parent in choosing to let the fetus develop, how on earth can they trust this parent with the task of raising the child properly? The kid could get all sorts of ideas about civil liberties, the right to choose, the responsibility of choices and consequences. We wouldn’t want that, would we? It’s degrading to my intelligence as a human; it should be for you.
A few years ago, Anti-Choice zealots began boycotting American Girl. You know, the company that makes the dolls that depict strong, fiercely intelligent young women in various historical settings. My objection to boycotting a doll company that has for several years to empowered young girls is that it shows a lack of respect for a woman’s intelligence. Yes, some of these girls are going to decided that birth control is okay. Yes, some of these girls are going to support the Roe v. Wade decision. Some of these girls are going to look at the information and agree that ending pregnancies is terrible. hey deserve to get the information. They still deserve to make that choice based on information. They deserve the right to use the intellectual capabilities that God has granted humanity. Girls Inc included an historical court decision to an advocacy page. To ignore the occurrence of that court decision is to ignore history and a large percentage of politics. But to deny these girls the information they need to make their own life choices seems to me a lack of respect for their intelligence.
Without trust, and the ability to make important choices, are women truly full and active members of society? It’s a question that I can’t fully answer. I just haven’t worked it out yet.
The anniversary of Roe v Wade is certainly about the legality – not morality – of abortion and other forms of contraceptives. However, it’s also about trusting women to make important choices and letting them deal with the consequences. Those choices cannot not be made without trust, and that’s a big part of what the abortion debate is about.