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by Jill Greenwood

Sorry for the blog silence, folks. When we started O+U, we never really ironed out our schedules. For a while, Erika did the calendars, but when she was selling her house, I took it over . . . and I’ve forgotten the last few months. No real reason other than life. But that’s not to say that we haven’t missed posting here. Some months are easier than others; occasionally, we’ll come up with an idea relatively quickly. Other months . . . takes forever (remember February?). Anyway, there’s no real theme for this month, and truthfully, I haven’t even posted a calendar yet, but I’m running with this one: politics. That dirty little word that no one wants to talk about: politics. A subject on which everyone has an opinion: politics. If there’s any one subject that’s rife with opinions and tons to talk about it’s . . . politics. And my own personal political issue is reproductive health. That’s right. I’m talking about vaginas and uteruses (kick it old school and go with uteri if you want) and birth control and abortion and children and cervixes and cancer and disease. And I’m calling bullshit on the politicians. PS – If you don’t like the f-word, walk away now.

Whenever I say that I’m pro-choice people automatically assume that I’m pro-abortion. Honestly, I don’t think that I’ve ever met a person who is pro-abortion. Have you? No one that I know ever has said, “Hmmm . . . what haven’t I done this summer? I know. Get an abortion!” Contrary to what Wisconsin Senator, Mary Lazich, says, you don’t need an abortion to be a woman. No, Senator, you need a uterus to be a woman. Having a vagina helps, too. You can get away without the boobs. Then again, what do I really know . . . I’m not a doctor, so I could be wrong. But wait! Neither are you, Senator.

So back to me. I’m pro-choice. I believe that, when given a choice between having a child and raising it, having a child and giving it up for adoption, or having an abortion, that choice should be mine and pretty much just mine except for the people that I choose to share it with. In the summer of 1990, I was in that very spot. Just finished up my sophomore year in college and having a blast in the summer. I was working at three jobs and taking a few classes. Thoroughly enjoying my summer. And then I got pregnant. For some reason, I always say, “I got pregnant,” when in all actuality, it took two people to get to that point and a compelling lack of condoms, but I got pregnant. My friends found out first because they were in the bathroom when the stick changed colors. The next person? The father. I really had no idea how that conversation would go because let’s be honest, not much physically would change for him. He could, if he wanted, deny everything and be a real dick. Tell me that it was pretty much up to me what happened. Tell me to go fuck myself. Tell me to do whatever I wanted. But we talked and talked and talked, and in the end, chose to have the baby. The first place we went was Planned Parenthood, and true to Planned Parenthood form, they offered me – wait for it – prenatal vitamins. Not an abortion. Or literature to read. Just prenatal vitamins and the opportunity to listen to the baby’s heartbeat because the obstetrician wouldn’t see me until I was 12 weeks along (fun fact: only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s activities have anything to do with abortions; the rest is all about women’s health). And in April of 1991, our daughters were born because by then, there were two bambinos floating around in the “aquarium” that was my ever expanding belly.

I had every hope that my daughters would grow up in an era that respected them as equals with the boys around them. For the love of god and all that is holy, hadn’t Free To Be You and Me already established that boys and girls were the same except for the bits and pieces down there? For a little while, it seemed like we were good. I’m not even sure when the tide started to turn, but it did. All of a sudden, things shifted away from making a choice to “protecting the lives of the innocent” at all costs (which also involved vilifying any need for public assistance, by the way). Plan B? Better hope you can find a pharmacy that’s willing to stock it. Comprehensive sex ed? Not in school . . . you only need to know how to abstain. An open dialog about sex? Right here – at least I had that covered. Thankfully, getting birth control wasn’t a huge issue because we lived in a state that didn’t make us jump through too many hoops.

