Abortion carries a lot of stigma.
I think we like to think it couldn’t happen to us ~ we couldn’t be in a situation where we needed one. That makes it easier to be judgmental about it.
In general, we can ignore the wide range of circumstances that create a need for an abortion, we can ignore the data which says one in three women will have an abortion, we can rest easy in the belief it won’t happen to us.
Of course, my impression of people’s opinions on abortion are warped by my weekly experiences with radical anti-choice people who want to talk about fallopian pregnancies still being a life. When I talk to women in the mainstream of life, one on one, I often discover they are in favor of choice.
They’re not talking about it, not proclaiming it from the rooftops like I am these days, but they favor choice. They like to say, “I wouldn’t have one myself, but I support other women’s right to choose.” That makes sense.
And I understand there are layers of reasons for their reluctance to take a public stand.
But that’s why legislators are able to chip away at abortion rights. The support for choice is not loud enough to shore up the politicians who are on the fence ~ we don’t help them choose to vote against laws that limit access.
I understand people’s reluctance to step out in support of access. It worries me to watch us losing ground, but I get it.
BUT ~ birth control?
I didn’t even think birth control was actually controversial.
Yes, I know the Catholic hierarchy is against it, and always has been. And I know, having been Catholic up until recently, that many, many, Catholic couples use birth control, and feel ok about it.
I know some Protestants ~ some Southern Baptists ~ have decided that being open to having children is a mandate from God, although they’re not insisting that you be receptive to pregnancy every time you have sex. Yet.
But if you look around, there are not that many ten and twelve kid Catholic families anymore ~ or huge Protestant families for that matter~ like there were back before birth control was legal and accepted. I’m pretty sure that’s not because we’re just that successful at Natural Family Planning.
So really, I thought for most of us, birth control was fully accepted.
But suddenly, anti-birth control Republicans are all over the place.
I’m not going to rehash the story here - surely you’ve heard ~ Obama tried to mandate birth control coverage by all employers. That outraged the Catholic hierarchy, and some Protestant leaders jumped on the outrage express. You would have thought Obama was advocating for mandatory Satanic sexual rituals.
I thought there would be push-back. I thought all of us women and our partners who have benefitted from birth control, who only have one or two kids, or just three or four kids instead of ten, would step out in support of his stance.
It didn’t happen. Apparently, we’re not so worried about access to contraceptives for women who work for Catholic organizations, even if they’re not Catholic.
Maybe we thought it was safe to sit back and watch and wait. See what happened. Maybe we thought Obama had it covered, we didn’t have to do anything.
But with all the anti-choice leaders up in arms, Obama compromised.
The compromise wasn’t good enough for the anti-choice crowd, of course. They’re still having fits.
And it made the liberals mad – how dare he compromise? Suddenly there was all kinds of righteous indignation flying around from the left too ~ not so much against the anti-crowd, but against Obama for compromising.
And that kind of annoys me. What do we expect?
Here’s the thing. If we don’t speak out in support of leaders when they’re doing what we want, if we don’t encourage them loudly when they’re on the right track, they can’t hold that stance in the face of strong resistance. It is up to us to speak up.
We are losing access to abortion. If we aren’t careful, we will lose access to birth control too.
So when my friend, GF, who’s blogged on these pages a couple of times, invited me and Servalbear to join this movement ~ Bloggers United for Human Rights, I was delighted. Today ~ February 15 ~ we’re blogging for Reproductive Rights, and asking other bloggers to do the same.
Of course, Servalbear and I blog about choice all the time. But today, I want to ask you to speak out.
Rise up in favor of all reproductive choices ~ having children, in vitro fertilization, birth control, choosing to be childless, and abortion.
If you don’t, our options will disappear. Not just access to abortion, but access to birth control. With personhood bills in the wings, we are headed toward creating a reality of the satiric Monty Python song “Every Sperm is Sacred.”
Is that really what we want???