Monday, January 22, 2007

My Choice

Spurred on by the Blog for Choice project, I'm compelled to write about why I am "pro-choice".

Long before I was ever in the position to consider having an abortion myself, I was in favour of a woman choosing for herself. I had a lot of arguments for it, most of which I only discussed with people from 'my side' of the fence. Honestly I don't know what those were. I'd assume they all hinge on the fact that a woman is an autonymous human being able to choose what happens with her body. It terrifies me that the personhood of a living breathing human being with a long history and a life isn't a good enough reason for abortion access. Terrifies me, but angers me too that the embryo or fetus is conferred these personhood rights in place of the pregnant woman's.

Then, as now, I had little urge to discuss/argue this issue with people who disagree. There is nothing they could say which would change my mind, and I doubt I could change theirs. That said, I do think that people sharing personal stories of abortion can be very helpful - it lets us know what actual experiences of women are (yes, men are involved, and their stories are part of the mix, but they are not primary).

The times I was pregnant and caring for my two sons were some of the best in my life. Despite the lack of sleep and constant motion of caring for an infant, I was so happy to be there with them and the trials and tribulations of pregnancy were worth it. When I became pregnant in 2005, I knew right away that I could not continue the pregnancy or have a baby. Bf was not interested in being a father, and I could barely keep up with the children I already had. The 'irony' of the pregnancy was that it came on the eve of my getting an IUD, a 10-year birth control solution. I found out when I went in to get it. Ha. Ha. We weren't laughing. It was shock, mostly. Shock and worry.

It was an easier choice [to terminate] than I thought it would be. Knowing what I had already been through, how strained my financial and emotional resources were, I could make a good decision and make it fairly quickly. Not without struggle, but not the gut-wrenching decision some describe. I was lucky to have great health care providers throughout the process and physically recovered quickly (although the pregnancy hormones definitely through me for a loop - I think those on top of the stress I was already feeling prompted the psychological difficulties of the past 16 months). The procedure and the aftermath were not 'icky' or untenable. It was the best decision I could have made, and I'm glad to this day.

Although there are many 'what ifs' brought out when discussing it, I don't care to go into intricate shadings on abortion. So many want to say it's okay in some circumstances and not others (and there are many circumstances in which I personally might disagree with an abortion, but it's not my choice). If a woman can't or doesn't want to continue a pregnancy, it seems best that she doesn't.

I believe that women are people with rights that go beyond a wishful morality. I believe in choice.

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