Reproductive choice is our right and also our responsibility, an awesome responsibility. But in an even more profound sense, choice is the human condition. It defines us as humans, and we are in turn defined by the choices we make. Choice is the basis of morality after all, and it is sacrifice as much as it is freedom.
There will always be a part of me that is fond of “choice,” such as the part of me that believes in the reproductive justice movement. But the part of me that must endure seeing my sisters denied access, or scrutinized for using the resources they do have, knows that choice is only for a few.
Our partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America have demonstrated courage, stamina, creativity, and resilience in the face of fierce opposition, guided by the conviction that no woman is free unless she has the right to make decisions about her own body. And, like any movement for social justice, the movement for safe abortion internationally has seen its ups and downs. But today as we celebrate the 37th anniversary of Roe, we must all recognize the importance of the ongoing movement for abortion rights worldwide, a movement that will require the dedicated efforts and support of women and men for years to come.
On this 37th anniversary of Roe, I call on us to transform this
conversation. I call on us to stand tall so that the provision of abortion services in the United States is a model of care for the rest of the world. I call on us to ask our patients not just to care about themselves–but, as we do, to care about the women who come after them.
Choice is a central component of the rational human being. It is especially important that we assert it for women whose choices are constrained by circumstances along with efforts to increase the circumstances that give women more choices.
More and more women are being refused the right to give birth on their own terms as more and more hospitals ban women from VBACs. Choice means that a woman must have the freedom and support to compare the risks of VBAC and the risks of cesarean surgery.
I fervently identified as pro-choice. However, how I define abortion rights is not as simple as being pro-choice. At the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, we are faced with talking about abortion rights within the broader context of women’s real lives.
More than 900 measures on reproductive health and rights were introduced in the states and the District of Columbia in 2009, and by year’s end, 77 new laws had been enacted in 34 states and DC. (This is more than twice the 33 new laws enacted in 20 states in 2008.)
The Human Life Alliance college ad campaign tells victims of rape and incest that carrying their attacker’s/abuser’s baby will “help them heal.”
When anti-choicers celebrate choice, in their disingenuous fashion, they give outsiders an easy opportunity for sacrifice-free moral self-righteousness.