Friday, January 21, 2011

What Choice Means To Me

(potential trigger warning)

Today is Blog For Choice Day. Anti-choicers have decided to get creative this year and have declared it "Ask Them What They Mean By Choice Day" (such a beautiful, eloquent title, is it not?) I know that they're not actually interested in an answer; if they were, they'd already have it. However, I am going to humor them. This is what I mean by choice:

To me, choice means having the freedom to enjoy your sexuality without ridicule and judgment. It means receiving quality sex education and not being left in the dark about something you live with every day: your own body. It means having access to birth control and having the knowledge to use it correctly. It means being trusted with knowing whether or not you want children. It means that, as long as everything is consensual, you are able to have no partners, one partner, two partners, or 6 partners without having your character judged solely on how you choose to lead your sex life. It means being able to embrace your sexuality, or lack thereof, without being told that you are wrong or sinful just for being human.

Choice means having your "no" taken seriously. It means aboloshing the "no means yes" culture, being able to live a day without being in fear of being assaulted, being able to go on a date without wondering if your date will rape you later. It means that, if you are raped, a person's first reaction will not be "what were you wearing?" but "how can I help?" It means being able to live your life without people trying to take ownership of your life and your body. In a world where our choices are respected, bodily autonomy will be sacred. We will rule our own bodies; they will no longer be ruled by those who are considered more valuable than us.

To me, choice means not having to worry about being devalued as soon as you get pregnant. It means having people treating you like a person instead of a pregnancy. It means not being bullied because you are not the perfect pregnant woman, the perfect mother, or the perfect spouse. It means having a full range of birthing options and being able to choose these without pressure. It means not being pressured or forced into having an unwanted c-section, and not being chastised for feeding your baby in public.

Choice means not ending up in a CPC and being pressured to not only go through the pregnancy, but to surrender your child for adoption. It means to not being treated like a breeding machine by the adoption industry. It means being given all of the facts about adoption so that your decision will be an informed one. It means reforming the adoption industry so that mothers have rights over their children. It means, simply: NO MORE COERCION.

Not surprisingly (and this is probably what you'd been waiting for), choice includes abortion rights. This means more than keeping abortion legal; it means making it accessible. It means destroying stigma so that women are free to speak out about their experiences. It means funding abortion, because poor women deserve liberty, too. It means recognizing that women are not selfish for wanting to follow their dreams (have you ever heard a man being called selfish for wanting this?) It means recognizing the fact that, no, women are not monsters if they get pregnant and choose abortion, even if the woman was not using contraception, and women still are not monsters if they have more than one abortion. It means accepting the fact that women are people, and that we are entitled to rule our own bodies.

And this is just a part of what choice means to me. This post is unfinished; it would be impossible for me to finish it. Choice is liberty, and anything less than this is, well, anti-choice.