In the United States on the 22nd will mark the 39th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. The landmark decision that legalized abortion. I’m participating because I identify as pro choice and I have my reasons for doing so.
It’s very interesting in this day and age to see that single mothers are still blamed for the ills of society. Growing up, I had to watch my mother deal with the stigma of being a single mother and was forced to watch her work long hours and rely on government assistance to support us. My mother made the decision to carry my siblings and I to term, knowing she was going to raise us all on her own. To be honest though, had my mother chosen to terminate her pregnancies, she would been able to finish up her college education and pursue other opportunities. She wouldn’t have had to deal with the stigma of being a a single parent.
From the pro life side, I noticed there’s a form of idealization of motherhood. Despite believing that women who get pregnant should accept the “consequence” of having sex. If motherhood is such a high calling, then why treat it as a punishment? I also noticed that many people who identify as pro life tend to be social conservatives. So the majority of the “single mothers ruin society” comes from that side. Of course many pro lifers will tout the solution of simply putting the child up for adoption, well that is a choice, and it’s good for choice some, however as someone who works in social services, I can honestly say there are more children languishing in the adoption system then there are parents who are willing to adopt them. Not to mention the many flaws of the system.
This isn’t to say that abortion is the answer, but this is more of a criticism of the pro life side, who constantly push for adoption but don’t seem to be trying to address the issue of the broken adoption/foster system. In the meantime, they’ll praise a woman for choosing to give birth, but if she chooses to raise the child on her own and use government assistance, most likely she will be criticized by the very people who convinced her to carry her child to term.
Why I’m pro choice?
I’m not only grateful that I have access to abortion services (though states are seriously trying to curb that right) but to birth control, because I enjoy my right to control my reproductive system and decide when I want to have children or not. Twice in my life I had to use emergency contraception, even with the unnecessary confusion surrounding how it works and the rise of judgmental pharmacists, I haven’t had any issues with getting it. Though there are politicians trying to fight that access birth control. People often wonder why pro choicers say it’s about control, because it is. Our access to birth control and abortion isn’t 60 years old. Roe v. Wade was legalized in 1973, and birth control wasn’t fully available until the mid 1960′s. Before that single women could obtain birth control and married women had to get permission from their husbands.
Not to mention the forced sterilization that women of color had to endure. Essentially, it tells us that we’re not allowed to reproduce, we’re not allowed to control our own bodies, we don’t deserve to be mothers, unless we fit into . As a woman of color, I feel it makes sense for me to be pro choice, because it signifies me having control over my own reproduction. I’m working towards making sure all women have access to contraception and abortion services, our reproductive freedom is hanging by a thread.