Choice

I’ve always claimed to be pro-choice. In high school, I’d engage in passionate debates about a woman’s right to choose and have control over her own body. I was poorly informed on the complexity and realities of reproductive choice and justice for all women. But, that’s where I was as a teenager over a decade ago. Pro-choice was a primary point in my juvenile form of (white) feminism.

Moving forward to adulthood, a friend of mine experienced an unexpected pregnancy. Despite my long-standing claim to be pro-choice, I did not support her decision to terminate her pregnancy. I used the story of how my mother figured out a way to raise me despite becoming pregnant at 16 years old. I guess I tried to guilt her into enduring an unwanted pregnancy. I was a pseudo-feminist and a failed friend. She went through with an abortion, and I was not there for her.

That was a mistake. A big one, one that will stay with me forever. I should have been there for her. I should have listened, helped, supported her. If I could go back in time, I would be the friend I should have been. But, I cannot. All I can do now is recognize my mistake and do better.

I’ve had my own experiences with pregnancy termination. Despite my pro-choice position, I had no choice in the actions of my reproductive system. As my body violently rejected carrying pregnancies to term, I felt a stronger empathy to those who have become pregnant without choosing to do so. The lack of control or choice and feeling helplessly detached from my body uncovered a connection to women whose pregnancies went against their wishes. Losing wanted pregnancies strengthened my support for a woman’s choice over her own body. I intimately understand the feeling of having no control over your body and the associated physical and emotional pain. If we can prevent others from this feeling, we have a moral obligation to do so. A woman should have as much control over her own body as humanly possible.

As I’ve become more educated on the complexities of the pro-choice/pro-life debate, I’ve learned the issue is NEVER black and white. Reproductive choices must be autonomous. No women should be coerced into having a child she does not want, nor should any woman be convinced she should not have a child. I’ve shied away from the pro-choice/pro-life dichotomy and to a broader picture of reproductive justice. A picture which includes the freedom to create the family of one’s choosing. To learn more about reproductive justice, click here. Many abortion myths still exist, and it’s time to unlearn them!

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Open Letter to SCSU Community

To the St. Cloud State University campus community:

On March 2, 2016, the Supreme Court will hear Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case that is fundamentally about autonomy, one’s ability to freely determine what is best for their health without interference, and access to the safe, and legal health care that meets individuals’ self-identified needs. This case challenges laws that restrict abortion access under the guise of concern for the health and safety of patients but are truly political ploys to limit the accessibility of abortion care. The outcome of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt affects us all: it will change the realities of abortion access for decades to come: either by finding undue restrictions unlawful, or forcing clinics to shut down, and subsequently, people to seek alternative and unsafe abortion services.

Despite clarity from the Supreme Court that people have a constitutional right to abortion, states continue to pass laws that limit women’s access to abortion care through a variety of tactics, including:

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Support Planned Parenthood Event!

This week some of the Women’s Center staff organized an amazing rally in support of Planned Parenthood during national #PinkOutDay. They had just over a day to plan, and more than 40 students, faculty, and community members came together to support an organization that they believe in. We’re so thrilled!

Here’s a few pictures from the rally along with a link to a satirical post at Ravishly that (hilariously) refutes many of the claims made by anti-choice and anti-Planned Parenthood advocates.

http://www.ravishly.com/2015/09/17/10-reasons-we-should-defund-planned-parenthood-immediately

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