Tuesday, January 22, 2008
On this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, NARAL Pro-Choice America has asked us all to share our reasons for being pro-choice.
I'm pro-choice because I believe that every human is entitled to be in charge of his or her own body.
...Because being in charge of your own body means being able to make decisions for yourself without the interference of others.
...Because motherhood shouldn't be forced upon anyone.
...Because losing a foetus might be hard, but losing a mother, sister, daughter or friend is way worse.
...Because we can't even guarantee the health, safety, and nutrition of the born.
...Because we can't let the beliefs of the few govern the lives of all. Our constitution says so.
...Because forcing women to be pregnant and bear a child as punishment for their sexual activity is messed up beyond all logic.
There are other reasons that I'm not really able to articulate right now, but that's the gist of it.
Reproductive rights are under attack. The point of being pro-choice isn't that you love (or even necessarily like) abortion, but rather that you a) stay out of other people's business and b) let them make their own decisions about their own lives and needs. This seems to be terrifying for some people, particularly the wealthy white men who run this country, but it's necessary.
Banning abortion completely not only does nothing to lower the abortion rate, it leads to a whole bunch of dead women. In Colombia, where abortion is completely illegal in all circumstances, there are cases of women dying miserable, painful deaths when ectopic pregnancies or other early complications went horribly wrong.
If you believe that a foetus is a human life and is sacred, that's fine. That seems to be part of most major religions, and I'm not arguing with faith. Being pro-choice means remembering the separation of church and state, and realizing that civic life and religious life are not tied together. If you don't believe in ending a pregnancy, then don't. But remember that other people's beliefs are valid, too, even if they're different than yours.
So, I saw the movie Juno recently. It's getting a lot of buzz and some really great reviews. One thing that I've noticed, though, particularly from the feminist blogosphere, is the insistence that a teenager in Juno's position would obviously just had an abortion and been done with it. That somehow the film is less pro-choice because the character doesn't terminate her pregnancy.
Now, besides the obvious answer that then the movie would have been incredibly short, the other thing that seemed obvious to me was this:
Having choice means you can choose NOT to have an abortion, too. The whole point of reproductive freedom is being able to make the right decision for yourself, at that point in your life.
Anyway, I found it a little funny that so many people were dissecting Juno's decisions as though she were a real person. We are talking about a movie where one character puts deodorant on his thighs (!!) and another cuts out magazine pictures of dogs obsessively because she can't own one. The main character is named Juno and her little sister is Liberty Bell.....these are not exactly real people here......
Back to the point, though. Here is a film about a young woman who makes her own decisions. She's in charge of her own sexuality, she's independent, smart and strong. Criticisms about "oh, but she made all these decisions so quickly and without considering carefully" not only miss the point, but show a misunderstanding of the teenage brain. Teenagers make snap decisions. That's what they do. In Juno's case, though, the character seems to have been raised to know herself, to believe in herself, and to go from there. If you're sure of who you are, you're more able to decide what you need and want.
Also, Ellen Page's portrayal is incredible because though she's glib and witty and sarcastic, we can tell that it's not all there is to the character. The writing doesn't necessarily make the layers obvious, and other actors might have failed.
For a female character in a movie in 2008, that's remarkable. Sick though it is, female characters in mainstream media right now are usually sub-human, one-dimensional, sexist creations.
And there you have it. I'm sure I'll remember more in just a few minutes, but it's breakfast time. Must eat.
love and hugs and magic spells.