Yesterday was “Blog for Choice Day 2010” but as I was on a train sans wi-fi for most of the day, I missed it. I did, however, read an incredible post by Sara Gwin of Silence is Betrayal: a Feminist Blog. Gwin presents a history of George Tiller (this year’s theme, in his honor, was “trust women”), mentioning that Tiller, who was murdered last year by a Christian extremist (a terrorist, really, with a history of violence against abortion providers), always wore a bracelet that said “trust women.”
Gwin questions the logic of many in the extreme right who claim to want to stop abortion, but force abstinence-only education on youth and make it difficult for those who need it most to access (and afford) birth control. I’m personally deeply torn about abortion; though I absolutely, 100% support the right for any woman to have one, for any reason, my own personal conviction has always been that I don’t think I could handle it emotionally. I suspect a lot of women feel that way. To me, that’s exactly why we need safe, easy access to birth control, and Plan B. Or as Gwin puts it:
If you really care about preventing abortions, here are some practical things you could do aside from tormenting women at clinics or supporting anti-choice ballot measures.
* You could actually support the routinely vilified Planned Parenthoods, where 97 percent of their services are for preventative health services.
* You could talk to your Representatives about ditching the abstinence-only-until-marriage funding after several years of being a total failure that increased the rates of teen STD rates, pregnancy, and abortion after it was decreasing in the 90s.
* Work to get pass legislation that gives women paid maternity leave. Currently, mothers get 6 weeks of unpaid leave. In Norway, parents can take 46-weeks at 100% pay or 56-weeks at 80% pay. The U.K. gives 39 paid weeks (up to 52 in April 2010).
* Support policies that benefit working parents. Support equal pay, flexible hours, less hours, work from home, subsidized childcare, universal healthcare, etc. These kinds of things could help women feel like raising a child is doable.
* Work to better adoption services to make this an easier process.
* Support welfare. This is an invaluable resource to those struggling to get by and can especially be a lifesaver for parents.
There are so many ways to reduce rates of abortion without infantilizing women and allowing someone else to make choices for them.
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