Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Question of Choice

A Question of Choice is the title of the book written by Sarah Weddington, chronicling her experiences as a reproductive and gender rights crusader. Sarah is a lawyer, former House of Representatives member in Texas, former counsel to President Jimmy Carter in the White House, professor at The University of Texas at Austin, and in 1973, at the age of 26, argued Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court, and WON. In college, I worked for Sarah in her office, helping her with office stuff, editing a book on leadership she was writing, and helping her with her university duties. Working with Sarah, I learned and experienced so much that I still value today - the value of networking, being organized, that the early bird always gets the worm, and that if one works hard and smart, goals can be attained. I also had the opportunity to meet some amazing individuals through Sarah, as well, such as Ann Richards, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Jordan, and Lady Bird Johnson. It was a great experience and it shaped many of my ethical, moral, and political beliefs as an adult. I'm very appreciative of that experience and am lucky to consider Sarah a mentor and friend.

The recent Supreme Court decision upholding the ban on partial birth abortions this week has certainly made me think a lot about my beliefs regarding a woman's right to make reproductive decisions for herself. I have always supported wholeheartedly a woman's right to choose and always will. Honestly, knowing the particulars about the partial birth procedure itself makes me uncomfortable. And at this point, as a woman with means and interest in having a child, should I become pregnant, the prospect of terminating a pregnancy is actually no longer interesting to me.

HOWEVER, the preservation of all womens' right to privacy and make medical decisions for our own bodies, to me, is paramount. For teens, rape victims, those without means to support a child (mentally, emotionally, or fiscally), those with medical or physical limitations that can't be effective parents, abortion must be kept legal (at any stage), regulated, and safe. Adoption is always cited as a viable alternative, but will there really be a demand for that many unwanted babies? Will their mothers take care of themselves, while breeding an unwanted child? Defects, diseases, and addictions upon birth are a serious problem; will those babies get adopted? I just don't think that adoption is the right decision in every case!

We may be too young to remember the dangerous back alley and self-induced abortions that women used to undergo, pre-Roe, in order to exert control over their own reproduction. Abortion is a similar issue to gun control - people will figure out a way to materialize the choices they've made. If one really wants guns, he'll make, smuggle, or produce them; if women feel trapped with their reproductive choices, they will resort to drastic measures, and the results could be deadly! We MUST keep abortion safe and legally regulated (at all stages) to protect women, girls, and our families.

I'd also like to add that Planned Parenthood and like-mind organizations have come under attack for making $X of profits through the "business" of providing abortions and I want to publicly condemn this criticism. These groups are non-profit organizations - in addition to providing abortion services, for example, PP subsidizes birth control for those that can't afford it, provides sex education to teens, emergency contraception for those who were raped, had a broken condom, or want to avoid abortion, screening and care for STDs, and more. The profits those clinics obtain are used for promoting sexual health for both women AND men, as well as preventing abortion, unwanted babies, and disease.

There have been times that I've been between jobs, without insurance (the health care crisis in our country is a whole 'nother topic!), and Planned Parenthood helped me with my annual exam, birth control, and more. For others, clinics like PP help others diagnose HPV early and prevent cervical cancer, etc. These organizations are not designed for profit; they're designed to help and from my experience, I truly believe their interests are genuine. Additionally, on a personal level, these organizations have saved me when I needed help the most and I am grateful.

To find out more about Planned Parenthood or to sign the petition against the Supreme Court's decision this week, please take a look at the PP website:

Yikes!! Gun control and abortion this week on The Mer Show. Next week - recipes and stupid stories, I promise!!! :)

Love, Mer


Anonymous said...

My brother wanted to abort his baby girl because at the time he and the girl he knocked up did not have the wherewithall to support a child let alone themselves. Thankfully his (future wife) resisted his instruction to abort. The result, the girl was born and is a precious 14 year old who is one of the most talented people that I know. She is a star in many ways and especially in sport. Her potential is incredible and she is going to the top.

Abortion is wrong in 99.9% of circumstances unless the life of the mother is threatened. And let's face it, women use abortion as a birth control method. Ask anyone of them who has had an abortion when they were younger and most of them will tell you that they bitterly regret making that "Choice". Freedom to choose is wonderful, but choose wisely otherwise it will come back to haunt you.

Just my opinion.

Meredith said...

Thanks for your input! I obviously disagree but respect your brother's decision; it sounds like it was the right one and I applaud that.