All Things Ellie

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Trust and Choices

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.

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8 comments on “Trust and Choices

  1. Andrew Badera
    January 22, 2010

    I’ve never really had the impression that anti-choice types were thinking of anyone but themselves, of their own beliefs, preferences and edicts. It doesn’t seem to me like it’s a matter of whether or not a woman is capable of making these choices — it’s a matter of zealots believing everyone should live as they do, or should live as they direct, pushing their beliefs on all without respect for people as fellow humans.

    • ellsbells
      January 23, 2010

      The problem is that many anti-choice individuals aren’t zealots. They’re being directed by zealots, educated by zealots and organized by zealots. This isn’t to say that there aren’t pro-choice zealots running around too; there are.

      The problem is that many anti-choice individuals worry about the morality of abortion. Most people don’t sit around and think up ways to be evil. The same people who think abortion should be banned probably sit around and try to be good people, or at least the ones I know do. I know many people who march with Right to Life to make abortion illegal and do so because they feel that abortion is immortal. They tend to be really good people.

      What they’re missing, and they’re missing it because of the propaganda machine, is that how moral the act is is different for everyone. We don’t know precisely when life begins. We take that as a matter of faith. And people probably differ about when life is okay to take. I refuse to kill, even in self-defence. I know others who have taken life.

      Abortion isn’t about morality or this country doing what’s right. We can’t all agree on those things. We need to trust each other, and yes women, that they put in the necessary thought and intelligence to make that decision. That’s what people are missing and until they figure that out, the debate will never be settled.

      • Andrew Badera
        January 23, 2010

        But that’s just it! It’s THEIR “morality” that matters. THEIR definitions of what’s right and what’s wrong! They feel that everyone else must live as they do or wish! Their way or the highway!

        That’s zealotry! When ‘you’ can’t see past the end of your own nose, when your perspective is the ONLY perspective worth considering, ‘you’re’ a zealot!

  2. Albany Jane
    January 22, 2010

    How could anyone boycott American Girl?

    I’ll admit, I freaking love those books. Samantha was my favorite since I always imagined Victorian times to be a wee bit more refined. I just brushed off the whole “no AC” thing. Okay, and I was totally in it for the food descriptions. I’ve still never had a petits four, but damnit do I ever think they’re tasty.

  3. cuteellaisbold
    January 22, 2010

    See that’s the problem with the whole Choice/Anti-Choice debate. Just because you have the Choice to do something, doesn’t mean you have to do it. I believe that women should have the Choice…that doesn’t mean I could do it.

    I wish people were more understanding and tolerable of other views. Blech.

  4. ellsbells
    January 22, 2010

    @Cuteellaisbold

    I specifically didn’t include my own opinion on the act of abortion itself because the debate, for me, isn’t whether or not I would have one. It’s more that a woman should have that choice and make the decision for herself. What’s right for me might not be right for someone else.

  5. thepoetryman
    January 22, 2010

    “If you can’t trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child?”

    Enough said.

  6. Emilia
    February 1, 2010

    I must say there are extremists on both sides of the question – like those who think a nine-year-old girl raped by her stepfather should carry the pregnancy to term AND those who don’t consider the termination of a 23-week pregnancy (without a valid medical reason) to be no different from an abortion in the first trimester. I think the majority of individuals fall somewhere in between.

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This entry was posted on January 22, 2010 by in counting your blessings, History, women's rights and tagged .
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