I realized I’m pro-choice the first time I heard an IVF ad in high school. I was well aware that people can have trouble having babies when they really want to have one. I was well aware that realizing that you cannot have a child of your own when you really want one is heartbreaking. And I realized that it can make a woman feel like a failure as a woman. I sympathize, I really do. And I sympathized then.
But what I couldn’t condone was the way the ad played on this feminine insecurity. I couldn’t countenance how the ad upheld this idea that your worth is based on producing genetic spawn of yourself. I couldn’t condone a mindset that placed a premium on having biological offspring and completely marginalized the value of adopting. But what upset me the most was the underlying attitude that a woman’s place was having babies. Fuck that noise, I thought. Children or no, a woman’s life and livelihood can be full and worthwhile.
Too, I realized that wanting to have a child and realizing that you can’t is just another instance of being stripped of control over your fertility. It’s the flip side of the woman facing an unwanted pregnancy and encounters barrier after barrier to terminating that pregnancy until she’s forced to carry to give birth.
My thought process to becoming pro-choice was thus twofold:
1. Control over one’s own fertility is a precious thing, and to be stripped of it is devastating. This is why I’ll fight for a woman’s right to be in control over her own fertility.
2. A woman’s role in life is so much more complex than only being a biological mother. Furthermore, motherhood does not need to be so narrowly defined that it only counts if the child is biologically yours. The antis don’t seem to understand. They’ll tell you to give birth and put the child up for adoption as opposed to terminating your pregnancy, but they’ll never adopt a child. They embody the mindset that having babies is a woman’s lot in life and that motherhood only counts as motherhood if the baby is biologically yours.
It all comes down to the right to be in charge of one’s own reproduction, instead of leaving it to outside forces.