Today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It is also Blog for Choice Day.
Sponsored by NARAL, Blog for Choice Day presents Bloggers with a theme/question on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. This year’s question is in honor of physician, feminist, and murder victim Dr. George Tiller, who was known for the phrase “Trust Women.”
To quote Dr. George Tiller, “Abortion is not about babies, it’s not about families, it’s about women’s hopes and dreams, potential the rest of their lives – abortion is a matter of survival for women.”
Legal and safe abortion is about empowering women to pursue the lives they want, with or without children. I think this is what terrifies anti-abortionists so much. They are terrified that women will make the “wrong” choice in their eyes. It’s why they spread misinformation, harass and intimidate women, and try to control them. They don’t trust women to know what they want, weigh their options intelligently, or cope effectively with the outcomes of their choices. You know, what real adults do all the time.
I’ve been to Planned Parenthood as both a patient and a volunteer, and I remember being asked why I did it, why I chose to schedule gynaecology appointments at a Planned Parenthood that was frequented by protestors. Why? Because I know that when I walk in there, ignoring them, I set an example for others. Because I know that I can trust Planned Parenthood to worry about my health and not my politics. Because one of my greatest nightmares is a world where abortion isn’t legal and safe, where women have to choose between having a child they don’t want and imprisonment or death.
Just after I entered high school, my mother took me to see a movie in Philadelphia. We drove two hours to reach the little Ritz 5 on a cobblestone street near a loud Italian restaurant. We bought the tickets, bought Cadbury chocolate bars, over-salted popcorn. The film I saw that day in that practically empty theater changed my life. It was Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake.
Vera Drake is the story of a 1950s London housewife who is a pillar of her home and community. She also performs abortion at a time when it was illegal in almost all cases.
This film terrified me with its depictions of un-safe in home induced miscarriages and the scenarios these trapped women experienced. Vera Drake depicts a world where women cannot exercise their sexuality or their independence for fear of abuse or incarceration, where an unplanned pregnancy can mean losing your home, your family, even your life (with or without the dangerous illegal abortion.)
My greatest hope is that some day this ideological war (like the resistance to gay marriage) will be distant history, that contemporary abortion films will all be like Gillian Robespierre’s Obvious Child, a romantic comedy about unplanned pregnancy that dares to say the word abortion.
I believe that some day, it will happen, because someday sexism and elitism will be called out for what it is: condescension and mistrust of over half of our society. And that’s just unacceptable. You can trust me on this.
Happy anniversary of Roe v. Wade everyone! May art someday imitate life!