Nothing makes my blood boil faster than someone, anyone, trying to tell me what I can or can’t do with or to my body. Seriously, how much more personal and private can you get?
So I flipped out when I came across Hillary Clinton’s article Monday on The Huffington Post. It seems the Bush administration is again taking aim at women’s rights to control what happens to their bodies, their families, and their lives. The Department of Health and Human Services is considering some new regulations restricting access to birth control pills, emergency contraception, and IUDs by labeling them “abortion.” That is neither a scientific nor a legal description; it’s an ideological judgment that a government agency has no right to make.
At the end of the story is a link to a petition expressing opposition to the new regulations. Hillary uses a bit more hyperbole than I would, but our positions are essentially the same. Leave health care decisions to the doctors; leave the moral/religious decisions to the women involved. Don’t use the power of the administration to impose on all women the ideology of one segment of the population.
I’m not arguing whether abortion is right or wrong, or when life begins, or parsing any of the other ethical and religious nuances involved. For me, it’s simple. As the feminists of the ’70s said, “My body, my choice.” My decision about my body is my choice, not yours. If you think contraception is abortion, that’s fine. No one is forcing you to use a contraceptive. But don’t tell me I can’t use it. And if I should become pregnant, don’t tell me I have to carry to term a baby that is going to affect my life forever. Nothing gives you the right to get in my face and tell me that my body is your incubator and yours to control.
Furthermore, restricting access to contraception isn’t even logical. It makes no sense to force women to carry and give birth to unwanted babies, particularly those women least able to deal with them. There are significant emotional, physical, and financial ramifications in having a baby. What sense does it make for a government agency to adopt a policy that results in more unwanted babies, more unwed mothers, more women (and families) mired in poverty? Wouldn’t it be better (and cheaper) to help those women plan meaningful futures for themselves and their families?
I’m not pro-abortion; quite the opposite. I believe in eliminating the need for abortion by promoting sex education, comprehensive family planning, and birth control — and making them readily available to everyone. A safe, confidential abortion is, and should remain, every woman’s legal right if she should find herself having to make that very difficult, very personal decision.
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