Blog for Choice 2010: Trust Women
Happy anniversary, Roe v. Wade! On this day 37 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that it was about time to let women make their own decisions about their health and what does or does not happen with and within their own bodies. The anniversary of Roe v. Wade is a day to be celebrated. Women having the right to think for themselves and to make their own informed, logical, emotional and difficult decisions is something to be celebrated.
Today is also the fifth annual Blog for Choice Day, a day in which pro-choice bloggers dedicate a post to answering a question presented by NARAL Pro-Choice America about some facet of their activism, of their passion for keeping abortion accessible, safe, legal and rare.
This year, we continue to mourn the tragic, untimely and unnecessary death of Dr. George Tiller who was murdered in the foyer of his church on May 31, 2009 by an anti-choice extremist in an act that can only be described as domestic terrorism. Dr. Tiller often wore a button that simply read, “Trust Women;” two words that have had a tremendous impact on the people he dedicated 33 years of his life to. Dr. Tiller knew very well the dangers of his profession and became one of the most well-known abortion providers and subsequently, a target of anti-choice extremists. Before he was murdered, a bomb had been placed and exploded on the roof of his Women’s Health Care Services clinic. Outside of his clinic during summer-long protests, approximately 2,000 protesters were arrested outside of the same place women were going to for help. He was shot in both arms by an anti-choice activist while driving away from the clinic and after a six year investigation of his practice, he was acquitted of charges that claimed he had performed 19 illegal late-term abortions. After he was acquitted, several members of anti-choice groups across the country declared that they were dedicated to getting him put in prison and that they would drudge up more false claims in order to do so. Dr. Tiller trusted women and ultimately had his life stolen from him and from his family, friends, colleagues, patients, future patients and the entire pro-choice population for being dedicated to trusting women and to providing a safe and legal procedure.
So on this 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, NARAL Pro-Choice America is honoring Dr. George Tiller and his 33 year career and commitment to women and asking, What does “Trust Women” mean to you?
When laws go into effect that require abortion providers to extensively counsel women in person, instead of over the phone (and it is clearly stated that it must take place in person,) force them to see the ultrasounds of their unwanted fetuses or to have these ultrasounds explained to them and then that woman is forced to wait 24 to 48 hours after being counseled to go home and mull it over before she is permitted to actually have the abortion performed, I am offended. I am offended that laws like these exist to treat women like children who can’t make up their minds or who don’t know the severity of their own situation. It is extremely condescending to put in place multiple hurdles in order to obtain a safe and legal abortion due to the fact that the people who authored these laws and the lawmakers who voted for them think women are incapable of making an informed and logical decision for themselves that they believe is right. Laws such as these shame women and bring us right back to childhood when we’ve done something wrong and were sent to our rooms to think about what we’ve done. I probably should not give these lawmakers any more ideas, but I unfortunately would not surprised if in order to obtain an abortion, women would be required to write a 500-word essay on what they learned through making and going through the most difficult decision they will probably ever make in their lives.
It is a cliche feminist slogan of sorts, but there is that saying that is printed on endless t-shirts, buttons, stickers, hoodies, you name it, that says, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people,” and in regard to what it means to truly trust women, it is completely correct. Women are people. Women, like men, are adults and, like men, are capable. We are capable of educating ourselves or seeking the information we wish to know more about and we are capable of making logical decisions that will affect our lives and our bodies. Pregnant women are often viewed as less rational as women who are not pregnant; as hormonal and who don’t really have any idea about what they are doing or the “consequences of their actions,” which brings woman shaming down to a whole new, disgusting level. I trust all women because I know that we are strong, amazing, miraculous, kick ass beings who deserve to be taken seriously and who refuse to be seen as, talked to or treated as less-than.
If you are also participating in Blog for Choice 2010, link your post here.