Why I’m Pro-Choice – Blogging for Choice Part 2

I am pro-choice because I believe women’s lives matter. I am pro-choice because I think women themselves are the best people to decide when and if they get pregnant, give birth, and raise children. I am pro-choice because I believe that the right to control your own reproduction is a fundamental right, and is protected both under our Constitution and basic human rights ideals — and I believe that fundamental right includes the right to prevent pregnancy, the right to get pregnant, the right to carry a pregnancy to term, and the right to terminate a pregnancy. I am pro-choice because I believe that if we outlaw a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, there is no legal argument against forcing a woman to terminate a pregnancy, or disallowing certain people from reproducing. I am pro-choice because I do not believe that anyone should be subject totalitarian laws which impose unwanted occupations on certain classes of people. I am pro-choice because I don’t believe that women should be legally compelled to maintain another life at the expense of her own wishes, her body, her health, or even her life. I am pro-choice because I don’t believe that women’s bodies should be used against our will. I am pro-choice because I believe that compulsory pregnancy and childbirth is immoral, cruel, and flies in the face of basic notions of freedom, liberty, and human rights. I am pro-choice because I believe that forcing women to carry pregnancies against their will is involuntary servitude. I am pro-choice because I believe that children should be wanted, their entrances into the world joyous occasions — that they should never be considered punishment. I am pro-choice because I want women to be physically and emotionally healthy. I am pro-choice because I don’t believe that pregnancy should be a punishment (or, as anti-choicers say, a “consequence”) of sex. I am pro-choice because I realize that my rights to birth control, to have children, to make my own decisions, to be a fully autonomous human being all hinge on my very basic ability to decide when and if I reproduce.

I am pro-choice because I trust women.

I am pro-choice because reproductive rights are far more than abortion, and because I want to see us live in a true culture of life — one where men, women and children are truly valued, and where pregnancy doesn’t turn a woman into a second-class citizen.

I am pro-choice because those who attack abortion rights don’t plan on stopping there — they’re also going after contraception, science and even sex itself. And they’ve got a whole lot of political capital.

I am pro-choice because I see what places look like when “pro-life” policies are the rule of law. I see it again and again and again.

I am pro-choice because I see what places look like when abortion is safe, legal and available, contraception is accessible, and sex is considered natural, normal, and something we should take responsibility for, not be ashamed of.

I am pro-choice because “pro-life” policies kill and maim women. I am pro-choice because abortion rates are no higher in countries where abortion is legal than in countries where it is outlawed — but countries where abortion is legal see lower maternal mortality rates, lower infant mortality rates, greater economic prosperity, and greater gender equality.

I am pro-choice because women who live in the developing world account for 95 percent of the world’s illegal abortions, and I believe that access to safe health care should not be contingent on where you happened to be born. I am pro-choice because the countries with the lowest abortion rates — Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland — have liberal abortion laws, good health care, comprehensive sex education, and accessible and affordable contraception.

I am pro-choice because many countries where abortion is illegal or highly restricted have significantly higher abortion rates than we have in the United States, and astronomically higher rates than we see in Western Europe. Some of those countries include Brazil, Chile, Bangladesh, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, and the Philippines.

I am pro-choice because of the number of women hospitalized after unsafe illegal abortions in these countries:
Bangladesh: 71,800
Brazil: 288,700
Chile: 31,900
Colombia: 57,700
Dominican Republic: 16,500
Egypt: 216,000
Mexico: 106,500
Nigeria: 142,200
Peru: 54,200
The Philippines: 80,100

I am pro-choice because 80,000 women die every year from complications from illegal abortion, and hundreds of thousands more are injured.

I am pro-choice because the risk of dying from abortion is far higher in countries where abortion is illegal than where it’s legal.

I am pro-choice because illegal abortion is the cause of 25% of all maternal deaths in Latin America, 12% in Asia, and 13% in sub-Saharan Africa.

I am pro-choice because I will not go back.

I am pro-choice because if Roe is overturned, abortion will be illegal in many states. Even with Roe in place, states like Georgia are considering legislation which would impose life in prison or the death penalty as punishment for women who have abortions and doctors who perform the procedures.

I am pro-choice because I don’t believe we should criminalize women and doctors for exercising reproductive freedom.

I am pro-choice because seeing the impact of abortion rights on a country’s prosperity, gender equality and overall well-being is apparent simply by looking at a map.

I am pro-choice because it’s the pro-choice movement that has advocated for policies which actually decrease the need for abortion, and which make it easier for women to have children: comprehensive sexual health education, affordable and accessible contraception (including emergency contraception), pre-natal and well-baby care, social support for pregnant women and women with children, affordable child care, fair pay for working women, supporting pregnant girls, and gender equality. Comparatively, the “pro-life” movement* has no interest in actually lowering the abortion rate; their ultimate goal is sexual control of women, evidenced by their opposition to contraception and their belief that there is only one singular way to live: abstain from sex until heterosexual marriage, and then have as many children as God gives you.

