Friday, 2 November 2012

My uterus, my choice

Anyone reading this already knows this about me, but if you're new? Brace yourself for a shock, I am steadfastly pro-choice. For everything related to this topic, from making that choice to have sex in the first place (your partner still has to say yes, and that's a choice), what contraception to use, if something should happen, do you keep it or abort? If you keep it to term do you keep it forever. These are all choices that I fully support a woman making for herself. 

Being pro-choice does not equal anti-life. A woman can choose to keep that happy little accident and I'd be happy for her, because she is exercising her right to choose. For the record choosing to have sex does not null and void a woman's right to make choices about the consequences. So there will be no tolerance for anyone who wants to drop the old chestnut "well maybe you should have thought of this before you opened your legs"(and not just for the obvious reason, but because that opens up a whole bag of slut shaming that's best left for another post (and there will be another post about that).

Allow me to provide you with some back story. I was raised to be pro-choice. Here's why. My Great Grandmother died because of a back-alley abortion gone horribly wrong. She had been left in a country  she wasn't born in (Canada) for an undetermined amount of time with several children to care for while her husband went back to Scotland (for reasons I've never really understood to be honest). She was lonely, she befriended someone, she became pregnant. She felt that she should hide this by having an abortion. This is not meant to cast any shame on her or make any assumptions about any of her emotions at the time as I'm sure they were in quite the turmoil. She made her choices, and though I'll never know her, I respect her choices. 

She died because there were no facilities for such a procedure. It wasn't just illegal in those days, it was taboo, it was a sin. It was a number of things, but it was ultimately not a well-studied and safe thing to do, but she chose to do it anyway. She had to have known the risks and how painful it would be regardless of her risk of death and she did it anyway

I am so thankful that I live in a country and an age where a woman does not have to weigh the risks of (possible) death vs. divorce and destitution. When my Great Grandmother died the truth came out. All traces of her were erased from the family home; all of her belongings and every photo of her. Gone. One ugly heirloom remained which I assume my mother still has tucked away somewhere. It was on the walls of the home I grew up in, but I haven't seen it in a while.

When one of my aunts was named after my Great Grandmother, that side of the family refused to talk to any of my mother's immediate family for some time.

This a story my mother has told me many times. She will always be pro-choice because had there been laws to protect this right and the facilities to do it safely, she would have known her grandmother. As would a great number of other children and grandchildren had the matriarchs in their families not been forced to make the choice between (possibly) death and divorce/destitution.

When I hear stores about Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth wanting to open the door to the slippery slope of criminalizing abortion and contraception by granting fetuses personhood, and when I hear news from the US (usually republicans) about the number of ways that the government should get 'all up in women's business' (but not helping in any other way, heaven's no), my feathers get a little ruffled. 

So imagine how ruffled my feathers get when I see that Linda Gibbons and Mary Wagner, were both given Diamond Jubilee awards, for their relentless harassment of women exorcising their right to make choices while they are both in prison for doing just that. By the way, if you feel like I do, that this sort of thing only encourages more violence at abortion clinics, then there's a handy little petition right here to ask that the awards be revoked.

This was taken a couple of years ago for a self-portrait project, it was taken at a time when there was a hint that the abortion debate might be reopened. Pro-lifers had gathered on Parliament Hill, and various Conservative MPs wandered out on the law to join and support them. 

No comments:

Post a Comment