Wednesday, November 02, 2005

My Body, My Rights

I haven't had much to say about the search for a new Justice for the Supreme Court because I'm trying to work on some personal artistic projects, and politics just wears me out. However, I'm drawn back to what bugs me the most about the abortion rights issue, probably the most controversial of SC issues.

Back in my twenties, I was part of several "queer" orgs; an HIV prevention org, a gay & lesbian org, and part of groups including ACT UP, Queer Nation, and Dyke Action Machine. We paid close attention to what happened with both abortion rights and sodomy laws because they both addressed personal choices about very personal things. At the time, lesbians worked hard to get gay men, understandably focused on AIDS and HIV, to understand why they should support a woman's right to choose. The right to choose isn't about whether or not you believe that abortion is about "baby killing;" it's about the right to make a choice that is yours to make. After all, no one would support legislation that makes tobacco illegal, even though it has been proven that prolonged use of tobacco products usually leads to cancer, which is still an incurable disease. And, no one would support the banning of all alcoholic beverages, even though underage drinking, binge drinking, drunk driving, and alcohol abuse can all lead to injury, illness, and death. We could extend the argument to driving a car, all things we do as a matter of choice. So, let's just jump right into the controversy.

Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy following the death of a fetus. According to the dictionary, the death of a fetus can follow infection, can be spontaneous; the body can reject the fetus with death following, or it can be induced. Pregnancies are terminated for good and bad reasons. We plan to get pregnant, so why can we not plan not to get or stay pregnant? Ever wonder why abortion foes (I refuse to refer to them as pro-lifers; it supports the improper reasoning that being in favor of choice means an opposition to life) are silent on the use of fertility drugs or in-vitro fertilization? Adoption? Is it more acceptable to terminate a pregnancy that follows incest or rape than it is to terminate a pregnancy that comes at an arguably unfortunate time; a second, third, fourth or more child to a poor family, or a pregnancy to a couple with genetic concerns, such as Tay-Sachs, Sickle Cell, or other potentially catastrophic illnesses?

It is foolish to believe that the average woman who has an abortion uses abortion as a means of brith control when there are far less expensive and far more accessible methods of birth control available. And, it is fascinating that the most visible and vocal abortion foes are most often White, heterosexual males, who, although certainly affected by such a weighty matter as the ending of a pregnancy, will never be the one to make the final decision to do so. I also offer this: abortion foes, especially the ones who support and operate help centers to encourage women to have their babies, aren't adopting these unwanted children. They're unwilling to come to urban, rural, or poor areas where these children grow up. No, assuming a supposed moral position like opposing reasonable access to abortion does nothing more than add a brick to the wall of homogeneity that far right conservatives are desperately trying to build.

Sodomy laws, unfortunately named, parallel abortion rights laws because they seek to impose government interference in deeply personal matters. More often than not, they are unfairly applied -- ask Matthew Limon, whose Kansas jail sentence for having sex with another young man was longer than that for the same crime committed by a male and a female. Does oral or anal sex really present a danger to society so great that the government needs to tell me what choice I should make about what I do with my body? I think not.

I'll be really succinct -- Alito is not a good choice for the Supreme Court. Putting his mother's comments about his stand on abortion aside, an article in today's New York Times looks at his background on abortion rights and brings together the problem of government's meddling in personal matters that it shouldn't.

It is my body, and it is my right to do with it as I choose as long as I don't harm anyone else, or create a hazard to the community at large. If the government wishes to intervene to ensure that the community is protected, it should. I fail to see how telling me what kind of sex I have, with whom I have it, and what I must face as a result, is any of the government's business.


Blogger It's Me, Maven... said...

Yanno something went off in my head like a Fourth of July sparkler when you made the comment about how those "foes" stand silent when it comes to fertility drugs or IVF. What hypocrites! I agree, if we can "plan" to get pregnant, we can "plan" what to do in the event of rape or incest...We can CHOOSE for ourselves.

Oh and re: cigarettes... not only do they kill the smoker, but second hand smoke kills and is one of the leading causes of cervical cancer in women.


12:39 PM  

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