attitude toward abortion

page updated: 11-May-2004

I am pro choice.

I was pro choice even when the only information I had about abortions came from anti-choice, "pro-life" propaganda. My high school human reproduction class was taught by a born-again Christian, so I have a notebook full of such information. Once I uncovered alternate information about abortions, I realized how much less scary they could seem, and how much more free a choice is when not all alternatives are totally terrifying. I think that is important: a choice is not much of a choice if the alternatives are unreasonably difficult or scary.

I use the term "pro choice" but I prefer to think of abortion as right, not just a choice. This Bitch article nicely sums up the language distinctions. Officially, at least in the US, the "right" in question is a right to privacy. To me, the real right in question is the right of a woman to control her body. If a woman can get pregnant and grow fetuses inside herself, I consider that a function of a her body that should be subject to her decisions. The political and ethical arguments about abortion can get ugly, so I mostly stick to the practical motivations. There will always be women who seek abortions, so the abortions had best be safe and legal. To prevent abortions, I favour access to birth control, family planning and sexuality information, and childcare resources.

I have an attitude

I've never had an abortion, but the subject is always present in my life. I spend a lot of energy on birth control to prevent having to consider an abortion, and several of my friends have had abortions, or considered them. Any late period raises the topic. I think it is worth noting that when I talk about abortion with my friends, the most common attitude we have had is that abortions are an important right, but also horrible and emotionally scarring. Lately I've realized that for many, many women, abortion is a practical decision and a relief, and not the one-way ticket to emotional disaster presented by protesters.

Another common attitude about abortion that I run into is to consider abortion a way to participate in womanhood, and a way to earn credibility as a woman or as a feminist. That idea annoys me deeply, in a down-to-my-bones way, mostly because I don't believe there are particular acts that define women (or feminists) as a class, or that can be used to prove womanliness. Giving birth and attracting boyfriends get used in similar ways, and all of it strikes me as immature and sexist.

I am not an abortion expert

Instead of posting a snapshot of my abortion knowledge that will gradually become completely obsolete, I will direct you to the real experts at Planned Parenthood for information about abortion methods, choices, side-effects, providers, and activism.

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This is an excellent, international list of abortion providers.

I'm Not Sorry features real women's perspectives on their own abortions.

The always fantastic Our Bodies, Ourselves has, of course, an informative, illustrated, woman-focussed chapter about abortions.

The Digable Planets really crafted a pro-choice masterpiece in La Femme Fétal.

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