Today is the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the 3rd annual ‘Blog for Choice Day’. I participated last year, when the writing prompt was, “Why you’re pro choice“, as well as in 2006, when I declared that I think that the rights of the pregnant woman supersede those of the unborn child, and that the answer to the abortion question shouldn’t be to outlaw it, but rather, to improve medical care, education, and family planning access so that fewer and fewer women find themselves having to make this difficult decision.
The writing prompt this year is ‘why it’s important to vote pro-choice’. In an election year, especially an election year like this one, I think that it is more important than ever to consider this issue. With so many of the Republican candidates being firmly in the anti-choice camp, it becomes more important than ever to stand up and be counted, to let your elected (or hoping to be elected) officials know where you stand on this issue.
If you consider yourself pro-choice, if you believe that a woman has the right to decide whether to carry her pregnancy to term or not, then you must vote pro-choice. President Bush has had the opportunity to appoint Supreme Court justices who adhere to his anti-choice beliefs, and the Court is close to becoming an anti-choice court.
If you consider yourself pro-choice, you must vote pro-choice at every level, at the very least, at the state and federal levels. If the court does overturn Roe v. Wade, that will not make abortion illegal, but will leave it in the hands of the states. So make sure the people you vote for in your state will reflect your beliefs.
If you consider yourself pro-choice, you must vote for candidates who will improve access to providers. Too many counties (41% of California’s counties, and California is a pretty red state, even though our Governator is blue) have no providers where a woman can go if she needs to have an abortion. If you’re middle class or wealthy, this isn’t such a big deal. But if you’re young and broke, or just plain broke, driving a few hundred miles might be out of the question for you.
If you consider yourself pro-choice, or even if you consider yourself pro-life, electing candidates who will vote for prevention legislation, including accurate and age appropriate sex education (what is age appropriate? BEFORE they need it. When and after is too late.) and access to free birth control, will decrease the demand for abortions.
If you believe that abortion is not for you, don’t have one. If it goes against the morals that you believe your child should have, then teach your children what your morals are, and why you hold them close to your heart. Not all teens are sexually active. Not all teens who get pregnant have abortions. Not all (female) teens who are sexually active get pregnant. Not all abortions are procured by teens who didn’t have information or access to birth control. Our right to decide what to do, or not to do, with our bodies, should be left with the individual, and the state has no right to get in the way of that choice.
If you consider yourself to be pro-choice, it is vital that you remember that on election day. Not just this November, but in every election.
UPDATE: For a great read on this topic, check out this article on Salon.com. Many different voices discussing their own rememberences around Roe v. Wade. Some women who remember life before, others who have grown up assuming it would always stand strong, and still others who wish to remind us that the pro-lifers are disingenuous when they claim to want to prevent abortion, but vote to disallow sex education classes. All very well written. If you’re not a premium member of Salon, you will see a page advertising something or another. Just wait a minute, and you can go to the full article.