Friday, February 18, 2011

What does it mean to be a woman in the 21st century?

Disclosure:  I think defunding Planned Parenthood is horrendously scary, horrifically offensive and yet another attempt to silence and condemn women for trying to control and protect their own bodies. Planned Parenthood provides  not just abortion services but contraception, disease prevention and many other critical services for women who have no other options for health care because they can't afford insurance. 

In the debate in the House of Representatives (hah) Congresswoman (D) Speier from California was moved to share a very painful, personal moment in service of this cause.  For those who could not or did not, she was able to stand up for them and say you will not silence me and you will not judge me for what I needed to do for me, for my child, for my family. This makes me want to move to her district.  It makes me want to be brave like her. 


Truthout had a brief column about her testimony, in which she speaks not just for women, but for every single American.



http://www.truth-out.org/revealing-her-own-abortion-rep-speier-criticizes-conservatives-failing-empathize-with-women67903

Make sure to watch her statement and check out the last paragraph for the article. I found it articulated what many of us in this community--- no, check that.  I found it articulated what I find so important about the right to choose.  That most women are intelligent, sensitive individuals who can (with or without their families) make grave decisions about their bodies, their lives and the lives of their families.

*****
Planned Parenthood also posted highlights from the debate (3 mins from 3 hours), which I also found moving:





27 comments:

It is what it is said...

Thank you so much for posting this. My husband proudly works for Planned Parenthood. I simply can not imagine living in a country that is void of the education, screening, and services that Planned Parenthood provides.

Sue said...

I send my thanks to your husband for doing such important work. xo

erica said...

Thanks for posting this, Sue. I'm still in awe of Rep. Speier's bravery, and appreciate her telling the kind of story that the political abortion debate seems to ignore far too often.

PP provides so many women with safe and respectful care. I am still grateful to them for the services I received while living hand to mouth.

Michele said...

We are all able to disagree in this great nation, but, to me, providing other care doesnt make providing abortions okay. I'm still proud to be 100% prolife, even when it isnt a happy topic or side of the fence to be on.

Honestly, I just wish it wasnt an issue we had to debate... I wish that people who wanted and loved their children were able to have them and watch them grow up, and those who didnt were able to live their lives childfree... The death of any baby, at any gestational or out-of-the-womb age, breaks my heart.

Sue said...

Michele -- you are right: we *are* able to disagree. And I would take the inverse argument. Just because there is one service provided by this organization that you find offensive, doesn't mean the other services provided have no value. Services like PAP smears and annual exams, contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies, HIV testing and referrals, health education, among many other services.

The government funds many, many programs which I personally find offensive, but I know that as part of a representative democracy, this is part of the deal.

I, too, wish all pregnancies were wanted. But I think the core of this issue is *What does it mean to be human?* *When does life begin?* These are questions that are very personal (philosophical and even spiritual) questions and have personal, even unknowable, answers -- one I can't give you and you can't give for me.

For me, being pro-choice doesn't mean that I think abortion is just fine all the time, no big deal. I think it's an incredibly difficult thing to go through and I don't know that I could. For me, being pro-choice means that *I* get to make this choice for myself, and no one else can make this choice for me -- the government can not tell me what my family looks like or what I can do with my body. MY choice. YOUR choice.

I recently came across several studies that showed that most (60%) women* who choose to have an abortion already have living children. And they make that choice in consideration of their existing family and how a pregnancy and/or baby would impact it.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me here, Michele. Like I said, I wish every baby, every child, was wanted -- and once in the world, was given the love, care, and respect he or she deserves.


*I can cite the source for you, if you would like that information.

Betty M said...

I have found the debate in the US totally perplexing from a European perspective. This decision and the debate in Georgia I think where they want to investigate miscarriages shocked me. The control over a woman's body that these legislators seem to want just does not sit right with their views on freedom from the state in all other spheres. Are they really so blind not to see and understand this?

m said...

Sue, thank you so much for sharing this.

Recent instances of inexplicable misogyny like this has me perplexed. So perplexed I'm unable to get my thoughts into words just yet. Activities like the attempt to defund PP has me stunned and speechless, and I know this is the worst possible time to be speechless. So, I'm amping up my local volunteer work and contributions for causes like this one.

Issues of pro-choice are inextricably linked to our ability to pursue and use assisted reproduction techniques. A former classmate (and boyfriend) is completely unable to comprehend why someone who is so hellbent on being pregnant would promote the ability for someone else to terminate her own pregnancy.

But it is not about that at all:

"
"For me, being pro-choice doesn't mean that I think abortion is just fine all the time, no big deal. I think it's an incredibly difficult thing to go through and I don't know that I could. For me, being pro-choice means that *I* get to make this choice for myself, and no one else can make this choice for me -- the government can not tell me what my family looks like or what I can do with my body. MY choice. YOUR choice."

What's worse, this debate completely clouds ALL of the GOOD work PP does for women. It is not just about abortion, It is about considering women as valued members of society, ones that are competent to make their own health care decisions.

loribeth said...

I saw this on the news over the weekend, & I am in awe of that woman's courage in speaking out, so publicly and in the face of such opposition (and why is it that all the most vocal anti-abortion people are middle-aged white men??). She is my new hero.

The Bohemian Dilettante said...

It's a war against women right now. The bottom line is we have the right to privacy. There are alot of good people fighting.

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