Our Intimate Wars [Blog for Choice Day 2012]
I was expecting to celebrate Blog for Choice day the same way I always do – by forgetting to write anything. But at the very least this year I want to mention this really great series: Intimate Wars appearing at Fem2.0 and On the Issues Cafe January 17-18, 2012 in celebration of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the release of Merle Hoffman’s memoirs, Intimate Wars.
The series centers women’s personal stories of their relationships with their bodies and reproductive rights. To me, “Intimate Wars” is such an evocative and accurate name to describe these relationships. The major realization we had when starting Happy Bodies, and the reason this blog began is that every body has a story to tell. These stories can be heartwrenching, triumphant, silly or tragic, but always dynamic. And for many of us, it’s felt like a war. It’s empowering to tell these stories, and unifying to share them with others.
The debate of reproductive rights and abortion accessibility is heated. People are angry. People are hurt. People are name-calling, and shouting and disrespecting each other. It’s partisan. It’s nasty. It’s black and white.
And the women who are faced with these decisions are caught in the middle. Their bodies become the battlegrounds of this war. I have watched, as a clinic escort, women screamed at and verbally abused as they walk into the clinic for their operation, surrounded by pictures of dead fetuses. I’ve listened, too many times, to privileged white people talking about “welfare queens”, unfit mothers, “octo-mom” and how irresponsible it is for poor women to have children.
I have no idea what it feels like to make this decision. I’m lucky to have not been faced with this choice yet. I’ve got ideas about what I would do, but I really don’t know. In this battleground of ‘pro-choice’ or ‘pro-life’, there are so many factors that come in to the real decisions women make, that are beyond what they want for their own body: what their family wants, what the father wants, what they can afford, what is accessible to them, what their faith says, what their church says, what is the most discreet option, whats is the safest option. For some, there is a great stigma to deciding to terminate a pregnancy and for others there is judgement for having a child when others deem the situation unfit. In many cases women face coercion, manipulation, or violence related to making this decision.
My strong belief in body sovereignty leads me to be firmly pro-choice, and for accessibility to all reproductive options. I get heated to in response to things like HR 358 passing the House, the huge amount of anti-Choice legislation passed in the last year, and the spinelessness of the Democratic leadership in defending women’s reproductive rights.
But I think there is a need to re-focus, re-center, and remind ourselves where this battle over reproductive choice is really being fought. It’s an intimate war.