A good friend of mine posted this on Facebook today:
I do think it is important we let folks know our position on an issue. That doesn’t have to include efforts to bring them around to our way of thinking or countering every point they try to make to support theirs. Sometimes the best thing is to let them, and more importantly, others, know that we differ and we believe, and will act differently. Breaking one’s silence is sometimes hard but very powerful.
And while I discuss a lot of political views openly around these parts, I’ve never really discussed my support of reproductive rights. I usually jokingly add “baby killer”on my Lefty McLiberal list after “tree hugger” and “gay lover” so I make it known, but I’ve never really discussed it. I know some will just blatantly disagree and hate me no matter what follows in this entry, but if you’d like to know more about why I hold these stances, please read on. I think 95% of my friends and family disagree with me so I’ve never really wanted to throw this in anyone’s face, but I need to own my stance so I thought I’d share the “Why” in case you were wondering.
Let’s start with the more generally palatable side of my support.
Why I Prefer The Term “Reproductive Rights”
During the years where I was struggling with Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroids, and Ovarian Cysts, I had several miscarriages. Some were very early and were just heavy periods. One, however, was later and was very painful and had me basically delivering a fetus on the floor of my bathroom. This experience still haunts my nightmares so that when they discovered a lack of a heartbeat during after my last miscarriage I could not say: “PLEASE GIVE ME A D&C!” fast enough. I had no desire to take a pill to suffer through that again.
BUT…for their own reasons, some women opt to get what many call the “abortion pill” to have the process occur at home, without surgery. And because of this term “abortion pill” – some Pharmacists refuse to fill the prescription and women dealing with the trauma of having a dead fetus inside of them have to suffer even more by trying to find a Pharmacist who will trust her doctor who gave her the prescription enough to just give her the pills.
During that same time we also found ourselves looking into IVF as a way to have babies. That brought us to information about embryos and how we might end up with some frozen embryos we wouldn’t use. The question always arises, “What do we do with them?” Well…we would have destroyed them and we would have struggled to do that if the Pro Life contingent who thought life begins at fertilization had their way. So, that shed some light on the issue for me. I would want to choose what to do with those few cells in a freezer somewhere, and it would upset me if I would be unable to do with them as I chose.
Finally, I also made many friends online who were also infertile during that time of my life. Some with various other issues to fight against. One who had preeclampsia and one who had fetal distress and both ended up needing abortions after 20 weeks. One was able to have it down by her own doctor in her own city/state, and the other had to travel out of state because it was illegal where she lived. Seeing both of those women come to this tough decision to terminate their pregnancies, that really cemented my stance if I wasn’t there already. It was none of my business, it was between them, their spouses, and their doctors – and if they had not had a choice, I’m not sure what would have happened.
So, these experiences are what shaped my view regarding Reproductive Rights because that’s what it is in those cases, the right to make a decision with a doctor regarding your own reproductive situation and have that decision be legal everywhere in this country.
Why I Support Planned Parenthood
I got pregnant unexpectedly at 18, had the baby at 19, eventually graduated college and became a contributing member of society where my son is now a Junior in college and the single person responsible for me not becoming a drug addict living in poverty god knows where doing god knows what.
My story took several turns before and after that decision and those turns led me need the types of services Planned Parenthood provides. Now, only 3% of their services are related to abortion, the other 97% are things like cancer screenings and birth control. But, here’s the thing, there was no Planned Parenthood near me when I was young, sexually active, and often under the influence of some sort of drugs. I didn’t get to enjoy their free birth control or gynecological exams with the ease that I needed them.
However, I did need their various services at different times in my young life. ALL of their services. And while I won’t go into the details of when or how I needed what services, just know that all of their services allowed me to eventually become a contributing member of society. I was only a single Mom to one kid, and my Dad helped with rent while I was in college, so I didn’t need government assistance for long. But if places like Planned Parenthood didn’t exist? I might not have ever graduated college, or become someone who could pay taxes back to the system that helped her when she was down. I might have stayed a “burden” on society, someone living in government housing and on welfare indefinitely.
I have absolutely no regrets for the decisions I made, my only wish is that Planned Parenthood had been more easily accessible to me when I needed it most. So that I could have maybe taken advantage of the health care and birth control they offered instead of needing any of the more controversial services they provided.
And while I’m fairly certain the only people who read this far don’t need this link, here is a story of why/home a woman decides to donate fetal tissue after an abortion, since that’s the hot topic that prompted this entry from me.
I come from a long line of Catholics. I married into an even longer line of Catholics. I live in conservative Alabama where most of my near and dear friends are Pro Life. Even my friends who are pro Marriage Equality, are Pro Life. And the reason I’ve never completely audibly supported Planned Parenthood is because I’m scared of losing all of those people.
But, my daughter has been asking about sex lately. Questions that come up based on things big kids say at school. Part of the blame of my unprotected sex in my youth falls on my inability to talk to anyone openly about sex or birth control. I was raised Catholic by a single Dad who I loved dearly, but was not good at uncomfortable dialog. I want to openly talk about these things with my daughter, so she can come to me with any and all questions and needs that arise. But I also want to know that someone is there for her if she can’t come to me. If she needs birth control from Planned Parenthood, I want them to be there for her and I don’t want her to be so ashamed of walking through the doors, that she just opts to risk her health and chance of pregnancy instead.
So I’m speaking out. I’m adding my voice to the millions so that you’ll know where I stand.
I stand with Planned Parenthood.