I am pro-choice because I see the positive impact that the pro-choice movement has had in the United States. Women go to college at the same rates as men. We can define ourselves as something other than mothers, or as mothers and something else. Poverty has been cut in half since Roe gave women the right to control their own reproduction. Men can be nurturing too, and are expected to take part in raising their children. Families can be planned. Men have greater choices in their occupations since they aren’t required to be the sole bread-winner. More people have access to education. Women have more power to escape abusive relationships or bad jobs. Parents of both sexes spend more time with their kids than ever before.

I am pro-choice because I care about children — and according to the Children’s Defense Fund, 100% of the worst legislators for children in this country are pro-life.

I am pro-choice because I believe that my body is mine. I want women, girls, men, and children to be healthy, valued, and cared for. I want families to be healthy.
I want to live in a country that values the lives and well-being of all of its citizens.

I am pro-choice because it is life-affirming. I am pro-choice because it is fundamentally just. I am pro-choice because to be anything else is to devalue and harm women, children, families, and my country.

I am pro-choice because my life is worth something.

Happy Roe day.

*By which I mean the fanatical leaders of anti-choice organizations, not the individual people who identify as “pro-life” to mean that they dislike abortion and want to see the abortion rate decreased, but also support common-sense policies like sex education and contraception.


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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
This entry was posted in Reproductive Rights and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Why I’m Pro-Choice – Blogging for Choice Part 2

  1. Jennifer says:

    Fantastic and emotional post, Jill. And what a good collection of resources. Thank you!

  2. Laurie says:

    Well put. Brava! And may I say, I am planning on printing this baby out to have on hand. I don’t lock horns with too many people on this issue right now (I don’t get out much), but it is truly helpful to have such a coherent set of arguments to reference when necessary.

  3. Karina says:

    Thirded. :) Excellent post, and tons of extra information.

  4. johanna says:

    I am pro-choice because my life is worth something.

    Word. Well said all around, Jill.

  5. Erin says:

    I am pro-choice because to be anything else is to devalue and harm women, children, families, and my country.

    Fuck yes.

  6. Jasmine says:

    I am pro-choice because it’s the pro-choice movement that has advocated for policies which actually decrease the need for abortion, and which make it easier for women to have children: comprehensive sexual health education, affordable and accessible contraception (including emergency contraception), pre-natal and well-baby care, social support for pregnant women and women with children, affordable child care, fair pay for working women, supporting pregnant girls, and gender equality.

    This paragraph in particular says so much about why I vote pro-choice in election after election after election.

  7. Helen says:

    I think “I will not to back” should be “will not go back”… Great post – linking now.

  8. Rhiannon says:

    You rock Jill!

  9. Denise says:

    Awesome post. Thank you.

  10. Medbh says:

    Excellent composition! Great resources here for everyone to share to smack down the ignorant woman haters and brain washed religious whackos.

  11. W. Kiernan says:

    I’m pro-choice because I’ve watched a woman giving birth twice, and who the fuck am I, as a guy, to tell any woman she has to go through that when she doesn’t want to?

  12. ako says:

    I am pro-choice because I see what places look like when “pro-life” policies are the rule of law.

    YES, YES, YES!!!!

    I spent a few years in the Philippines, which isn’t a fraction as draconian as El Salvador. But little girls who get raped are forced to have babies because you can’t terminate a pregnancy on a nine-year-old girl unless you can prove it will kill her. Women and girls go to some stranger’s house, take medicines they know nothing about, let people with unknown credentials stick medical instruments of uncertain cleanliness in their genitals, take diuretic overdoses, and count themselves lucky if they find themselved dripping blood and bits of fetus in a bathroom somewhere, and even luckier if they only have a treatable infection. Women get pregnant and lose their chance at an education, lose their job, ruin their health, and sometimes die because the permissible calculation of how much risk of death a woman can be forced to bear is imperfect, at best. Forcing a perfectly healthy adult woman to give birth against her will is bad enough, but it’s far from the worst that happens under “pro-life” laws.

  13. Johann says:

    I look at this issue in a way that everyone is pro-choice.

    Some people feel obligated to make that choice for everyone else and disguise that fact by saying they are pro-life instead of admitting that they want to make that choice for everyone else.

    Others feel obligated to allow those people most affected by the decision to have an abortion make the decision of whether or not to have an abortion for themselves. They are usually mistakenly called pro-abortion instead of pro-Choice.

