Today, Blog for Choice Day 2008, is the thirty-fifth anniversary of Roe versus Wade. (Canada's own decision on abortion rights--which, to this day, has actually left Canada without any abortion laws on the books--was written much later.) In the wake of the thirty-fourth anniversary, I posted a link to Frontline's 1983 documentary Abortion Clinic. While Abortion Clinic still warrants, as I put it last year, "watching (and rewatching, if you've already seen it), regardless of your opinion about abortion," I wanted to share a more personal reflection this year.
I am pro-choice. I have never had an abortion, nor have I ever been in the position to have to make the decision whether or not to have one. I don't think one has to have been in that position, though, to know that every woman has the right to make that decision herself--without the intervention of government, religious leaders, or the pro-life lobby.
Nevertheless, sensing that there are many who might call me a hypocrite, I've often wondered how well my pro-choice stance aligns with the principles of non-violence and stewardship that I work to incorporate into my life. I've tried to laugh off the accusation of hypocrisy--which, truth be told, comes more from me than anyone else--by stating how my support for a woman's right to choose at least accords with my ovo-lacto vegetarianism: "I eat eggs and I'm pro-choice, so there you go."
But today it finally occurs to me that to impel, coerce or otherwise force a woman--if you'll pardon the crudeness of this next verb--to grow something inside of her for nine months is in fact a kind of violence; it breaches her right to security of person. It is, in fact, for this reason that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that barring abortion amounted to telling Canadian women that section seven of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms excludes them on account of their uteri!
Part of me feels a little embarrassed to have come to this realization only now. But thankfully, my relief in reconciling, at least provisionally, my apparently contradictory beliefs is greater than any wounds to my pride!
Anyway, here are a few more posts and articles (most much better written than my own) befitting this anniversary:
- Erica Jong, writing over at The Huffington Post, asserts that "If Men Could Get Pregnant, Abortion Would be a Sacrament" [via Jezebel.com];
- Salon.com's Eryn Loeb interviews Dr. Susan Wicklund, doctor, abortion services provider, and author of This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor;
- Jill et al give us lots to read with all the "Blog for Choice"-tagged entries over at Feministe;
- Jessica rounds up a lot of the Roe versus Wade anniversary/current American abortion rights coverage over at Jezebel.com; and
- given that Roe v. Wade was an American decision, there isn't a lot of current coverage of abortion rights here in Canada (sadly, not just today, but most days! This is particularly distressing given that there are still a number of issues surrounding access.) Still, there is information out there, if you know where to look. So allow me to direct you to these articles, as well as this page "On the Issues", at the website for the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.