Thursday, August 30, 2012

Making Choices

Women are a big topic of this election. Working women, who work in the home raising a family, work in an office, or run a business from their home. Women making choices: work choices; marriage choices; health choices; choices about children; election choices.

Choice is a hot button word. It shouldn’t be, but it’s been made that way by the abortion debate. Legalized abortion in the USA was the result of Roe v. Wade, a court case that went all the way to the Supreme Court in 1973; the debate still rages 39 years later.

I saw Marco Rubio on the Today show yesterday being interviewed by Matt Lauer. Mr. Rubio seems to be under the impression that all women are mandated to have abortions because of Roe v. Wade; he argued that it’s not just men who don’t think abortion should be legal, even some women don’t think abortion should be legal.

Of course it should be legal. No woman makes the decision to have an abortion lightly, but every woman has the right to make her own health decisions, and to have safe and legal health options available to her. That doesn’t mean that every woman will have an abortion.

Pro-choice means that access to safe and legal abortion is available, otherwise there is no choice.

If you feel strongly against abortion, then your choice is not to have one. Abortion won’t go away if it’s illegal – it’s been around as long as women have gotten pregnant, and it always will be.

As soon as a man can get pregnant, then he can make decisions affecting his pregnancy. Not decisions for every pregnancy, just for his.

It is no man’s business. In 2003, President George W. Bush signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, surrounded by 9 male members of Congress smiling and congratulating him. Where were the women? Why should old men decide any woman’s health options?

In 1972, when I was 13, a girl in my class was raped by her 13-year-old boyfriend. She got pregnant. Abortion wasn’t legal, and she wasn’t from a family with the resources to send her to Europe for a “vacation” where she could have a legal abortion. She carried the baby to term, and the child was raised as her sibling. The vivacious girl transformed into a shattered woman before the end of her freshman year in high school.

I always thought that was unfair. Unfair to her, having to live with the reminder of her rape every minute of every day. Unfair to her child, raised under false pretenses about who her parents were, and possibly not the most wanted child. How did that dynamic affect them, and the rest of the family? In 1972, at 13, what were her options? She had no choice.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of health care to women who cannot afford private providers. What other options do they have planned for those women?

Their argument is based on the abortions that are performed at Planned Parenthood clinics, which amount to 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides. They are talking about cutting funding for legal services because they don’t like one of the services offered.

Every child should be a wanted child. Every woman should make the health care choices that are best for her, without any man telling her what she can or can’t do.

Some choices are easier to make than others.



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