Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Being a woman in the 21st Century

Because I'm the one that started that whole blogging group and have since taken a two or three month sabbatical from blogging, I feel the need to come out of my recess. Especially after the news headlines I read today. 
Last Thursday, the 36th anniversary or the Roe vs. Wade decision a pro-life activist drove his SUV into the side of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The man told authorities that "Jesus told him to do it." I am aware that this particular location is known simply as the "abortion clinic" because it is a designated PP clinic that actually performs abortions procedures. 

I find this utterly heartbreaking. Planned Parenthood of Minnesota has a reputation of promoting awareness about Minnesota Family Planning Health Care Services, a state-funded program that helps women with low incomes afford family planning services such as access to yearly exams, birth control, HIV/AIDS testing, HPV vaccines and yes, abortions for little to no cost. Planned Parenthood has often been a sanctuary for young women who need confidential, low cost services and consultations about their bodies and their sexual and reproductive health.

Aside from the fact that I am very much a pro-choice advocate, the rest of these services are needed in the community and for someone to lose sight of that and take their self-perceived justice into their own hands in this manner is disgraceful to others who are supporting their cause in a peaceful, legal manner. So to that man, I hope you consider yourself subject to the same judgment you inflict upon others. 

We should not strive for a government that protects our personal morals and ideals, that it not what this country is about. This country was founded upon the value that our government should promote tolerance and freedom of thought. 

Women have fought for many things including the right to initiate actions for divorce, to press charges for rape, to vote, to have careers and one battle that we THOUGHT we had already won, was the right to choose whether or not to have a child. 

There is a prevailing idea in our society that women who get pregnant unexpectedly are irresponsible. Though I take offense to that opinion, I would also say that it doesn't matter. People who smoke cigarettes all their life and get lung cancer as a result are irresponsible, but we still allow them seek a way to return to the life they once had. People who become addicted to drugs or alcohol can escape guilt for circumstantial reasons and they still receive treatment to recapture the life they once had. But when a woman becomes pregnant, even in the case of rape or incest or by perhaps by being "irresponsible," they should not be allowed the same opportunity? It is anatomical discrimination towards women to deny them that opportunity simply because they have the potential to become pregnant. They should be allowed to seek to regain the life they once had after they engage in "irresponsible" acts.

The fact is, there are too many situations out there that are a lot more complex than we could possibly begin to describe that cause women to seek abortions, and it is no one else's business to interfere with that decision. Especially when most of the time, when a mother does give birth to a child that they were not prepared for, the one that often suffers most, is the child. We should strive to bring children into the world under the best possible circumstances, not to say that any child that is born under any circumstance is a bad thing, but IDEALLY we would want them to have a stable, secure upbringing. 

Bear in mind that I am not saying that abortion is ideal. It is not. Babies are not a disease or a problem. We need them and most people want them. But for those who don't, for whatever reason, making abortions illegal will certainly not stop them from seeking an abortion. Those in favor of anti-abortion laws are naive to think that such legislation would protect babies. If anything, it will harm mothers who will continue to seek abortions anyway. If you really want to save babies, it doesn't come from capitol hill, it's comes from social interaction, education and promotion of responsible behaviors. If you believe that God dictates these decisions and that humans should not interfere, save it for the pulpit, because our constitution allows for people to legally disagree with you. 

WE DON'T NEED TO MAKE LAWS AGAINST EVERYTHING WE DON'T MORALLY AGREE WITH, that is not what democracy is about and it is certainly not effective. If you want change of the social nature, you address the people. You council young women about sexual responsibility. You educate them on the alternatives. You truly do what Jesus says to do in the gospels. You approach them with compassion and understanding (you could follow Planned Parenthood's example on that one). And most of all, you accept that sex does happen. It will continue to happen and you have to deal with that. Avoiding that fact and promoting intolerance will only make you a bitter person.

So please don't' drive your SUVs into clinics. Instead, tell a scared pregnant woman that you care and want to help them, perhaps then, they will be more perceptive and perhaps then we will all begin to understand each other. Also bear in mind, that they have the legal right to disagree with you, but the moment you convince once woman non-coercively to have her baby instead of aborting it, it is my belief that you will receive satisfaction that is far greater than passing a law.