Today is the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States. It is also Blog for Choice Day, so I’m going to venture a little off my usual topics in this post and talk about reproductive freedom as I see it.
The organizers of Blog for Choice Day have asked participants to tell our readers why we’re pro-choice. For me, it boils down to the feminist fundamental that a woman’s body is her own. Once we as society start to value a fetus over the mother, we risk descending into the reproductive dystopia envisioned by Margaret Atwood in The Handmaid’s Tale, with women valued only for their reproductive capacity.
It also bothers me deeply that President Bush declared yesterday National Sanctity of Human Life Day, a clear attempt to bring a particular religious viewpoint into the political sphere. Bush explained:
America was founded on the principle that we are all endowed by our Creator with the right to life and that every individual has dignity and worth. National Sanctity of Human Life Day helps foster a culture of life and reinforces our commitment to building a compassionate society that respects the value of every human being.
Among the most basic duties of Government is to defend the unalienable right to life, and my Administration is committed to protecting our society’s most vulnerable members. We are vigorously promoting parental notification laws, adoption, abstinence education, crisis pregnancy programs, and the vital work of faith-based groups.
Bush is ignoring the multiplicity of religions and religious interpretations that make up the fabric of our country, not all of which agree with his connection between the Creator’s will and the right to life of a fetus. He’s also in dubious historical waters when he says the founders of our country believed in the “right to life” as interpreted by the anti-abortion movement. He’s blind to the evidence that abstinence education doesn’t work. And despite his commitment to promoting adoption, his brother governs a state in which same-sex parents are banned from adopting or fostering children.
Taking a broader perspective, how can a president who has overseen a fruitless war causing the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, American troops, coalition forces, and Iraqi police (not to mention thousands of deaths from the “worsening health and environmental conditions directly related to the conflict”) really talk about “respecting and protecting the life and dignity of every human being”?
Finally, there’s something wrong with an administration that says I must carry a fetus to term if I conceive, but will not give me permission to raise that child in a legal relationship with the person I want, whom I know will be a responsible, loving parent.
I don’t expect every reader to agree. I will, however, delete any derogatory comments. (Disagree if you must, but please keep it civil.)