    There are few people who consider themselves to be both anti-abortion and pro choice. Being anti-abortion for themselves while allowing others to make that decision for themselves.

  14. Kyra says:

    *applause*

    No, fuck that. *standing ovation*

  15. Laura says:

    This is by far, the most eloquently and well researched piece of writing I have seen today. Thank you.

  16. piny says:

    Amazing post.

  17. Julie says:

    Thank you Jill… what a fantastic post. It really brings home so many fantastic points.

  18. Heidi says:

    De-lurking to join in the chorus of praise here. What a fantastic post — I agree with every word.

  19. Jane says:

    There wouldn’t be any discussion over whether abortion is right or wrong if people learned when to keep their pants on and when to take them off.

  20. Great post, Jill. What I wanted to say, but much more eloquently put.

  21. Rosie says:

    Excellent post! You did indeed hit everything. Bravo!

  22. Lindsay says:

    Best read of the month!!! Maybe the year!!!! Fantastic! Couldn’t have said it better!

  23. Tits McGee says:

    Amen, and thank you.

  24. Laurie says:

    While these reasons are powerful ones, please keep in mind that they do come at a significant price. I am missing a niece that I will never know, and I am sad about that. When the pricetag to a better life is the life of another, it is heavy indeed.

    Peace.

  25. George Arndt says:

    Women have abortions because of unplanned pregnancy and/or they can’t afford them. What have the pro-lifers done (other than promoting abstinence) done to lesson the need for abortion? Many pro-lifers are against real sex education, against birth control and belittle the effectiveness of condoms. And many of these pro-lifers don’t seem too worked up over cuts in government programs for needy children.
    Their “anti-abortion” crusade is surprisingly oxymoronic. Instead of focusing on outlawing abortion, they should do more to take care of babies AFTER they are born.

    And take a look at Europe, which has lower infant mortality and lower teen pregnancy. This makes the far right preaching quite empty.

  26. Jasmine says:

    Kudos, you covered it so thoroughly. Those are many of the same reasons I am pro choice too. Bravo!

  27. True says:

    Magnificent. Thank you.

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  29. S. Jenny says:

    Fantastic. You put my own feelings into words and so much more. That was a terrific essay supported by some great resources. Thank you.

  30. Laurie says:

    Just to note, as I’m a trifle sensitive about this kind of thing….

    Laurie in #27 is not me — I posted in #2, and haven’t come back to this thread since. I am not, to my knowledge, missing any relatives due to abortion. If I am, it’s obviously none of my business, as I haven’t been told.

    I’ll differentiate myself in the future if I need to, but I’d rather not. I’m really *lousy* at coming up with clever nicknames.

  31. Jill says:

    No worries, Laurie! I can’t speak for other commenters, but I figured that the other Laurie was someone different — that comment just didn’t sound like you, based on all the other things you’ve had to say here. But thank you for the clarification.

  32. ako says:

    Laurie #27 (that work to differentiate?),

    I get that you feel a loss. I actually think it’s fine that you feel a loss, here. The big distinction between pro-choice and pro-life isn’t that one side likes abortion and the other doesn’t; there’s a lot of different ways to feel about the loss of a fetus. You don’t have to be happy about it, and you’re free to miss what might have been.

    The real essence of being pro-choice is not wanting to force pregnancy on people. And it does come down to forcing pregnancy on people. If you want examples, look at any of the entries in this sentence of the original post;

    I am pro-choice because I see what places look like when “pro-life” policies are the rule of law. I see it again and again and again.

    So if you don’t like the choices of someone else in your family, and you feel you’ve lost something, that’s okay. Not everyone’s going to agree with you, but you’re free to think that. I hope you understand though, that there’s human pain and suffering, and human lives that will be lost through denying abortions. So there’s a great deal of concern that women don’t have to answer to the police for doing what your sister or sister-in-law did. And even if you don’t agree with her, I doubt you want her imprisoned.

  33. Robinitaface says:

    Fabulous. Well said.

  34. River says:

    Mine’s here. I’ve linked to yours without asking; hope that’s OK.

    Thank you for this truly excellent post. I’ll be referring back to the source links repeatedly, I’m sure.

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  36. bluefish A says:

    amazing post. just brillant.
    i think a new pro-choice slogan should be centered around the “trusting women” meme. b/c that’s really what this issue is about.

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  38. fiercelyfab says:

    I am pro-choice because I believe that children should be wanted, their entrances into the world joyous occasions — that they should never be considered punishment

    Yes, yes, and yes to everything said, but especially this here.

  39. Pingback: Official Shrub.com Blog » Blog Archive » Blog For Choice Day - Links, and a story of my own.

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