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.