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ABORTION- Oooo, the buzz word. Say the word abortion and people either come running toward you or go running away. Say the word abortion and people either thank you or hate you.

An interesting phenomenon that has been happening is that abortion is being used as the front running issue to take rights and healthcare away from women.

I imagine women who are anti-choice or anti-the right to have an abortion, believe, at least some of them, that women who want abortion to be legal think abortion is great and that it should be used as birth control. I have talked with a lot of women about abortion over the years and I have never met anyone who is like ‘Woo Hoo Yay, I love abortion.’ Most people don’t love abortion, they love that they can say, “No I don’t want one” or “Yes I do” and that other women also have that choice. Most people who are pro-the right to have an abortion understand it is a necessary option.

I am ‘pro-the right to have an abortion.’ Pro-life is a term that has been used to try to make it seem like people for women’s right to make choices for themselves hate life or want to kill babies. That’s not true. I love babies. I love being alive. I love that I have a voice. I love that I can choose things for my life and for myself. I love my family and friends and all the many people I have met in this world. Even the people who disagree with what I am writing here in this post, I love that we are all alive together on this planet in this amazing but often difficult life. I love life. You might even say that I’m pro-life, except politically, I’m not. You can call me pro-choice. Why? There are several reasons.

1. As a woman, I want to be able to make choices for my own body. I have been through enough life to make decisions for myself. I have the right to self-determination. 

Anti-abortion laws say women are too feebleminded to make their own decisions. Well, you know what? That’s not true. I am smart and need to be trusted to make decisions that best meet my individual needs. Trust me to talk to friends and family and maybe my pastor, not to a law that doesn’t care at all about me, and make a decision within my cultural and spiritual lenses about what is right for me.

2. Self preservation. The no abortion laws could kill me. In order to save a fetus that might not make it far enough along to live anyway, anti-abortion laws say it’s okay that I am murdered. So, I lose my life and my child, if s/he survives, loses her or his mother. That doesn’t seem okay. What if the fetus is two days old, what if the fetus is eight weeks old? Save the fetus that might not even live, but kill me? What am I, suicidal?

3. Emotional and Physical Health. There are situations when complications from a pregnancy put the woman at risk and she will die if the fetus continues to live (even though the fetus might not survive in the long run). Women’s health needs to be a priority. There are also situations of rape and incest when a child from sexual violence will not be wanted and cared for and the woman who is carrying the fetus needs to have the choice whether or not to have a full pregnancy and baby from sexual violence. When women are raped, their choice is taken away. She needs to be able to make the choice about whether she will keep a child from that violence. Some women choose to. Some women choose not to. To preserve the woman’s mental/emotional health, having a choice about safe and legal abortion is necessary.

Women die from pregnancy complications and childbirth. It is not okay to kill a woman who has a life, a family, friends, a job, a home, dreams, appointments next week….to save a fetus.

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that 536,000 women die during childbirth each year  and that childbirth is actually more dangerous for women than abortions. From these deaths, approximately one million children are left without their mothers.

4. It’s a slippery slope. What is being called “personhood” is being pushed for, saying life begins at conception, which from a biological viewpoint, doesn’t make sense, but it allows anti-choice supporters to rally against women’s healthcare choices like having access to the morning after pill. A “personhood” law would also limit contraception, like condoms, birth control pills, IUDs,… But, in countries where contraception is limited, there are more abortions (usually illegal) and they are often more dangerous for the woman. In a world where condoms are taken away, there are not only more unwanted pregnancies, there are also more STDS, more Hepatitis (especially Hep B), and more HIV.

We are talking about not only sacrificing women’s health, but also women’s ability to make choices for themselves. Every day in the news there is an example of women having been killed, raped, beaten and those are just the cases we hear about. Worldwide, extreme violence against women happens because women are not given choice over their own bodies. We say No and it isn’t respected.

If women don’t have the right to choose to have an abortion, the society says it is okay that we also do not have the right to choose for our bodies in other ways. We are saying that the law does not recognize women can say, “I want this for me or I don’t.”

By allowing laws to pass that take away women’s rights to abortion and contraception, we are allowing the law to say we can’t make decisions for ourselves.

If I don’t want an abortion, why would I get one? I wouldn’t. I worked as a therapist for years at a Rape Crisis Center and met some women who decided to have babies from a rape. Some were fine with the choice they made. Others looked at the face of their child every day and saw the rapist. I have also worked with children who have had pretty difficult lives and had pretty low opinions of themselves because as they said, they were “products of rape” and everyone knew it.

One woman had the rapist come back and fight for rights for shared custody for the child and she was terrified. She chose to have the child, that was her choice, but that’s the point, that was her choice. I also had two cases of women who had abortions from incest by their fathers and were very glad they did not have the babies. There are a gazillion different situations and we shouldn’t have to list them all to decide whether a woman should have the right to have an abortion. How does the law know what is in each woman’s best interest.

Bottom line: Women can make the choice about what we need in our lives, for our health and for our bodies, according to our beliefs, without political party backing or the law saying we can’t. Making abortions illegal puts women’s health at risk in many situations, but it also puts at risk the right for women to make decisions about our participation in society.

Trust Women Week

Because of all the Republican promises being made to take away clinics like Planned Parenthood, which provides many health care services to women, including pap-smears, contraception, and some abortions (though that is not even near the majority of what they do) and because of all the promises to make contraception and abortion illegal and to take away the choice from women, we are forced to battle against it. A coalition of 42 national and local pro-choice organizations, has declared this week, from January 20-27 Trust Women Week. This week marks the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

They are raising awareness and asking people to trust women. Trust women to be able to make decisions for ourselves. Click on the link to join the virtual march for women’s rights. We keep focusing on abortion, and it is about abortion, but it’s also about something deeper, whether we can trust women to make decisions that are best for our health, our lives, and ourselves according to each of our own beliefs. If we can trust women, we don’t need laws in place that don’t allow us to make choices.

Click the link: http://www.trustwomenmonth.org/

I am a trustworthy woman. Trust me. Trust women.