Times When, Yes, It Is Still Her Body Her Choice In Reproductive Rights
Considering recent legislation, it feels like an important time to talk about the circumstances surrounding accidental pregnancy, and why—no matter the situation—it is ultimately always the woman’s choice whether or not she keeps the baby. At least, it should be—clearly certain politicians in this country don’t agree. I can’t imagine how the women in Alabama must be feeling right now. Imagine sitting there, wherever you are, in your body. You’re the only one in that body, right? You’re the one who must live in it. You’re the one who must experience every sensation of it. Imagine someone outside of it telling you what you’re allowed to do with it. The violation is almost too severe to comprehend. If there’s any place that should be sacred and fully within your command it should be your body. There truly is a Handmaids Tale feeling over the country since this legislation passed. I would love to see how men responded if we began telling them what they could and couldn’t do with their bodies. Somehow, I can’t help but feel that would be curtailed immediately by the, you know, tremendous amount of men who rule the country. With regards to female reproductive rights, no matter the circumstances, here are times it is still her body, her choice.
When she’s in a committed relationship
Just because someone is in a committed relationship does not mean she is ready to have a child. A man and woman who are committed to each other is, sorry to say, not all that is required to raise a human from age zero to 18. Many other factors could be at play. “But he’ll stay with you” is not any reason a woman who doesn’t want or cannot have a child should have one. And, still, this excuse doesn’t take into account that the man will not be the one handling a pregnancy.
When they wanted kids eventually
This is certainly a complicated and tumultuous experience. Some couples know they want children some day, but that day was in seven to 10 years. There were plans. There were things they were going to do to make their lives and home stable enough for a child. Just because a woman wanted a child some day, in the far future, doesn’t mean she is obligated to keep an accidental pregnancy.
When she forgot to take the pill
When men say that it’s a woman’s “fault” because she forgot to take her pill, I can feel fumes coming out of my ears. There are so many things men do not understand about the birth control pill. And, truly, if men were the ones responsible for taking the pill, I believe half this country would face accidental pregnancies within two months.
When she could afford a kid
Money is not all it takes to raise a child—far from it. It’s helpful, but it doesn’t make someone suited to have a child. Just because a woman has the financial resources to keep a child alive for 18 years does not mean she should literally turn her life upside down and put her body through potential hell.
When her antibiotics interfered
Unfortunately, antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of the birth control pill. I have a few friends who accidentally became pregnant because they were unaware of or forgot about this fact. Even then—it is their body, their choice. Again, I would be very interested to see how perfectly men managed the pill if it was their responsibility to take it.
When her partner is against it
I understand that this is a very sensitive situation and it should be a conversation—in fact, a series of conversations—between the man and woman. But, at the end of the day, it is still the woman who would carry a baby to term. While the feelings of the partner should be heard and considered, that man, no matter what, is still not the pregnant party and it is not his final choice.
When her family is against it
Though it may cause a rift between the family for years or a lifetime, if a woman’s family is against abortion, it is still her decision. An adult woman cannot and should not change her life forever—perhaps very much for the worse—to satisfy the judgment of others who are not in her body.
When her partner is pushing for it
Sometimes it’s the man who is pushing for the abortion, when the woman does not want one. Naturally, learning you’re having a child when you did not want one is terrifying. But…it’s still her body, her choice. How involved the man will or won’t be in the child’s life is something the couple can discuss. Abortion, like pregnancy, changes a woman forever, and it’s not something for any outside party to dictate.
When she doesn’t have the funds
To say it is financially irresponsible for a poor woman to get an abortion, because that money could be spent elsewhere, is extremely near-sighted. You know what’s more expensive than an abortion? Raising a child from infanthood to adulthood.
When she’s perfectly healthy
It seems that even some conservatives can understand when a woman aborts because the pregnancy would cause her health issues. But there doesn’t seem to be the same understanding when a perfectly healthy woman chooses to abort. To that I will say, the sole purpose of a healthy female body is not to just procreate. This is not The Handmaids Tale. She may want to travel, go to school, have a career, and do many other things besides make a baby. And it is her choice.
When adoption is an option
People will say this as if having a baby grow inside of one’s body for nine months, and then not only giving her away but also finding someone you believe will be a good parent forever to your offspring is the easiest, most casual thing in the world. This series of events can be far more traumatic than an abortion.
When she already has kids
Sometimes, if a woman already has children, outsiders really cannot understand her choice to abort. She clearly enjoys having children and knows how to raise them. Well, adding another child to the family is not like adding a new succulent to the garden. It isn’t like taking in an additional rescue pet. This is a human being and nothing is more involved than the rearing of a human being. The, “You have a few—what difference does another make?” argument is irresponsible.
When family says they’ll pitch in
That is kind and it is loving, but it is close to a lie. It will ultimately be the woman caring for this baby. Others may offer to pitch in but they will not have the pregnancy for her, they will not go into labor for her, and they will not move into her home and literally share equal parts responsibility of this child, 24/7, 365 days a year, for 18 years. Not even close. They may just offer to babysit a couple nights a week or bring over food.
When she’s a stable, mature adult
Not every woman goes through the tremendous emotional journey of finding herself, loving herself, and educating herself all so she can have a baby. Just because a woman is emotionally capable of it doesn’t mean she’s required to have a baby.
When she’s a scared teen
This is of course controversial, depending on the local legislation, it may not legally be the teen’s complete choice. Some would argue that teenagers don’t know who they are or what they want. But I would argue, isn’t that the exact reason teenagers shouldn’t be put in charge of the rearing of a child? Isn’t that the exact reason they shouldn’t, at this time, make a decision that will alter and control their lives forever?