Last summer, I felt like I was 20 again. Not because I found I was filled with all the energy and vigor of a 20-year-old but because I thought I was pregnant again. You know what? It sucked all over. I didn’t want to be pregnant. I had no desire to have another child. I was older, which brought about all sorts of risks. All these thoughts running through my brain and just one way to squash them all: take a pregnancy test. So I went to the store and called my husband on the way. He reacted much calmer this time around (that will happen when the last time you had this kind of conversation was before Bill Clinton had been elected), but it was clear that he didn’t want another child either. I bought a test – did you know that they keep the pregnancy tests right next to the diapers? If that’s not a great big, Fuck You!, I don’t know what is – came home and found out that I was not pregnant. The relief that washed over me was unexplainable.

But had I been pregnant, the only person’s opinion that I would have given two shits about would have been my husband’s opinion. Not my state senator’s or my governor’s or my children’s or my extended family’s. Just his and mine. Because ultimately, the only two people raising the baby would be the two of us. And honestly, it’s none of Lisa Boscola‘s business if I choose to have a child or not. Pennsylvania has a 24-hour waiting period, and there are “informed consent” laws that serve only to add to a woman’s guilt. But like it or not, if I were in fact pregnant and I wanted to have an abortion, I would have had one. Because the 24-hour waiting period wouldn’t affect my bottom line in any way, shape, or form. My husband would be there to hold my hand the entire time. Hell, I’d probably even have my children with me. But not all women have the luxury of taking a full two days or have a support system in place to help.

Other states are worse than Pennsylvania. Everyone has focused on Texas and Senator Wendy Davis‘s filibuster regarding Rick Perry and his version of what kind of health care women in Texas should receive (hint: there’s a lot more at stake than abortions but it’s not “sexy” to focus on cervical cancer or that it really only will affect poor and/or minority women). Senator Davis did a remarkable job with her filibuster and was only ruled “out” after three very bogus strikes, but the Texas legislature at least put the bill to a vote . . . unlike a state that I was once proud to call my home. Because Ohio’s governor didn’t put it to a vote. He allowed it to be attached to the budget and quickly signed the whole package (although thankfully he did help out the spider monkeys and their owners by removing them from regulations: spider monkeys – 1, women – 0). So, Ohio women, welcome to the following:

  • Want an IUD? Fuck you . . . it’s an abortion.
  • Had a miscarriage and need a DNC? Fuck you . . . it’s an abortion.
  • Still hellbent on getting an abortion? Fuck you . . . wait 48-hours.
  • You were raped? Fuck you . . . only clinics that don’t mention abortion will get any money.
  • Your life is in danger? Fuck you . . . Gov. Kasich decided what that means (and good luck if you are in danger because chances are it really isn’t danger according to the governor’s list).

There’s more, but really they all amount to a giant fuck you because clearly the governor knows better. People fixate on the abortions after 20 weeks and how horrible a woman must be to abort her baby that late in the game. I’ll let you in on a little secret: those are usually the most wanted pregnancies out there. They are a beyond gut wrenching decisions of all – a baby that you desperately want only to find out that nothing will be able to save the life of your unborn child and that continuing with the pregnancy would do nothing but cause more heartbreak for everyone.

I’m unabashedly pro-choice. Because every option should be available to women . . . have the child, find adoptive parents, terminate the pregnancy. Ultimately, it’s not my choice to make. It’s yours. And whatever choice you make, I’ll respect that. Because you are the one to live with the outcome. Not me. I made my choice 23 years ago, one that I have never, ever regretted. I’d seriously love to hear your points of view . . . just keep it civil.

Comments

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  1. July 2, 2013

    This will sound very strange coming from me, a believer, a church going, Bible study girl But you see I believe just like you because we were given free will. It’s how we were created. This is how I believe anyway. Choice should be that of the person. Why should we get involved in everyone’s choices? We have no right! If we all just lived our own lives, Since when do we have this right? My Christian counterparts don’t get me. I know God does though. It’s just none of my business, it’s that simple.

    • Jill #
      July 2, 2013

      And I totally respect all of that because of everything: owning the free will and that other Christians don’t get your view. I don’t profess to walk in anybody’s shoes other than my own . . . so why should my choice – to have a child – be forced on anyone else. Honestly, if it were with a different person, I can’t say that I’d have made the same choice. But my husband was with me 100% from the word go; we just weren’t really good with the whole “safe sex” stuff.

