Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Right to Procreate, Or Not

I was definitely intrigued by Mr. Doggett's presentation this week because I did not previously know much about how abortion became such a national discussion. Before writing anything else, I think it's important to lay out my bias/experience because I know those things greatly influence my opinion, especially in this situation. I think my first exposure to abortion and what it was came in 6th/7th grade when I was part of a program called Our Whole Lives (OWL) a comprehensive sex education run through my UU church. In addition to this relatively liberal sex-ed program, I've lived in and around many other liberally-minded people. To me, in this point of my life, pro-choice is pro-life (as one of Mr. Doggett's posters read). Women who want to carry their children to term should be able to, women who don't shouldn't have to....both should have adequate medical care no matter what the situation. It's about having the option open.

I was especially interested in our discussion regarding the "right to procreate" because I've never really thought there was a discussion about that. I've always thought people had a choice to have or not have children and shouldn't be judged for it. The 1942 Skinner v. Oklahoma case was interesting because at that point, the Habitual Criminal Sterilization Act said a person who committed three felonies could be sterilized. In the context of WWII, this act seems preposterous. In the U.S. we were beginning to see how awful eugenics were and it's crazy to me that something like this would have existed. The decision of this case ultimately said there was a right to privacy and right to procreate.

So now...the right to procreate or not to. In "The Woes of Roe", Collins wrote, "...women seeking abortions have been put through a lot of unnecessary trauma. Trips of hundreds of miles to the nearest clinic. Requirements that they have ultrasounds, or have ultrasounds and listen to the physician describe the ultrasound..." In the margins I wrote, "kinda sounds like abuse". A woman should not have to suffer this much to receive an abortion. Although the people around her (maybe the majority of the state she's in) may disagree, I ultimately think pro-choice covers everyone's opinion. You should have the choice to abort, or not, or think about it, or whatever. But your individual opinion on whether or not abortion is "good" should not prevent anyone, particularly people in extenuating circumstances from getting the treatment they desire and deserve. Collins continues, "No matter how conservative the state...you will hit the point where the people object to politicians messing with a woman's private business." This statement resonated with me because I've consistently thought more women should be working on the legislation around abortion (if there needs to be much at all). And in the end, it is "private business" and is situational. A choice is a choice, not a mandate and should not come with any social backlash and right now it does, and that makes me uncomfortable. Now, no matter what decision a woman makes she is looked at and judged and I think that's incredibly unfair.

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