When I first heard about The Abortion Gang I was caught by the name, titillated enough to click on the link from Feministing to see what it was about. The rest as they say, was history, as I am thrilled to now be a bona fide ‘gang member’ (and yes, my good girl past – never cut a class in high school, college or graduate school, always wear my seat belt, never talk on my cell phone while driving type of past – may be part of my enjoyment of that title). It’s the second line though that sticks in my mind every time I hear a conversation about abortion, every time I write about it: “unapologetic reproductive justice activists.”
I’ve never been shy about making my opinion known. Admittedly this can come across as being argumentative, or stubborn, but the truth is, I generally am open-minded to other people’s opinions, wanting to know why they think what they think. In turn, I’m generally happy to share my thoughts on a topic, including the reasoning. I have several, firm reasons for being pro-choice – they’re listed here. In an effort to ‘go along to get along’ though, I have realized that there have been times when I have backed down from stating that I am pro- choice. Maybe it was because I didn’t want to get into a fight, or because I didn’t know where someone else fell along the pro-choice to anti-choice continuum. I shied away from making someone else uncomfortable, but in doing so gave up the opportunity to explain to someone else, someone who might not be aware that access to abortion is tenuous at best, or who may be neither pro-choice nor anti-choice, why being pro-choice is so important, and why writing to senators, newspapers, and friends about it, is so important. That line reminds me why it’s so important to be unapologetic (but polite – because it’s important to be polite, civil, etc., whenever and wherever possible – no one ever got more respect for being less respectful of others) – to not give the appearance that I’m okay with restrictions on abortion access, that I’m not ashamed of my pro-choice convictions.
Anti-choice activists march loud and proud, wear pins and t-shirts screaming their moral authority over my uterus. My convictions are no less moral. Our beliefs are backed by as much (actually more) moral considerations, thought, care, concern, and discussion. My being pro-choice is something to be proud of – I know that what I believe is something that helps women every day. I know that access to abortion is what lets teenage girls grow up into successful women, what keeps women from welfare, or helps them get off of it. Access to abortion is what let’s law school students become attorneys, rape victims find closure, sick women have chemotherapy and radiation, and women everywhere maintain control over their bodies.
Be proud to be enlightened. Be proud to be pro-choice.