Friday, January 21, 2011

Blog for Choice: What is choice?

Today is Blog for Choice day. While there is a question that has been put out by prochoicers for us to answer, the antis have come up with what they consider a clever "come back" in which they ask "What is choice?"

Well, why not answer that straight off the bat?

Definitions of choice on the Web:

* the act of choosing or selecting; "your choice of colors was unfortunate"; "you can take your pick"

When I say I support choice, that means I support each individual woman's ability to make a decision (after being informed of risks/benefits) about how she is going to responsibly care for her pregnancy.

When she first becomes pregnant, that usually means she is choosing between having an abortion and giving birth. If she chooses to have an abortion, then she gets to make a decision whether she wants to have a medical or a surgical abortion. She gets to choose the safest clinic setting for her (I would like to see there be no Hyde amendment forcing women into clinics like Gosnell's) and has someone she trusts to provide whatever she needs (driving, food, hugs, whatever).

If she chooses to carry to term, then she gets to make a decision about whether she wants to use a midwife or an OB/GYN. She chooses between a homebirth, hospital birth and birthing center. She chooses whether to have an all natural birth, whether to use an epidural, whether to be induced.

Towards the end of the pregnancy, if she has chosen to carry to term, she must make a decision about whether she wants to keep the infant after birth or give it up for adoption. If she chooses adoption, she gets to decide if she wants an open or closed adoption. She gets to choose which adoptive family her child will become a part of. If she chooses to raise the infant herself, she gets to choose her parenting style: will she breastfeed, co-sleep or babywear?

Of course, there are also choices to be made before a woman becomes pregnant. She has to choose what type of contraceptive (and I include abstinence among them) she wants to use, for instance.

As you can see, choice is about so many different things. But in the end, it really all comes down to supporting one thing: Trusting women to make the best decisions for themselves and their families when they're fully informed of all the risks and benefits associated with the possible options. This is Choice.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sec-Selective Abortions and Feminism

This post was originally written for The Abortion Gang.

Anti-choicers are always trying to trick pro-choicers into saying something that makes them look bad. One such example is when anti-choicers bring up sex-selective abortions. “If you support girls/women, how can you support sex-selective abortions!?!” they ask (Don’t get me started on the fact that you cannot abort a woman. Physically impossible). They don’t ask these questions because they’re interested in reducing sex-selective abortions; they’re just interested in making pro-choicers seem coldhearted.

But what if they did want to reduce sex-selective abortions? How would they go about doing that? Pro-choice, of course, already has the answer: Feminism.

Sex-selective abortions happen because the pregnant woman’s culture favors one sex over the other- usually, male over female*. For instance, in China, families will abort a female fetus or abandon a female infant because they want a male infant. Males stay with the family, and carry on the family name while females are married off to another family and basically lose their birth family. For this reason, males are valued higher than females. And for this reason, sex- selective abortions occur.

This is where feminism comes in. Feminism says that both sexes are equal in value and worth. Men and women, with their differences and similarities, are not better than one another but standing on an equal plane. If feminist ideas were to become culturally normal, sex-selective abortions would not occur. Families would value and appreciate a fetus they wanted regardless of its sex. Not only would this apply to fetuses, but to children as well; families would be just as glad to have a daughter as they would be to have a son.

On top of that, feminism would give the opinions of women equal weight to men. Who knows- maybe women in China and other countries don’t want to have sex selective abortions, but their culture pressures them into that decision? Supporting feminism would support women who choose to not have a sex-selective abortion.

So next time an anti-choicer asks you what you think of sex-selective abortions, ask them right back: “What are you doing to prevent sex-selection?” Then ask them to support feminism, so that males and females will be valued equally.

* I understand there are other situations involved such as intersex –this post is a simple overview. I welcome others to write about the issues of feminism, sex-selection and intersex.