Look! You can now leave comments for/at me! Woo!
Look! You can now leave comments for/at me! Woo!
By Heather K. Sager
The events surrounding the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, followed by the scandal over Kermit Gosnell’s arrest, were marked, at least for me and two other women, by two other events: the anniversary of my friend’s own abortion and the announcement of another friend’s newly pending abortion.
I have the fortune of living with one of the most fabulous women I know. She’s funny, she’s educated, she’s thoughtful, and last year, she had an abortion. The day before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
The particulars of her situation aren’t important for this discussion. What is important was her reaction, upon realizing her own impending anniversary. She bounced into our living room, plopped herself on our couch, and asked, “So what are we going to do to celebrate?!”
I know that many may read the above sentence and be appalled. There are some that might think, what could there possibly be to celebrate? My friend’s ability to exercise her own reproductive rights. The fact that she made the decision to take her future in her own hands, rather than leave it in anyone else’s. The fact that she, unlike too many other women throughout the world, was able to make that choice. She felt that there was a lot to celebrate, and she was not alone.
Monday evening we received more news surrounding Roe, in a sense. A third friend had announced by way of e-mail that she had recently decided to have an abortion. Once again, the particulars of her situation aside, what I took note of was that she had sent an e-mail out to her friends, to declare her decision.
Now, personal opinions, even among the staunchly pro-choice, vary regarding how a person might handle the choice at hand. Frankly, I think that how you deal with such a thing should reflect how you’re most comfortable. But in watching these two women this past weekend, a thought occurred to me: we are finally getting there.
In both situations, neither woman felt the need to hide her decision. Neither of them felt ashamed, cast aside, desperate, or forlorn. It didn’t occur to them to keep their abortion a strictly guarded secret. Both of them approached their choice in a way that so few of our predecessors have been able to; they approached it as their choice.
These two women are walking anti-stereotypes. They are proof that a woman + abortion does not equal a distressed, pitiful and hopeless person. They are everyday illustrations against all those made-for-tv movies, primetime specials, pro-lifer Mark Bradley Murrow’s speech, and various other not-so-subtle pieces in the stream of media that depict an abortion as the last stop on a line to a lifetime of regret.
These two women are comfortable with and confident in their choice. They’re comfortable enough to reach out for support when they might need it, and when they’re ready, they’re confident enough to celebrate their choices. These are luxuries that our mothers and grandmothers did not have.
Looking back on the events surrounding the past few weeks, in the onslaught of yet another hot-blooded abortion feud, I can’t help but feel proud and particularly hopeful. So thank you to my friends, who have made me realize that we are finally approaching a place where women can be comfortable and confident in their choices, whatever those choices may be.
A lot of attention is being paid to this past week’s news that the House GOP is pushing a bill that would only allow Medicaid/Medicare coverage for abortion in the case of forcible rape. This may mean no coverage for women who were drugged, statutorily raped, or simply didn’t fight back hard enough.
Steph Sterling from the National Women’s Law Center said it best, "This bill takes us backwards to a time when just saying no wasn’t enough to qualify as rape."
In response, some of the Twitter community is utilizing the #DearJohn hashtag to make people aware of what’s going on, and get out as much information about this as possible.
Want to do something about this, right now? Go spread the word on Twitter, via the #DearJohn hashtag. Making people aware of something is the first step towards fighting it.
And more on Twitter advocacy in another post.
Updated: Sorry to not have mentioned this earlier, but the #DearJohn hashtag (similar to the #MooreandMe tag), is the fabulous work of the fabulous Sady Doyle over at Tiger Beatdown.
(Source: Mother Jones)
And that’s a huge part of the point. The question of health care coverage for contraception is still contentious. If you need an abortion, you might still have to travel inter-state. And abstinence-only programs are still the sex ed OK’d by the US government.
The point is that in a time when we like to look back, to see how far we’ve come… in a lot of ways, we’re still where we started.
The point is that these are our mothers’ reproductive rights, and that’s really just sad.