Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why is choice important? still thinking...

I've been wondering about why I get so nuts when I hear about anti-choice legislation & talk.  I think I've figured it out pretty well. 

Why is Choice important?

Well, first, I think that everyone's life is different.  Like the saying, "if everyone you knew put their problems in a pile and each was given the chance to choose someone else's, you'd see what others were dealing with and pick up your own problems again."  For the most part, I think people try to do their best with their lives.  Trying harder in some areas over others, of course.  I know there have been times in my own life when I have made choices that were the best at the time, but that I wouldn't make if the same thing happened to me today. But how can I judge my past self harshly?  Can't and won't.  So I won't judge another life harshly either.  Do your best and I'm okay with you.  (Don't do your best and I'm all up in your face, just makin' that clear.)

Second, I think that the status of women and the societal support of women have been declining lately.  I can't put an exact moment when I started feeling like this (again) but I just have.  Maybe it's come up with all the crap that's happening with politics - everyone in the GOP doing their macho 'hoo-rah' mating dance for the nation and all the politicos nit-picking every inflection, mistake and position they make.  Guh.  All the grandstanding about how conservative a person is - saying that they think the Bible should determine the laws of our land (and that being the Old Testament or the Torah).  And along with all that, a push to remove the laws (or support laws that deny rights) that allow men and women to make many personal choices about what their family will look like.  Maybe it's the shift in the economy where so many able bodied, educated men are out of gainful employment.  Who knows.  Maybe it's just me being the age and stage I am at in life.  But I don't think it's just that simple.

Now I've been a feminist for as long as I can remember.  I grew up with an older brother, whom I love very much, but who made it very clear to me that being a girl/woman was a "less-than" quality.  My wonderful grandparents had very distinctive ideas (and ideaLs) for what girls should do or be.  My own amazing dad was great to talk the talk about supporting women, but did very little toward walking that walk.  (Okay, he has always supported me as my chearleader.  So that's awesome.  But ask him how many diapers he's changed in his life or what a schedule for a child's day might look like, or how things went the last time he babysat my kids, and he'd have to get back to you while he checked on that.)  When I was a child, people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  They were always so sweet to me when I told them I wanted to be a Mom and a teacher (both of which I am today).  When my mom asked me, I remember her giving an audible sigh of defeat, and her saying, "You know you could do ANYTHING right?"  My mom wasn't/isn't always the kind of mom I wanted, but she's a great feminist educator.  :) 

Third, I find it really disconcerting that there is both a push to "limit government" (a Republican platform) AND a push to limit personal freedoms.  I don't think it's possible to have both.  You either limit the role the government plays in a citizen's daily life, or your are thinking that a corporation counts as a 'citizen' and then we all understand where your 'family values' are coming from, thank-you-very-much.  Figure out how to REALLY balance the budget, limit threats to our nation's natural resources, work on developing strong and vibrant pre-elementary education and family/community bonds to keep almost grown kids out of prisons, work with other nations to encourage and support peace, and limit yourselves in your ridiculous paychecks - why the incredible interest in procreation? 

Parenthood should only be asked of those adults who really want to take on the challenge.  Parenthood is a twenty-four hour experience: imbalanced, frustrating, humbling, awe-inspiring, joyous, infuriating, boring, expensive, time-consuming, sleep-depriving, and mentally taxing.  Just like my own choice not to take up marathon running, I don't expect everyone I meet to think that being a parent is as incredible as I do.

On a financial front - kids are expensive.  Just the simple acts of feeding, clothing and caring for a child takes big chunk of change out of the "fun time fund".  Not having any extra money causes a great deal of stress and strain.  And for society, raising a new generation of children is a huge expense.  Granted, on both fronts, a very lucrative investment, but also one with some real amounts of risk.  For people to say that a woman (or a couple) should always choose to carry a pregnancy full term, I say, mind your business.  I figure if a woman or a couple decides that today is not the day to take on that long-term marathon of parenthood, then I figure they've probably thought it out and are right. 

But for families who feel like every menstruation is an opportunity for a new life to join them, I celebrate your bravery.  I applaud your sense of adventure and sincere force of positivity.  You Go!!  I love that the Duggars are sharing their lives with the world.  I've got a husband, two kids, a messy house and two dogs that live to drive me nuts (but are so durn cute), and I would NEVER willingly invite a camera crew into my home at any point.  I don't watch the show, though I have seen parts of it, and I celebrate the families that are so large they need a school bus.  They've figured out how to feed, clothe, educate and love all of them - raising those kids to be as self-sufficient as their parents.  That is fantastic. 

But for either crowd, I've gotta say, the choice is yours.  Not mine.  But making sure our government is NOT a part of that choice, for anyone, that's MY CHOICE.  And I will never sit idly by and allow a group where the majority are privileged white men decide the fertility rights of the women in our nation.  I trust women, and I vote.  I hope you do, too.

and as an afterthought - i want people to ask questions and wonder.  here are some quotes and links about choice in America:


Not sure how unbiased this is, but it's worth a look -


“Let's never stop asking questions. Questions give us a harbor to remember where we once lived mentally. They remind us of the possibilities that can be born out of thoughts and musings, and they link together pattern that define our lives.” ...
“It's daring to be curious about the unknown, to dream big dreams, to live outside prescribed boxes, to take risks, and above all, daring to investigate the way we live until we discover the deepest treasured purpose of why we are here.”
Luci Swindoll, I Married Adventure

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