so, when i was in the west bank back in the summer of 2006, israel was bombing lebanon, and i realized i might be pregnant. my partner was in the states at the time, so i had to rely on a couple of friends to help me procure a home pregnancy test in israel since we couldnt find one in the west bank. as we were sitting in the park in jerusalem at night, eating cake, and hiding from the guards, one of my friends explained that she would most likely not be able to have kids. i nodded my head. and then she went on a small rant about how immoral it was to have kids, and be a breeder.
whoa. that word, breeder, was like a smack in the face. i wont go deep into the racial implications of that word, but as bfp pointed out earlier this week, black women in the states have historically been forced to be pregnant and to produce offspring, but not to be a mother. being able to not choose to bear a child can be a privilege. and so can being allowed to be a mother.
later that night when i was finally home, i saw the two pink lines appear on the plastic wand. and my suspicions were confirmed, i was ‘with child’.
i was pro choice before i became pregnant, but it was being pregnant for ten months that made me proclaim, loudly, to anyone who would listen: i am so pro-abortion because no one, and i mean no one, should have to be pregnant if they dont want to! anyone who thinks that adoption is an alternative to an abortion is nuts, it totally ignores that you have to be fucking pregnant for a fucking year first.
i know that giving birth, and/or being a mother is not always a choice. in a lot of the world a safe abortion is not necessarily available. here in egypt, is in a lot of the world, abortion is outlawed. and even in countries where abortion is legal, it can be out of the price range for the majority of women. in a lot of countries, an abortion is not feasible for a woman because of the red tape that she needs to go through. or the distance that the nearest clinic is. or if her family or partner discover that she has had an abortion she will be turned out of her house with no resources, no money, no job, no safety net, nothing. or she will be beaten. or the only type of abortion available are so dangerous to the woman’s health that she risks her very life in having one.
in the eastern congo, rape is used as a primary weapon of war. and women are kidnapped and raped for months until they become pregnant, then they are set free in the mountainous jungle. abortion is illegal in this country. and i talked with methodist christian ladies who were working day and night to be able to provide the morning after pill for every woman they can in their region. the work they do is but a drop in the bucket. they never have enough supplies.
maybe its because i grew up around girls in the states who didnt have a choice to become a mother. they had sex. they got pregnant by accident. and then they were stuck, threatened, beatened with no resources to be able to get to a clinic, that i dont assume that a woman chose to give birth; simply because she cares for her child. nor do i know what kind of internal choices she has made to be able to love a child.
i do know that it took everything inside of me to not start crying and never stop when i sat in rooms full of congolese rape survivors nursing their children. i know that they told me that their children were a gift, and i believed them.
this is why i work hard to do what i do. why i created the lilith plan. provide alternatives to clinical abortions that are not always available and can be traumatizing even if available. i research plants, herbs, flowers for their abortifacient qualities. i study acupressure texts. i build del-ems. i make the information available through any means i can find. cause a lot of women, women that we see everyday with their children never had the choice whether or not to become pregnant or be a mother. they walk by us, not screaming their life stories at us. and we judge them, not even with the little facts about them that we have, but with the stories and narratives that we make up about them in our heads.
i saw the lilith plan in a vision one night as i was meditating. and am slowly working to make it a reality.
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