Jun 13, 2009

Another POV on Anti-Choice

Artist: Barbara Kruger

So I got this response to my post "Use Your Words Wisely." I asked the author if I can share it on my blog, and I got the go ahead. So here it is:

Upon reading your article “Use Your Words Wisely,” I wanted to bring a particular point to your attention.

Your use of the term “anti-choice” is very misleading, and shows a significant misunderstanding of the term.

The term anti-choice by definition means “one who opposes ALL choices”, no matter what the topic of choice be. The opposition to abortion does not stem from the opposition of choices in general (as the term anti-choice would lead one to believe). Those who oppose abortion are against feticide and embryocide, thus making them anti-feticide, anti-embryocide, or anti-abortion. Just as someone who opposes the choice of a man to hit his wife is not anti-choice, but anti-domestic-violence, the correct label for a person who opposes abortion would be anti-abortion (or anti-feticide, anti-embryocide, etc.)

I would invite you to visit the website www.notantichoice.com to review and read more information on this subject and on the use of the term anti-choice.

Thank you,
Liz Wheeler

Here's my response:

At the end of the day if you want to make abortion illegal, restrict access to birth control methods, censor sexual education materials by creating abstinence-only programs, then you are trampling over the right for women and their partners to have "choice." These ideas that are at the core of many anti-choice movements ultimately eliminate significant options, thereby, providing a false form of "choice."

Furthermore, by keeping the discussion on women's reproductive rights centered solely on the option of abortion, you are ignoring complex public health and social issues and constructions that create dire situations for women and children. If one is truly pro-life they would look into issues of poverty, HIV/AIDS transmissions, and violence and oppression against women. Keep reading for some disturbing facts regarding these issues.

Moreover, I have a strong aversion to any laws that tell anyone what they can or cannot do with their own bodies. Keep your laws off my body and out of my bedroom. I am also aware that many people out there are fighting for the rights they feel are due to the embryos and fetuses within the womb. When life is conceived is a whole other discussion. Stay tuned for a post on that one.

Ultimately, where one stands on this issue is usually tethered to very personal feelings and experiences. I heard a good joke the other day from Joy Behar (don't ask people LOL). Joy said "A conservative is a former liberal that was mugged, and a liberal is a former conservative that has a lesbian daughter." Our views are often initially shaped by what we encounter on our life's journey. However, these views evolve by what we read, contemplation and practicing empathy.

I offer the following to assist all with thinking more about the issues affecting the lives of women, children, and how significant freedom of reproductive rights is for all of us, regardless of gender. I kept the facts focused on the U.S. If I gave you world-wide statistics, it would truly be depressing. So I am offering a book selection at the end of the post that gives voice to women around the world.

Source: Children's Defense Fund (This information is comprised from data collected as of November 2008.)

In the United States:
A child is born into poverty every 33 seconds.
A child is abused or neglected every 35 seconds.
A child is born uninsured every 39 seconds.
A child dies before his or her first birthday every 18 minutes.
A child or teen is killed by gunfire every 3 hours.

Child Poverty in The United States
Number of poor children (and percent poor) 13,324,000 (18.0%)
Number of children living in extreme poverty (and percent in extreme poverty) 5,768,000 (7.8%)
Number of adults and children receiving cash assistance from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) 3,741,535

Child Health in The United States
Number of children without health insurance (and percent uninsured) 8.9 million (11.3%)

Early Childhood Development in The United States
Percent of children under age 6 with all parents in the labor force 61.7%

Education in The United States
Amount spent per pupil in the public schools $8,044
Percent of public school fourth graders reading below grade level 68%
Percent of public school fourth graders below grade level in math 61%

Child Welfare in The United States
Number of children who are victims of abuse and neglect 905,000
Number of children in foster care 508,446
Number of children adopted from foster care 50,941
Number of grandparents raising grandchildren 2,514,256

Youth at Risk in The United States
Number of juvenile arrests 1,268,950
Number of children and teens in juvenile residential facilities 92,854
Ratio of cost per prisoner to cost per public school pupil 2.8:1

For more than 15 years, the Center for Reproductive Rights has used the law to advance reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right. Click here for more information.

Here is a book recommendation for those interested:

Patriarchy and Accumulation On A World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour by Maria Mies

I offer it with a heads-up that it is very academic and packed with ideas. But, be patient with it, and take it in small doses. This book uncovers the systematic oppression of women from soup to nuts. Amazon.com offers this description of the book:

"This now classic book traces the social origins of the sexual division of labor. It gives a history of the related processes of colonization and "housewifization" and extends this analysis to the contemporary new international division of labor and the role that women have to play as the cheapest producers and consumers. First published in 1986, it was hailed as a major paradigm shift for feminist theory. Eleven years on, Maria Mies' theory of capitalist patriarchy has become even more relevant; this new edition includes a substantial new introduction in which she both applies her theory to the new globalized world and answers her critics."

Let's look at the world around us and work together to address these problems, so that the babies that are born into this world have a fair chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.