Every part of you belongs to you.
–ILU-486, by Amanda Ching
It’s Mother’s Day. And while I’d love to just post a happy one to all the mothers out there, whether to children of their own womb, adopted, fur-babies, or creative projects, and be done with it, I cannot.
For there is a war on parents.
We are all parents. Whether child-free or child-abundant, we all nurture something, we all help something grow. I’m as much a parent to my books as I am to my dog, Tyee, and as much as I will be when my partner and I finally decide to get down to some egg-fertilizing. My mother is not only parent to me, but to her own creative projects, to her garden, to Tyee, to my partner though we’ve not gotten hitched. We are also parents to ourselves, once we leave the nest: setting bedtimes, setting chores, comforting ourselves when we’re down, rewarding good behaviour. We have to be, because such a relationship with friends or partners can be dangerous.
This is a lesson I learned from Demeter when I went to Spring Mysteries. I saw Her in Her shrine, and She told me this. I wanted to know how I could be a better daughter to my mom, and She told me that we are all parents — and to speak to Her daughter.
Something I’ve learned on my own time is that while we are all parents to something, what we are parents to is a choice. And it should be. We should be able to choose who or what we will nurture.
If you choose not to have children so you can instead direct your energy to nurturing your own life, your garden, your cooking skills, your hiking time, your skee ball skills…whatever you choose to nurture, that’s what you’re parenting. And it’s all good. No one should ever have the power to control this choice for you.
If you choose to have children, you get to choose when. This is a human right given to us by the gods Themselves — or the Universe, or Chance, or whatever you ascribe to (let’s not forget the Abrahamic God isn’t even pro-life) — for even before we had doctors giving us birth control, there were herbal options to reduce fertility or produce a miscarriage.
That right has only ever been taken away by people who are convinced the gods (or “God”) is talking to them. Controlling a person’s right to choose to have children or not is a human ill.
The year I was born there were still legal restrictions on abortion in Canada. The 1969 law was still in effect, making access to abortion uneven. It wasn’t until 1988 that all laws restricting abortion were struck down and they became available on-demand with no restrictions or waiting (in theory; abortion isn’t covered by all health-care plans in Canada and we do have a pro-choice movement who are largely concerned with making this happen). Abortions should be on-demand, no questions asked.
In the past few years I have watched a terrible maelstrom of anti-life (anti-choice is anti-life) take over our neighbor to the south. Constantly trying to pass “personhood” amendments — what a ridiculous word! — wherein the life and rights of a zygote are affirmed but the life and rights of the person holding the zygote are stripped, tossed aside. A continuing, building climate of hate towards people who can carry zygotes, no matter their gender, and their loving partners (this is not a war on women for it effects more than just one gender, thank you very much). It makes me terrified for the people of the United States.
For a while I thought I was safe in Canada — one of the few nations with no legal restrictions on abortion. This is as it should be, in case you’re confused.
Except…. MP Woodworth has brought M312 before Parliament. Motion 312 seeks to redefine the definition of when a fetus becomes a person under the Canada Criminal Code — in other words, it’s a personhood amendment. It’s being brought to a vote in just 6 weeks time. We are fighting it every step of the way, unwilling to let Canada’s future look like a Margaret Atwood dystopian novel.
I’ve been told several times that there’s no point in fighting. That PM Harper has “promised” that he won’t reopen the debate on abortion, that it’ll never get passed, so what’s the point in getting so worked up?
Even if we’re confident that the motion will be defeated, even if Harper keeps his promises, there is always a reason to fight. We must show our sister nation it can be done — we must show them we will never cave in. We will continue fighting no matter the cost.
Because abortion rights affect everyone — not just the owners of uteri. They affect me and my boyfriend, and my mother, and my boyfriend’s mother, and my boyfriend’s dad, and my friends, and my dog, and you and your entire family, and everyone you have ever known.
If you have a mother and you love and respect her or him or them*, then you will be pro-choice. To be anything less is an affront to the person who carried you, the person who bore you, or the person who raised you (whether those are the same person or not). To believe that the person who gave you life shouldn’t have complete control over zie’s own body is despicable.
It’s Mother’s Day. What are you going to do?
*As I’ve said in a prior post about abortion I use the term mother to refer to people of all genders because I see motherhood as a role non-specific to gender. You are free to disagree with me on this.