You’re probably reading this post because you think I’m going to blog about how immoral it is for uterus-bearing people to have any sort of determination over their own lives, because I think that a fetus’ life matters more than a grown person’s.
I’m not. That’s not what pro-life means. That’s what people in the anti-choice movement, who have co-opted the term pro-life, mean when they rant about abortion being “murder” and hold up their signs with the pictures of the dead fetuses in an effort to scare people to their way of thinking.
I’m pro-life because I believe that every person has the right to a healthy life. I believe that having a right to a healthy life includes the right to determine one’s own reproductive health.
This doesn’t just mean that I believe that abortions should be offered free and on demand without apology. I do believe that abortions should be offered free and on demand, without apology. But that’s not all I believe.
The “right to choose” isn’t much of a right if you don’t have the ability. It’s very easy to talk about it as “pro-choice” if you’re middle-class, white, or Canadian (with all the free health care, I mean). But, you know, the legal right to get an abortion isn’t going to stop a 13 year old from stabbing herself in the uterus with a pencil if she doesn’t know abortions are available, or if they indeed, are not available anywhere near her.
I see this argument a lot. “Feminists shouldn’t complain because abortion is a legal right, and that has nothing to do with this 13 year old’s choice to stab herself with a pencil!”
This argument is fucking bullshit.
The right to choose doesn’t just stop at the legislation that allows abortion. It includes the amount of abortion clinics in a given area, the coverage of abortion costs by insurance providers, availability of aftercare services for people who have just had an abortion, and availability of information regarding abortion services to people who might not know otherwise (poor people, teenagers, etc). The right to choose includes pre- and post-natal care for mothers* of all income and age brackets, information on the risks of both carrying a child to term and abortion, funding for pregnancy and childcare medical services, daycare, and a comprehensive system for adoption that doesn’t let kids fall through the cracks. The legal right to choose means precisely jack and shit if abortion options and abortion funding are not in place across the board. The legal right to choose means precisely jack and shit if pregnancy and childcare services and funding are not in place across the board.
And they’re not.