This is a guest post by Rebecca Nathanson. Rebecca Nathanson is student at NYU majoring in Journalism. She writes for NYU Local and rambles about life, feminism, and idealism on her blog. She enjoys dancing, running, drumming, traveling, leather jackets, and Cheerios. She also wants to be Jack White. Or Patti Smith.
We’re all really busy. In the rush of the days that constitute our hectic lives, it’s easy to gloss over the headlines, to dismiss an issue as irrelevant to whether or not you’ll finish your paper on time, to miss something that actually matters in a very real way. There’s a lot of news being thrown at us from every direction and sometimes it’s just simpler to block it out. Sometimes it all feels distant and entirely disconnected from the reality of our days; other times it’s as connected as anything can ever be.
There are certain rights that I take for granted and I’m only just beginning to realize how wrong that is. In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be anything wrong with taking basic rights for granted because they would be unquestionably guaranteed, but this is nothing close to an ideal world and I’m starting to learn exactly how far from secure many of my rights are. Of course, reading the front page of almost any newspaper will tell you this exact information, but oftentimes that information is presented in such a voiceless, impersonal way that we fail to connect it to ourselves. Perhaps it’s just my twenty-year-old naïvety and innocence, but I’m incapable of not feeling when I read about the problems and injustices of our world.
Somehow, despite the onslaught of depressing news that I am faced with, that naïvety and innocence has survived and left me with the silly notion that I have to try to fix the world. Recently, there’s been a surge of pro-life, anti-common decency legislation, a “War on Women,” and I find those two particular traits of mine beginning to wane as I am faced with the reality of the situation. I know that people have different beliefs and points of view, but I honestly never completely registered how seriously those differences could manifest themselves until I started reading about the ridiculous abortion laws that some states are trying to implement and the proposed bill to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.
This isn’t abstract or distant or irrelevant to my life; it’s real and it’s scary and it’s fucking disgusting. The fact that the people running this country think that Planned Parenthood isn’t worthy of their valuable money is horrible and the fact that those people were elected, that the majority of people actually chose to give them power, is absurd. My general rule is that my opinions and politics should always be on the side of choice (unless you’re trying to bring a gun to class), but apparently most people do not abide by that, which would be fine if those same people weren’t trying to take away rights that I believe are necessary and fair and essential to my freedom. My beliefs aren’t effecting anyone else’s life, won’t restrict anyone from doing anything, and won’t force anyone into doing something that they don’t want to do. It would be nice if other people had enough respect for their fellow humans to adhere to the same principle.
The fact that you have access to abortion services does not mean that you have to use them. The fact that there’s a place where you can go to get birth control does not mean that you have to go there. All that it means is that you have the option and, while some people may not want the option, it’s completely unfair and unwarranted to try to take that option away from people who want to make use of it. I don’t particularly care if people feel that there is something inherently wrong with the fact that I want to have sex but have no intention of having a baby, but I care if they get in the way of allowing me that small liberty and I care that they think that their opinions are worth more than mine or that they have the right to tell me what I am and am not allowed to do with my body when apparently even I don’t have that right.
As I said, I took those rights for granted. Silly me for ever believing that I deserve the right to choose whether or not I have a child or have access to birth control. My bad. I guess I’ll just go have sex without any and see what happens. I’ll be sure to keep you posted, seeing as how the GOP seems to care so deeply about the details of my sex life.