On my office wall, I have a sign that is a leftover from before the last presidential election that says "I am Pro-Choice America." I should note that many of my students and colleagues are pro-life, and that perhaps it is unwise for me to leave this sign up and visible, right above my desk. But I leave it there because I think that it's important to put a real human face on this "pro-choice" position.
I have never been pregnant. I have never had an abortion, though I know a number of women who have had them. I have supported close friends through abortions, though I do not claim to know what they went through in making that decision, nor do I claim to know what I would do if I were to experience an unplanned pregnancy. The fact that I have not had an unplanned pregnancy has absolutely nothing to do with me being smarter or more responsible than other women. It has had to do with luck.
I was raised Catholic. My grandmother on my mother's side had ten children. Her mother had died when she was two years old as a result of a botched illegal abortion, leaving her four oldest children to live in orphanages and my grandmother, the youngest, to live with a woman from the church. My great-grandparents didn't have the money to feed another child. My great-grandmother made a choice, an illegal and ultimately deadly one. Ultimately, I think that her daughter's (my grandmother's) choice to have as many children as she did was influenced by growing up motherless as the result of her own mother's choice. Still, my grandmother supported two of her daughters (my aunts) through abortions. She did not disown them. She did not judge them for their choices. My mother was 19 years old and unmarried when she became pregnant with me; Roe v. Wade had passed the year before, and she could have aborted the pregnancy. Because she didn't I am here to write this post. This is not a simple issue for me, and I don't think that it's a simple issue for most women.
I suppose that ultimately the simplicity of the issue or whether abortion is right or wrong according to one's personal beliefs isn't really the point though. I don't know if I believe that it would be right to have an abortion were I to become pregnant right now. I can't know, really. Each of us has to make that decision for herself, given our own circumstances and our own beliefs.
Personal convictions aside, however, on the morality of abortion, I nevertheless believe that access to safe and legal abortion is imperative to the lives of women. And I suppose that's really all that I have to say on the subject.
2 years ago