  2. July 2, 2013

    i am by your side all the way sweetie pie!!!! xxxooo

    • Jill #
      July 2, 2013

      Thanks, Linda . . . I’m only on the side of all women getting a choice in their own reproduction . . . xoxo!

  3. Heather #
    July 2, 2013

    I hear you…and agree. And so believe the government needs to stay out of my uterus.

    • Jill #
      July 2, 2013

      I’m always shocked that the more politicians profess to want smaller government and to help the economy, they do so very little to actually achieve those ends. Because poking their noses in a woman’s uterus does not fit the bill.

  4. July 3, 2013

    Well, I’m sure you know my point of view – teen mom, unbelievably blessed to have had a partner who was a stand-up guy that was with me all the way (which, as we know is rarely the case for teen moms). Also went to Planned Parenthood to get that all-important test, and wasn’t offered an abortion, nor was it discussed. They simply sat me down kindly, told me I needed to be sure to get good prenatal care, gave me a bunch of info on where/how to find a doctor, gave me vitamins, wished me well and sent me on my way. The closest we ever got to discussing abortion during that appointment was the nurse asking me if I planned to keep the baby. I did, and I don’t regret that decision and never have. BUT I also realize that I am in a very very lucky minority, and was allowed to make the decision for myself. Therefore I feel other women should also have that right. Now onto the other part of this legislation that offends me to my very core – the miscarriage part of it. I had a miscarriage – a very bad one and it’s probably the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. I had a D&C afterward – the fetus was already dead and had been passed, but the concern was infection setting in. So, my doctor, my medical expert who went to school for this sort of thing, scheduled the D&C for just an hour or so later, so that I would not have to spend a day or two bleeding profusely, suffering, watching tissue and blood flow out of me, knowing it should have been a baby, and so I wouldn’t have a greater risk of infection. It took me a full ten years to be able to even talk about the miscarriage without crying. I can’t imagine how much more horrible the experience would have been if I’d had to endure a lecture on fetal development, or wait 24 hours to get the D&C. I don’t know why our politicians feel they know more about medicine and reproduction than doctors do. I don’t know why people don’t understand that the proper way to prevent abortion is sex education and easy, affordable access to birth control. I don’t know why people can’t get it through their thick skulls that Planned Parenthood SAVES LIVES and has prevented more abortions than it’s ever performed. And I don’t know why we have to keep arguing this shit over and over and over again.

    • Jill #
      July 3, 2013

      Right? I’m disgusted by the miscarriage inclusion. How insulting that you would be forced to come in for an ultrasound, knowing full well what had happened, and then come back the next fucking day only to sit through a lecture about how old your child was and what the development was knowing that none of that was even in the realm of a possibility because of what had happened. AND knowing that you (or rather the governor) had put your life in jeopardy by making your wait 24 hours for a valid medical procedure.

      Stand up guys are truly worth their weight in gold . . . give yours a hug for me! Hell, kiss him for me, too!

  5. Lisa #
    July 3, 2013

    i love the honesty of this post. totally agree with you on being pro-choice. reproductive health is also a big political issue here in the philippines, and sadly, the church is also meddling in the debates. despite our countries’ political/ cultural/ religious differences, the issue is still the same, and women all over the world are experiencing the same choices (or lack thereof).

    • Jill #
      July 3, 2013

      Honesty is the best policy because being pro-choice never, ever, EVER equals pro-abortion. I’m all in favor of women – you know, the ones who must deal with the physical ramifications of pregnancy as well as the psychological ones – making the choices for themselves. I would never assume to know what’s right for another woman, even my own daughters. And it’s a shame that despite years of progress, it’s still boiling down to men deciding to tell us what is best.

  6. July 3, 2013

    yes yes Y E S!!!!!!
    i too made a similar decision in 1992. i want the same right for the 2 daughters i birthed and ALL women. choice. not pro abortion, pro CHOICE. so well said jill.

