If you’re pro-choice, then act like it

We’ve all heard people say they’re “pro-choice” and immediately follow that up with “NOT pro-abortion.”

Whether it’s to appease pro-lifers or their own consciences, it’s evident these people believe the worst thing that can happen in the world is any woman choosing to stop being pregnant with a fetus that is totally and wholly dependent on her body.

Well, I am pro-abortion. I’m pro-pregnancy. I’m pro-whatever-a-woman-decides-is-best-for-herself.

Thinking of abortion as something that’s a necessary evil instead of a safe, legitimate medical procedure is to take away bodily agency from the women who receive abortions. Abortion is neither inherently good nor bad, neither right nor wrong – in and of itself, it is simply the termination of a pregnancy.

And the women who choose to undergo them should not have to wear a scarlet letter. Having an abortion does not determine the content of one’s character. Nor does it definitively nod to someone’s principles.

Self-professed pro-choicers who claim to support the freedom of women to make certain decisions, but then essentially demonize those who do not make the most morally “correct” choices according to some arbitrary patriarchal standards are just as hypocritical as the right-wing pro-life movement.

Their arguments have the same judgmental air as the maxim, “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.” The alleged sinner won’t feel any reassurance from knowing some holier-than-thou, self-appointed morality expert supposedly loves them but hates everything they do or whatever they stand for.

It doesn’t – or shouldn’t – matter whether a woman’s decision of what to do with her own body is universally well-received or hated. She will do it regardless of public opinion, and she should feel no guilt about a choice that was only hers to make in the first place.

The idea that women should live their lives waiting for someone else’s approval is nonsensical and ludicrous. I hesitate even to tack on “outdated,” because this attitude shouldn’t have been appropriate at any point in history.

Women are not public or private property – we are our own selves.

Anything that serves to undermine and disavow the integrity of a woman and her choice is rooted in the belief that we are not fully human and that subsequently, any agency we claim for ourselves is somehow detrimental to society and its future.

It is logical to conclude the self-aggrandizing Trump administration’s hatred for Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides a wealth of beneficial health education and services, is rooted in misogyny.

Never mind the cancer screenings and STI testing, among the countless invaluable services they provide – they’re obviously a terrible institution because a small portion of its (private) funding is used for abortions, right?

Title X, a federal grant program created to provide comprehensive family planning services and reproductive health care, was placed under new restrictions last month. The Trump administration decreed any organization that receives Title X funding cannot provide abortion referrals, effectively placing a gag rule on Planned Parenthood.

So Planned Parenthood left Title X.

This is how important abortions are. They can determine the course of a woman’s life. They can change her future.

Planned Parenthood made the correct decision in underscoring the importance of choice above all else.

When it comes to women’s bodily autonomy, there is no room for negotiation.

Women do not truly have choice if they cannot make the full, unabashed decision to stop being pregnant for any reason and without apology, if they cannot delineate exactly when, where, and how to be pregnant and exactly how many children they plan to have.

And as we continue to see increased attacks on this autonomy in this ever-polarized political climate where across the country, access to abortion and even adequate prenatal care becomes more and more restricted, we cannot just overlook the half-assed support from those who say they might agree with freedom of choice – you know, just as long as it’s the right one.

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