Perspective Disclaimer – I’m generally pro-choice politically and pro-life personally, and also happen to be ecstatically a little over 8 months pregnant. These are my thoughts, coming from that starting place.
When did “woman’s right to chose” become such a reductive phrase? In other words, when did we, as a generalized society, begin to fight so fiercely for a woman’s right to choose – only if that choice aligns with the one WE think she should make?
If a woman wants to get an abortion, millions will “rush to her side”, proudly offering their support from the comfort of their phones and computers. Pledges are signed, photos and memes posted, blogs re-shared, all dedicated to protecting the right of that woman, and women everywhere, to have access to a safe abortion. There are many, although far less, who take real and significant steps to protect this right, such as meeting with policy makers, running programs to support women in what can be a challenging time, the other efforts that require more than a click of a “like button” or a trite sentence of generic support.
But what if a woman wants to carry the baby full term and then give it up for adoption? If that is her choice and we are truly supporting a woman’s right to choose, where is the outpouring of support for that? As a woman, I feel fairly confident that if I chose an abortion, there is at least an expectation of health and safety standards for the procedure, and I would have a comforting notion of this general cloud of support and woman-power behind me. If I chose an adoption, could I expect the same level of help, support, and access to a safe procedure? Are there any sort of quality controls or standards when it comes to picking an adoption agency or the delivery and adoption process itself? How can I be sure my baby ends up with a good family? Sure, I could google these things, but the fact that I have more knowledge about abortion than adoption, without actually researching either, is telling.
What if a woman wants to keep her baby? Do those same millions stand behind her right to choose that? Or will she be judged by the majority of everyone she meets based on her marital status, age, sexual orientation, income level, or race? If a woman’s choice to keep her baby is the best choice for her, are we fighting to make sure that, regardless of her marital status, age, sexual orientation, etc., that her and her baby have access to the resources needed for a safe and healthy pregnancy, delivery, and life with her baby?
If we so adamantly value a woman’s right to choose what is best for her, WHY do we question every decision she makes, unless that decision is an abortion?
Here’s a personal example, under the “keeping the baby” category. I am an 8 month pregnant woman, who is choosing to have a c-section. This is a decision that was made by me, with input from my husband and medical professionals. Based on the responses to this choice that I have gotten from friends, family, and complete strangers, you would have thought that I was walking around telling people that we planned to be abusive parents. If we value woman’s choice, why is it okay for the majority of society to respond to “I’m getting a c-section” with complete horror, incredibly personal health questions, and lists of reasons why the decision that I am making is so terrible. How is this so different from the behavior of pro-lifers who harass and shame a woman who chooses an abortion? Am I somehow unfit to make this choice for myself?
If we truly want to support a woman’s right to choose, this means we cannot pick and choose which choices we support. It means ensuring that every woman has access to safe abortions, adoptions, pregnancy, delivery, and baby care, and means supporting, not judging her, regardless of which choices she makes.