Today is the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court case which guaranteed a woman's right to an abortion finally being protected under the constitution. Today, pro-choice bloggers everywhere are celebrating by taking part in Blog for Choice Day. From the website: "Blog for Choice Day provides us with an opportunity to raise the profile of reproductive rights in the blogosphere and the media, while celebrating Roe's 35th anniversary. Plus, it's a great way to let your readers and the mainstream media know that a woman's right to choose is a core progressive value that must be protected.
This year's topic: tell us, and your readers, why it's important to vote pro-choice."
Despite what you may think of America, our often bullshit electoral system and our woefully limited two-party system, the fact of the matter is that being educated about our political candidates and who we choose to support with our vote is vital if we want our country to truly become the free and fair place we imagine it to be. Many people take our reproductive rights for granted, thinking that we'll never go back to a time of back-alley abortions and illegal contraception. However, the reign of Bush and Co. and the last eight years of seeing access to our legal rights limited and attacked shows how important it is to vote for pro-choice candidates.
The clever rhetoric of pro-lifers boils down to a few simple ideas. First, that woman are "too emotional" to decide whether or not abortion (or motherhood) is right for them. That we need to be protected from difficult decisions by having those choices taken away from us. That life begins at conception, and so EC is immoral. That we should "take responsibility for our actions," implying that pregnancy is a punishment for having sex for any reason other than procreation. Pro-life politicians support and promote laws that would only work in a "perfect" world, a world where every woman wants to be a mother and has the emotional fortitude, the financial stability, and the supportive network to raise a happy and healthy child. A world where birth control never fails. Where rape and incest never happen. Where we all guide our lives by the same moral compass and believe in the same god and have the same goals for our lives. That world doesn't exist. I doubt it ever will.
Pro-choice politicians are a little more realistic. They recognize that abortion is an unfortunate circumstance, a difficult decision, a private matter that is almost never taken lightly or without thought. They agree with pro-lifers that it would be a wonderful thing if abortion was never necessary and they take (rational and realistic) measures to minimize the number of abortions. But pro-choice politicians realize that there will always be unplanned pregnancies, and they trust women to make the choice that is best for them under their circumstances.
I vote for politicians who respect me and my choices. Who protect my basic rights, and see me as an equal, and believe reproductive rights are important and necessary for a truly democratic society. We have our rights because we fought for them, and if we want to keep them we'll have to keep on fighting. This is why I vote pro-choice. I hope you will consider doing the same.
PS - I'm Not Sorry has real stories from real women who have had abortions. Any speech by any politician pales in comparison.