Why I Am Pro-Choice.

4 Apr

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.

5 Responses to “Why I Am Pro-Choice.”

  1. WeCanChangeIt April 4, 2010 at 10:58 pm #

    This resonates with me as someone who is queer and partnered with a woman. I do not know whether or not I would want children, but it is not an option for me to create those with my partner–just like it is not for women who are with biologically male partners who struggle with infertility. The right to have an abortion is integral to women having a right to choices, but all people should have choices when it comes to children and we should not privilege certain options over others. People should really just get to make choices for themselves and to make decisions that work for them.

  2. Kripa April 4, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

    @WeCanChangeIt
    I actually might have to part ways with you on this one – I don’t think having fertility treatment is a God-given right the same way abortion is. I get deeply uncomfortable with all the emphasis on having biological children, and where I go from there is, “Why is it the end of the world if a couple can’t conceive? Why not adopt? In fact, why can’t couples who *can* conceive choose to adopt instead of conceiving?” Not, “People should get help conceiving because it’s just as valid a choice as preventing conception.”

  3. WeCanChangeIt April 5, 2010 at 9:29 am #

    That’s not what I was saying. I was saying that as a lesbian in many states (including my own) I am unable to enter into a co-parent adoption. If this is not possible, I must enter into an arrangement that has no legal backing with my partner in which one of us is not actually considered by law to be a child’s parent, or we must be forced into having to get expensive treatments to pursue having a biological child of one of the partners. I know many couples who are not able to biologically have children because that is not physically possible for them who would love to adopt a child but is unable to do so because of our heterosexist legal system or our homophobic adoption system.

  4. Kripa April 5, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    Agreed. Thanks for clarifying.

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