Choice Is Everyone’s Right
By Nancy Osborne and Cindy Ashton
The decision to have an abortion or not to have an abortion is something that will stay with a woman for the rest of her life. Having an abortion is a horrific and difficult choice for women. This is not a choice taken lightly or without due consideration of the complex impact of that choice.
There are many, many reasons behind the decision to have an abortion; these are but a few:
• Financial, physical, emotional and/or mental inability to support a child
• The pregnancy is the result of a Rape. An heinous act committed without the woman’s positive consent.
• The woman suffers from health challenges that would make pregnancy dangerous or raising a child untenable.
• The father is an abuser and a child would link that woman to her abuser indefinitely.
• Birth control failed, was tampered with, or was denied by the woman’s partner.
• The impact of having a child at that time would irrevocably change the woman’s life, denying her the future she has worked for and deserves.
• Bearing a child at that point in life would mean raising a child in highly undesirable circumstances while postponing the choice to have a child would result in the ability to provide a stable and loving home for a child.
The solution to the controversy over choice is NOT to further punish women who are already tormented by having to make that decision. No woman sets out to or wants to have an abortion.
So how CAN our society reduce the need for abortions?
• Education – Educate our children early about consent and about their bodies. Stop removing or banning so called “Sex” Education from schools.
• Stop Sex Shaming – Too many groups, whether based on religious beliefs or a desire to maintain a conservative culture, shame people for wanting to tap into an essential part of who they are. This can cause people to be rebellious and lead to unhealthy habits around sex; result in the person completely shutting down; or result in exploring their natural sexuality in secrecy without the education, guidance or love required for healthy development. All of these contribute to a person not being able to engage in healthy conversations and thus being unable to recognize appropriate boundaries with their partners.
• Let’s Have Healthy Conversations about Sex – Our society and the media portray almost everything to do with sexuality in a way that is unrealistic and can be damaging. And so many parents are carrying so much of their own trauma or issues around sex that they are unable to teach their children what constitutes healthy sexuality. We haven’t been taught nor do we have great examples of HOW to have healthy conversations around sexual relationships. It is so important that everyone learn how to have open and honest conversations around our needs, wants, boundaries and expectations.
• Change How Men Are Socialized– It takes two! Enough with the patriarchal system that teaches men that the number of women they sexually possess somehow directly correlates to their level of masculinity. It is time to teach boys, young men, men and old men to communicate with women and to respect the responses they receive when they do. We will not change the culture of male privilege in this regard until men are held fully accountable for their actions; before, during and after sex. With accountability comes responsibility. Then and only then can we stop seeing the result of a sexual relationship as something that requires punishment. It is not that men should be punished as women are being punished; NO; it is that no one deserves to be punished when there is respect and real consent. This will not only reduce the need for abortions but will increase health and collaborative decision making.
• Hold Men Accountable – We see in the media time and time again cases where men are not held accountable for their actions and women are punished for theirs and often those of the men. Men acquitted of rape or sexual assault charges, men being given minimal sentences for rape or sexual assault, men being awarded a level of custody of a child born from a rape, and the list goes on. We hear “Boys will be boys” and “It was just a joke”. All of this contributes to a culture that does not hold men accountable for their actions. Why doesn’t “Man Up” mean; treat others including women with love, respect and dignity.
Things to think about …
• Women who choose to have an abortion know what they are choosing and know that they will live with the weight of that decision for the rest of their lives. These decisions are not taken lightly simply because the decisions are not being made by men.
• Why is it okay for men to fuck, rape, or have any kind of sex with a woman and then share no responsibility or even accountability for the consequences?
• Why would anyone, woman or man deserve the death penalty for having had sex that resulted in an unexpected pregnancy?
• Why would a doctor who performs an abortion deserve to get life in prison and the woman who has the abortion deserve the death penalty while her convicted rapist, the man who stole her dignity, left her traumatized for life, is responsible for the pregnancy and has caused the doctor the moral and legal dilemma of providing the abortion, deserve only a few years in prison, IF that?
• Why is it okay for men or anyone to dictate what happens in our bodies and deny us the basic freedom of choice?
Bottom Line – It is my body. It is my choice. It’s my right to choose.
This is about a woman’s right to choose but it also represents a threat to all our rights and freedoms. This is not just a “woman’s issue”, we all need to stand up when any of our rights are being challenged. Use and share these hashtags #ChoiceIsMyRight #ChoiceIsHerRight and show your support for our Rights and Freedoms!