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Our Intimate Wars [Blog for Choice Day 2012]

January 22, 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.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Del permalink
    January 22, 2012 3:56 PM

    The pro-life crowd is paying attention to Blog for Choice Day.

    We are asking all of the pro-choicers to answer a question:

    *What do you mean by “Choice”?*

    This blog seems much more thoughtful and civil than most. I hope you will take up the question in good faith and provide some insightful answers.

    • happybodies permalink
      January 22, 2012 7:45 PM

      That question has been addressed repeatedly by this blog, so you’re welcome to review those posts for your answer.

  2. January 22, 2012 7:18 PM

    The person who came up with the old “sticks and stones” adage was obviously never faced with the taxing decision of whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. The words others fling in our faces do cause lasting damage. My heart breaks for the women who have had to follow their convictions in the face of such poisonous hatred.

  3. January 22, 2012 8:18 PM

    “Choice” is the fundamental deception of feminists and the abortion industry, and the question they fear the most is “what do you mean by ‘choice’”.

    Would you care to explain in detail what happens to a baby when a woman chooses abortion? So many people have been misled on the truth of abortion, that you might not have actually thought about it yourself. Here is a link to demonstrations of the three basic abortion procedures –

    This is what you are blogging to celebrate? Who has the right to “choose” this for another human being?

    Women are indeed in control of their reproductive choices – prior to conceiving. Dismembering, decapitating or poisoning a pre-born baby girl or boy, and disposing of the body or pieces in a garbage pail, because a woman is unhappy with the use of her reproductive capabilities is not akin to using a condom or the pill

    And abortion has nothing to do with a woman’s health. A woman’s life is rarely endangered by pregnancy, but hundreds of thousands of women have suffered physical damage to their reproductive systems and/or long term psychological damage arising from guilt and depression after undergoing an abortion

    Millions of pro-life Christians pray for the misled supporters of abortion and will continue to do so. Please open your heart to God and reflect upon what you are actually supporting

    And please reply to this comment

  4. Del permalink
    January 22, 2012 9:32 PM

    Thus far, I have seen three basic responses from pro-choicers to the question, “What do you mean by ‘Choice’?”

    1) Most commonly: Snark and vitriol, and lots of anger. But this just avoids the question.

    2) Treating “choice” as a euphamism and then stacking on more euphamisms, such as defining “choice” as “whether or not to continue a pregnancy.” This is the response of Happy Bodies, and most other pro-choice bloggers. This is a little thin, and doesn’t explain what you mean.

    3) A few bloggers are in-your-face brutally honest: “Choice” means murdering the child that mother doesn’t want….. and they are quite vulgarly proud of it. (These bloggers are the equivalent of pro-lifers who carry the bloody fetus pictures and holler rudely at women entering the abortion mill. Shocking, but not helpful.) Fortunately, very few pro-choicers are this heartless, just as very few pro-lifers approve of the bloody images.

    And of course, there are quite a few pro-lifers who cannot resist the urge to preach on the pro-choice blogs. They don’t mean to be trolls; it is just frustrating that the pro-choice writers are unwilling or unable to scratch below the surface of their chosen rhetoric.

    I had real hope for this blog…. and maybe with a little more time to reflect, you will come up with something fresh and helpful. I’ll keep you bookmarked.

    Let me give you a push: If this were my pro-choice blog, I would start by observing that no woman plans for her unplanned pregnancy. Thus, any decision is being made in a storm of emotional distress, often with coercive boyfriends or abusive parents, or poverty or college plans in the complex. If we really want to help women, we need to help them clear the storm that clouds their ability to make an irrevocable, life-changing choice.

    Then I would talk about what sort of information and assistance a woman needs to make a good choice… and where to help her get what she really needs.

    I would not be able to avoid talking about the lifetime of choices that are stolen from the child.

    That’s how I would frame a 500-word blog post on what I mean by “choice.” I look forward to seeing what Happy Bodies can come up with.

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