There are a lot of reasons why having choice is a good thing. Here are a few:
1. Without choice, women will never be respected.
For years, feminists and other women’s rights activists have been fighting against the objectification and dehumanization of women. Without respect for our basic reproductive freedoms and bodily autonomy, women are not respected at all.
2. Forcing women through pregnancies forces them into poverty.
When a woman is already poor, a forced pregnancy is the last thing that she needs. 60% of women who have abortions already have at least one kid, and many of those women are struggling to take care of the kid(s) that they have.
3. It’s harder for women to escape abusive relationships without choice
If the anti-choice movement were to get its way, birth control would be illegal. Many women who are in abusive relationships, in which they may be constantly raped or coerced into unprotected sex, rely on more discreet forms of birth control in order to avoid being constantly pregnant. Also, if a woman in an abusive relationship does get pregnant, forcing her to have a child could trap her further. She may feel helpless, and she may feel like that must stay with her abusive partner for the sake of the child. Either way, taking away choice is extremely harmful to those who are in abusive relationships.
4. Choice protects women’s health
Whether it’s the choice to have a VBAC, to breastfeed, or to have an abortion, choice is essential to women’s health. The anti-choice movement deprives women of their reproductive freedom, and they make no exceptions for the health the woman.
Fun fact: I recently learned that previous c-sections increase a woman’s risks of serious injury during an abortion. Looks like all reproductive rights are related to each other!
5. If the right to choice goes, then other rights will follow suit.
If we let the anti-choicers win this fight, then it’s not only the right to abortion that will go. If they can take away our bodily autonomy, then they can take away the right to birth control, the right to VBAC, trans rights, the right to breastfeed in public, gay rights, etc. The list is endless.
6. Who doesn’t want more options?
I mean, really! If I get pregnant, I don’t want to feel as if the only two options I have are to 1) go through the pregnancy or 2) risk killing/maiming myself by attempting a DIY or back-alley abortion. Even if I decided to go through the pregnancy, it’s something that I’d want to do out of my own free will. Not because I had to. Wouldn’t you want that same freedom?
7. Without choice, there is no liberty.
Taking away reproductive rights is taking away an essential part of women’s liberty. Anti-choicers are trying to enslave women with their own pregnancies. The message that they’re sending out to women is “Do what I tell you to. If you don’t, then you are a selfish, immoral, baby killing slut.”
8. Outlawing abortion is discriminatory against poor women.
If abortion becomes illegal, privileged, rich women will be able to obtain safe abortions by traveling to other countries. Poor women, however, will be forced to either carry the pregnancy to term or attempt an unsafe abortion on their own. This ties back into my previous post. Why should rich women have the right to abortion, while less privileged women don’t?
9. Choice saves women a lot of emotional pain.
An excerpt from a piece by Kathryn Joyce, called Shotgun Adoption.
Jordan was isolated in the shepherding family’s house; her only social contact was with the agency, which called her a “saint” for continuing her pregnancy but asked her to consider “what’s best for the baby.” “They come on really pro-life: look at the baby, look at its heartbeat, don’t kill it. Then, once you say you won’t kill it, they ask, What can you give it? You have nothing to offer, but here’s a family that goes on a cruise every year.”
Jordan was given scrapbooks full of letters and photos from hopeful adoptive parents hoping to stand out among the estimated 150 couples for every available baby. Today the “birthmother letters” are on Bethany’s website: 500 couples who pay $14,500 to $25,500 for a domestic infant adoption, vying for mothers’ attention with profuse praise of their “selflessness” and descriptions of the lifestyle they can offer.
Jordan selected a couple, and when she went into labor, they attended the birth, along with her counselor and shepherding mother. The next day, the counselor said that fully open adoptions weren’t legal in South Carolina, so Jordan wouldn’t receive identifying information on the adoptive parents. Jordan cried all day and didn’t think she could relinquish the baby. She called her shepherding parents and asked if she could bring the baby home. They refused, chastising Jordan sharply. The counselor told the couple Jordan was having second thoughts and brought them, sobbing, into her recovery room. The counselor warned Jordan that if she persisted, she’d end up homeless and lose the baby anyway.
“My options were to leave the hospital walking, with no money,” says Jordan. “Or here’s a couple with Pottery Barn furniture. You sacrifice yourself, not knowing it will leave an impact on you and your child for life.”
The next morning, Jordan was rushed through signing relinquishment papers by a busy, on-duty nurse serving as notary public. As soon as she’d signed, the couple left with the baby, and Jordan was taken home without being discharged. The shepherding family was celebrating and asked why Jordan wouldn’t stop crying. Five days later, she used her last $50 to buy a Greyhound ticket to Greenville, where she struggled for weeks to reach a Bethany post-adoption counselor as her milk came in and she rapidly lost more than fifty pounds in her grief.
When Jordan called Bethany’s statewide headquarters one night, her shepherding mother answered, responding coldly to Jordan’s lament. “You’re the one who spread your legs and got pregnant out of wedlock,” she told Jordan. “You have no right to grieve for this baby.”
Forced/coerced adoption isn’t the only problem. Forcing a woman through a pregnancy can cause a tremendous amount of pain for her, and it can scar her for life. Many women experience depression after having c-sections, particularly if those c-sections were forced. The less choices women have, the more pain they are likely to experience.
And last, but not least:
10. Choice saves lives.
Choice saves women’s lives. It’s true. You can deny every illegal and unsafe abortion that has ever happened, but as long as women are deprived of choice, women die.
What are some things that you like about choice?