January 22, 2006

January 22nd Blogging for Choice

A quick on-the-road post...

As I've been traveling the last few days, I mulled over what to write about for today's blogging for choice commitment. So many things to say, so many that have already been said, by me, and by others more eloquent than me. I've been thinking about a story about the choice made by someone I know, and how supporting reproductive autonomy means supporting the lives of women and the children they choose to have. Too often there is plenty of condemnation of young single women who choose to have a child, but not plenty of support.

And too often, the stigma of being a young single mother and the "shame" of being on welfare discourage women from using the resources available to help them. This is one of the reasons I am skeptical of the pro-life label for the parts of the movement that are heavily invested in "slut-shaming," because the best interest of the mother who chooses to have a child, is that she is able to access resources to help them both be healthy and care for before and after birth. A young woman who wants to keep her child, but has few resources and no family in the area has few options besides the government, and a strong stigma discouraging her from going "on welfare," as well as a lingering social stigma of single motherhood (about which Lauren at Feministe has written recently).

And so I am reminded of the woman I know, who while going through a difficult time in her life, and in an abusive relationship, accidentally got pregnant. In the disorder of everything else in her life, choosing to have a child was something stable, important, and able to turn her life around. An uninsured student on financial aid, she needed healthcare. She had to drop out to have the baby, and didn't have the financial aid, so she needed public assistance. And after the baby came, she needed WIC to help pay for her child's needs.

Every negative possibility the right could throw at you, eh? Unmarried in a bad relationship, an accidental pregnancy, welfare...

And four years later, a college education, a full time job, a happy child, and an independent woman.

The power of choice. I wish it were more common.

Posted by binky at January 22, 2006 02:48 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Reproductive Autonomy


Brava! ^.^

In addition to grats on a wonderful post, thank you for touching so eloquently and lightly on something I was having so much trouble phrasing when I was putting together my post this morning: That the culture of life is nowhere to be seen amongst a group of people who insist that babies be born that they refuse to help provide for.

Hope your roat drip is going well. ^.^

Posted by: StealthBadger at January 23, 2006 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

ACK. Road trip.

*toddles off for more coffee*

Posted by: StealthBadger at January 23, 2006 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

Your friend sounds like she did something wonderful out of personal strength, but the way you phrase it strikes me as false. Given our country's history, she would probably have the choice to have an abortion (certainly not a safe one, but an abortion), to act recklessly in order to miscarry her child, even if abortion were illegal. Mothers deserve credit for sustaining, nurturing, and encouraging their children even in countries where abortion is illegal, they still have a choice in those circumstances.

Posted by: Morris at January 23, 2006 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

And the fact that many "choose" activities in which they gravely endanger their own life to TRY to end their prgenancies points out just how repugnant and oppressive anti-abortion laws are.

Posted by: Armand at January 23, 2006 01:31 PM | PERMALINK

Many people choose to murder other people. By your logic, that would point out how repugnant and oppressive anti-murder laws are.

Posted by: Morris at January 23, 2006 02:17 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't say a word about anti-murder laws. I said anti-abortion laws.

Posted by: Armand at January 23, 2006 02:36 PM | PERMALINK

You did say abortion and not murder, but if the logic of your construct is true, that a person chooses to do X even when it is illegal, ergo laws against X are repugnant and oppressive, what happens if we drop murder in as X instead of abortion. If your construct were true, then it would still be true. Only if it's a false argument to begin with will it not work.

Posted by: Morris at January 23, 2006 02:43 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, no, that's NOT what I said.

Anti-abortion laws force people into situations in which they put their own life at great risk.

Anti-murder laws - not so much.

And by approving anti-aboortion laws (odious) societies are forcing people to risk their lives because people A, B and C have a philosohical distaste for the health care choices favored by people D, E and F.

The fact that murder is illegal doesn't force you into back-alley medical care.

Posted by: Armand at January 23, 2006 03:02 PM | PERMALINK

I can't help being reminded of Baltar's discussion of sovereignty the other day as you talk about philosophical distaste in relation to human suffering. I wonder how much human suffering has been allowed to continue because of belief in sovereignty, because of a philosophical distaste by country A of intervening in country B's affairs. It is philosophical distaste which accounts for the existence of laws, philosophical distaste for ambiguity, for what is right being determined by a religious or other authority, philosophical distaste for certain types of behaviors.

And, you are mistaken, murdering someone in this society does put a person at great physical risk, because the police might arrest them, try them, and execute them. Just because breaking the law requires personal risk does not in itself bring merit to those behaviors or make malignant the laws against them.

Posted by: Morris at January 23, 2006 04:49 PM | PERMALINK

It's not JUST philosophical distaste that accounts for laws - though often that's a reason for them, sure. But that's hardly a point in law's favor.

And what does your second paragraph have to do with anything? I never asserted what you seem to charge me with saying in the second sentence. And I haven't the remotest idea how you're 1st sentence is relevant. I was not talking about murderers. I was simply talking about whether people in society faced a horrible burden by the existence of laws against murder. Typically, they don't. There aren't usually loads of people in this country chomping at the bit to go kill their neighbors. The existence of laws restricting health care choices are an entirely different matter. They are a burden - sometimes a deadly burden on the women they endanger.

Posted by: Armand at January 23, 2006 05:45 PM | PERMALINK
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