In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need to debate about abortion, because in that perfect world we wouldn’t have abortions. But – also in that perfect world we would have:
- Comprehensive, unassuming, and honest sex education
- Absence of coercion, rape, and rape culture
- Dialogue of what healthy relationships (and communication) look like and do not look like
- Non judgemental reproductive health professionals and resources
- Accessible and affordable contraceptives (for all reproductive organs)
This is not a complete list, but I see these as the big five.
So if you’re pro-life, you’ve got a hefty agenda that you should be working on as well.
This isn’t a roast for pro-lifers; in a perfect world, I too would be a pro-life advocate. But if we don’t supply and enable our peers with the tools we need, then we need to be able to retroactively assist in the consequences of not having these bullet points.
I absolutely love the name of Planned Parenthood because that’s exactly what it is. Especially as an eco-Feminist, I fully understand the impact on bringing another human into this world. The impact of a child starts at conception, and it will never (yes, never) turn back from there, for the parent and for their society. So then, how do we start to create this more perfect world, where rape does not permeate our lives, and where sex education is indeed education?
We need to be able to make abortion a topic that we can talk about with our policy makers, healthcare providers, and youth. If we are unable to talk about abortion, we are unable to begin to understand the root causes for wanting an abortion.
I am proudly pro-choice because I know that I could have been a teen who’s life is flipped upside down… because my sex-ed was in the high school cafeteria, where I was taught that “pulling out” was a surefire way to avoid insemination and frenching in a hot tub would definitely knock you up. I was socialized to think that even asking about birth control would be too embarrassing and would label me as a raunchy, “sexually active teen.” Luckily, though – and luck is the right word here – I never had the opportunity to take the risk of being an uneducated teenager, and educated myself into early adulthood. I cannot imagine unknowing the things that I know now, and I am so grateful that I was lucky.
I think that most of us who went through US public schools could sit around and laugh about the terrible lessons we were taught in our abstinence “education” classes in middle and high school. I was told that I had one cookie, and I could only give my cookie away once, because who would want to eat a regurgitated cookie someone else had chewed up? Yep – ew. There are a dozen issues with this, but our obsession with virginity and chastity allows our male-dominated society to live on. Abstinence education relies heavily on the waiting-until-marriage argument, when your father will walk you down the aisle and pass you off to another worthy male to deflower and make you his.
Let’s put marriage aside, then, and consider a relationships that do not end with being wed. Sex can be a healthy and constructive way to strengthen the bond between two people (if that is what they want). The “can” here comes with the fine print that the two people must be educated and able to hold an open conversation. If you have to “kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince,” how the heck are we going to know how to safely kiss all of those frogs?
I can honestly say that I learned nothing other than how many STD’s and STI’s exist in the world. (A campaign of fear – revolutionary.) I think back on those lessons with fond memories, because the majority of my 7th grade giggles came from that class. Abstinence education is indeed a joke.
The bottom line is that you cannot perpetuate rape culture, allow a lack of resources, support abstinence education, and allow unhealthy relationships and communication to remain in a society if you do not want to give the choice to someone to bring another human into this world. If you are pro-life, you need to step up to the plate and work on the issues that need reform. Your to-do list just got quite a bit longer.
If you’d like further information on America’s sex education, pro-choice resources, or facts on America’s obsession with virginity and abstinence, I recommend the following:
The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti