Well…once again I should apologize for my lack of posts here; with work and all, I hope you understand.
Due to lack of time, I wasn’t able to blog this during Blogging for Choice Day….but since I’ve seen some excellent commentary by others (you can go to Belledame, Renegade Evolution and Brownfemipower (here and here) for a summary and links to the better posts), I decided to add my very belated commentary to the mix.
As anyone who has read my type knows, I happen to be quite a radical (from the Left side, of course) when it comes to reproductive freedom and reproductive choice. It is simple enough for me: Since only the woman has to face the dire threat of an unwanted pregnancy, and since it’s usually only the woman who gets to bear and raise the subsequent baby by herself without any assistance from the father or the state, only the woman should get the option of whether or not to terminate an unwanted pregnancy through contraception, abortion, or whatever…and if she chooses to terminate, it is the responsibility of society to offer a safe, legal and effective means of executing that choice. This has nothing at all to do with the ascetic beauty of abortions; personally, I’d rather that unwanted pregnancies be prevented from happening so that abortions not be neccessary to begin with. But, because women do face the threat of unwanted pregnancies through coerced means (such as rape or incest), it is simply not enough to insist that women simply "close their legs and not have sex until and unless they are married" as so many on the Right suggest so loudly….women should and do have as much a right to their sexual desires and actions as men do.
"But….but…she’s killing an unborn baby!!!" you may shriek in response. Ahhh, no….she’s terminating a fetus that may develop into a child outside the womb. And she does reserve the right to willfully bring wanted babies into this world if she wishes….but if she dies from complications from pregnancy or a botched illegal abortion, she certainly can’t bring any more babies into the world, now can she?? In other words, dead women can’t make babies. There are more than enough women willingly making babies for our planet to survive. (Some would say that there are too many..but that’s another issue entirely.)
But reproductive freedom for this radical ‘Dog means far, far more than just safe and legal abortion and safe and effective contraception on demand. It also includes protections for those women — mostly women of color and immigrant women — who face just as much pressure NOT to bear children due to their lower socioeconomic status and their lack of political and institutional power. It means opposing efforts to impose sterilization and other means of "population control" (often exclusively) on women of color and poor women as a condition of receiving financial support from the State. It means opposing the imposition of such lunacies as "abstinence-only" sex "education", or imposed chastity for non-married adults as a condition of receiving government aid.
Reproductive freedom and choice also means to me full and total sexual autonomy for women and men to make informed decisions about their sexual lives and desires, and to practice those desires in a safe, consensual, and mutually respectful (and mutually pleasurable) fashion. It is no surprise that the loudest voices for protecting the "unborn baby" are the same ones who would condemn gay men and lesbians and women who dare to go outside the "charmed circle" of sex for procreation and actually enjoy sex for its simple pleasures…..as if an unwanted pregnancy and the dreaded STDs (followed up by the usual surrender of the child to a foster care agency..that is if the child is considered desirable enough for the wealthy and mostly White adoption market) should be God’s Scarlet Letter for all "sluts", "whores", and "harlots" who don’t follow "God’s plan" and make babies fast enough.
But mostly, reproductive freedom will mean very little if it is detached from the much larger and comprehensive struggle for racial, economic, and social equality, including a systemic approach to battling the main source of such inequality….namely, the system of capitalism and its supporting ideologies of racism (mostly White Christian Supremacy), sexism, and authoritarianism. Sad to say, but as the history of occasional collusion between Planned Parenthood and racist eugenicists shows, not all who advocate reproductive choice are as willing to broaden their views outside their own elitist agendas. (I am not opposed to Planned Parenthood in general principle, BTW; they are still preferable to the antics and ideological madness of Operation Rescue, and under Faye Wattleton’s leadership, they have overcome their past history quite well. But they cannot deny their history of being used by racists to justify the most horrid of policies.)
The bottom line for me comes down to this: Until ALL women are given the resources and the leeway to gain control over all aspects of their lives, including their wombs, their vulvas, and the rest of their bodies, then NO woman indivdually can be seen as truly free to make a "choice". (And men have just as much a responsibility and a role to play as well, since it’s their sperm that make a baby, too.) As important a principle "My body, my choice" should be for a progressive or a radical (and that includes a sex radical like moi), it would mean nothing if not accompanied by the other principle "An injury to one is an injury to all."
Oh, and memo to the MRAs (meaning especially YOU, Byrdbrain) who would want to run to this blog to defend your nonsense about "the bitches getting what they deserve" and men being the discriminated species: Save it. It just won’t play here. And neither will your posts or innane comments, unless I decide to use them publically for testing my new 2007 formula of Concentrated SmackDog Whupass ™….as the Queer Bitch says so well and so often, this blog is not a free carrier.