Monday, January 22, 2007

I'm pro-choice because...

Today is the 34th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, and also blog for choice day.* The topic is supposed to be 'why am I pro-choice'. It seems a little trite, I'm pro-choice because I believe women are people, I'm pro-choice because I want to decide when I have a child, I'm pro-choice because I have two younger sisters, I'm pro-choice because I trust other women to make choices about their own lives, I'm pro-choice because sex should be awesome, I'm pro-choice because of all the women who have died and are dying from illegal abortions, I'm pro-choice because of all the women who have died and are dying because they couldn't get an illegal abortion, I'm pro-choice because parenting is a hard important job and must be voluntary, I'm pro-choice because I know how hard women fought in New Zealand to ensure women would have access to abortion.

It probably says a lot about my life that, for me, those things go without saying. I have met with people who oppose abortion and regarded them as slightly quaint (or hated them passionately depending on the circumstances).** I got over a guy I'd had a crush on for way too long when I discovered he wasn't pro-choice enough for me.

What I want to say about abortion isn't anything to do with what I think the laws should be.*** There have been two things I've written about frequently on this blog the first that access is as important as rights and that the right to choose has to also include the right to continue the pregnancy.

Brownfemipower has some great posts about the US National Advocates for Pregnant Women conference (which she's at at the moment). What they really made me think about is how much abortion is normally treated as a stand-alone issue, and how counter-productive that is.

It's all pretty irrelevant in New Zealand; I'd guess we have more women fighting other reproductive issues (social welfare, medical care, women in prisons, violence against women) than abortion. But if I wanted to change that, if I had the energy to start fighting back then I would try and work with people who didn't just want to focus on abortion laws (although our abortion laws are a piece of shit and I will not rest till I have danced on the grave of every man who voted for them), but saw that almost all issues that effect women's lives, effect reproduction. We won't be able to make meaningful choices until we create a very different world.

*I must confess to finding this a tad annoying - abortion rights don't begin and end in the US, but you get used to it.

**I once had a half hour argument about abortion on a peace vigil with an ex-nun.

*** Although for the record I'm really hard case about abortion law and don't accept any legal restrictions for any reason, don't ever think it's anyone's business but the woman whose making the decision, and think that if you don't like decisions people are making to terminate their pregnancies you should change the conditions under which they make the decision, rather than tut-tut about the decision itself.


  1. found you over on the the blog for coice day site and immediately fell in love with your blog's name! i just had to come over and say hello.

    GREAT post! of course the issue of abortion isn't soley in the u.s. - but unfortunately we have these rabid rightie fundamentalists that are trying their damndest to reverse roe v. wade as we speak.

    i see your in new zealand. i looked into moving there in 2000 , but it seems to be next to impossible to do so. i could have swore there was a critical psychology graduate program offered in one of new zealand's universities, but i can't find it now.

    we have a friend that is leaving next week to attend school at the university of auckland.

  2. I'm pro-life because I think an embyo or a fetus is a person.

  3. I'm pro-choice because I think the woman carrying the embryo or foetus is a person.

  4. Span:

    Can't we look after _both_ people? Mother and daughter or son?

    I've used relational nouns on purpose here because it isn't merely a woman and a foetus/embryo, there is a kin relationship between the two persons. Both of whom are worth the best care and protection.

  5. How is forcing a woman to have a baby she doesn't want looking after both of them?

  6. I'm not sure if maia will keep this post up or not, but it's her blog....

    Forcing a woman to maintain a prgnancy she does not want is not a good thing IMO. However killing the foetus is an even greater destruction of rights.

    I've had four children, I _know_ how horrible and dangerous a pregnancy can be. Believe me when I say I would not take this option lightly and nor do I see women as breeding machines. But you can't kill someone because they are making your life difficult.

    I would like to see support for these women to ease the burdon of pregnancy. And then if they wish the child could be adopted, or the woman could be supported to keep the child herself. If a woman truely does not want her son or daughter then after birth her duty to that person can end.

    BTW, I am also anti the death penalty - I know many Christians seem fine with that, but imo it is like abortion.

  7. Thanks for your comment muerk, but I think you prove my point - you can't actually look after both the woman and the foetus by banning abortion.

    I think the point of difference between us is that you consider personhood starts at conception, but I don't. They are pretty irreconcilable positions IMHO.