Monday, January 22, 2007

I'm Against Forced Birth Because... Duh.

So, it's Blog For Choice day, and as a girl newly reacquainted with penises, I couldn't help but chime in. But before I get to my personal views on the matter, I have to lodge an official complaint against the language of "choice."

Everyone is pro "choice." Some people believe they should be able to choose whether or not they themselves give birth, and others believe they should be able to choose whether or not other people give birth. The second type of people are in favor of forced birth, which is my preferred term, not only because it's more accurate and specific but also because it makes you sound like an asshole if you support it. Which you are.

Now, I've always been against forced birth on principle, because women's bodies are not machines or property and women are not slaves. Or, perhaps I should say, because women should not be enslaved. Even in the decade and a half I've spent on vacation from the threat of sperm, I've done what I could to protect women from forced birth. In the aftermath of the Salvi shootings, I even volunteered for a while as an escort at my local Planned Parenthood clinic, helping women navigate their way through the gauntlet of forced birth advocates and the pro-choicers who'd come to "defend" the clinic.

But now that I'm sleeping with men again, and once again know what it feels like to be relieved to see my period, the issue has come back into full focus. It's terrifying to imagine sleeping with men in a world where abortion is illegal. I honestly think I wouldn't be doing it -- why would I risk having my life turned upside down and my body hijacked when I can just sleep with women and transmen and avoid the risk? (Think about that, forced birth advocates. Think of all the bisexual women who'd turn lesbian if you had your way. The horror.)

Many moons ago, back when I was an undergraduate, I had a pregnancy scare. I had fallen hard for this guy who had dumped me a month and a half later in order to return to his ex. A day or two after the breakup, I started spotting, and I was nowhere near due for my period. This had never happened to me before. As it was summer and the campus health center was closed, I called a gynecologist's office in town to ask what it could mean. I described my symptoms to the woman who answered the phone, who said, "It sounds like you might be pregnant. Can you hold on a minute?" She then left me on hold for what felt like eternity (seriously, it may well have been three to five minutes, which is a long time), and then she got back on to say that since my period wasn't due for like two weeks, there was nothing they could do for me until it came or I was late.

Which is all to say that I've stared abortion in the eye, personally, while believing that a new life was growing in my uterus. I know it's not an easy answer to anything. But forcing women to give birth against their will is not an answer to anything at all.

I'm against forced birth because why would anyone want to be brought into the world that way?

I'm against forced birth because it prevents women (and disproportionately women of color) from finding a way out of poverty (not clear on this one? Do your homework on the Hyde Amendment).

I'm against forced birth because in America my religious beliefs are none of your business, and your religious beliefs should be none of my concern.

I'm against forced birth because I like sex and I refuse to be punished for that in ways men never are.

I'm against forced birth because I relinquish control of my body to no one.

Try me.

6 comments:

Chrissy said...

Amen.

Laura said...

That was just wonderful! Thank you.

I also have issues with the word "choice". It seems to be a word we need to hide behind. Soften our image. It feels a little like we're agreeing that abortion is a dirty diry word and we mustn't utter it. What good does that do?

"Pro-choice" is great for describing how incredibly broad the goals we as feminists hope to accomplish are but that's also why I had to really specify what I was talking about when I blogged for choice today. My original post was four pages long. ;o)

I enjoyed yours so much!

Sherrie said...

Ive linked to this as well. I did a shit job on my blog for choice day and now Ive spent today posting a fraction of those whose words deserve to be read. And I am adding you to my blog role if you dont mind.

Anonymous said...

Why when feminist talk about children they always fail to mention the father. doesn't he has a choice?

what if he is against having the baby but the mother wants to have him anyways, why should he pay child support.

As a man, I have known that contraception is actually the man's job therefore, i never have sex without a condom.

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Ki A said...

Well said, I totaly ganked for my facebook. I have been calling it the forced birth movement for a while, just could not chain the words together to define it like you just did, thanks.

I also support the idea that men should have the same choice, a five week "opt-out" period. Unlike clinics, lawyers are everywhere. Go get that started guys, and Ill vote for it.