    • Jill #
      July 4, 2013

      I want a bumper sticker that says, “I’m Pro-Choice, Not Pro-Abortion” . . . but preferably in pink because I partial to that color.

      • connie carpenter macko #
        July 5, 2013

        I want one that says “life IS one of the choices” and I have taken to calling pro-life folks the “anti-choice” crowd.

  7. July 3, 2013

    I severely enjoyed this post! I feel like the individuals who make the decision on what women do with and to their bodies have no knowledge of women’s bodies or the sexual response cycle period.

    I must say kudos for having a well fleshed out argument, refreshing stuff on a hot topic, even though Roe v Wade was how long ago???

    • Jill #
      July 4, 2013

      Roe V. Wade was about 40 years ago because my infant brother died right around that time. Consequently, my mother can’t have a rational discussion about it since she has connected the two. But I know that she’s pretty much for letting women make up their own minds.

  8. connie carpenter macko #
    July 5, 2013

    Why is it so difficult for so many people to “get” that life is one of the “choices” that I’m pro-choice about? I was 21 and pregnant, alone, 26 years ago and my son is blessed to know that although unexpected, I had a choice, and I chose to share my life with him as a single mom.

    You are right – no one wants to make the choice to end a life. Even the stereotypical, ghetto, on her sixth abortion candidate wants to make that choice. Take away what little education and access to birth control exist now and what will happen then?

    I am embarrassed to live in Ohio right now. So busy making fun of the “crazies” in Texas or Mississippi to realize what was happening under my own nose. So how do I help fix it?

    Spoke with some mid-20 year old women, friends of my son, about a year ago that just didn’t get the severity of the situation. They felt that we would never “go back.” Tried without fail to get them to see that things WERE being taken away – that this could ALL be taken away. Wonder if they are still watching and thinking the same thoughts. They need to be afraid. We all do.

    • Jill #
      July 8, 2013

      I really, really, really want a bumper sticker that says, “Pro-Choice Does Not Mean Pro-Abortion” because I’ve never, ever met a person who is pro-abortion. Our girls know that they were not a planned pregnancy, but I would never, ever call them a “mistake” because there was nothing mistaken about them.

      Ohio needs to get it collective head out of their asses because I, too, was looking at Texas thinking how crazy it was. At least their congress had the balls to debate it . . . nothing like sneaking it in at the last minute to ram it through. And women of all ages need to realize that this impacts ALL women. Not just the ones contemplating reproductive issues but every woman with a brain because it screams of “We’ll tell you what you need to know, little woman,” and that’s just a crying shame.

  9. k #
    July 7, 2013

    A-fucking-men! Excellent post. Also, as an adoptive mom, I’d add that the central theme of the abortion debate, the one that has nothing to do with “protecting the innocents” and a whole lot more to do with punishing women for having sex (you made the bed after all, so you have to commit a lifetime to lying in it), applies to adoption also. I know this because my daughter’s birthmom chose adoption – and during the pregnancy, was praised here and there, as unselfiish. Fast forward 3 years, and she no longer discloses the adoption to anyone because she went from “you’re so strong and unselfish” to “what kind of woman gives her child away? you must be a monster” . Her family was incensed that she’d make the bed and not lie in it (their words), and strangers say such awful things, she can’t repeat them. The only way she could redeem herself in the eyes of family and friends, was to get pregnant again, and parent the baby – despite no change in her ability to parent, home-life, economic stability, etc. So this young woman who made the most difficult choice I could imagine to ensure the life she envisioned for her first daughter, and have the time/space to build herself a life, is instead newly-single, dependent on her abusive (but finally supportive of her) parents, no chance at high-school completion or the career of her dreams, little chance at the boy of her dreams (after all, she’s not only a monster, but a young, single parent). But hey, at least she’s paying her dues now for having sex. And two little girls (you know, the innocents), well one will eventually meet her birth grandparents and hear all about how she was the punishment that got away. The other lives the exact life her mom was so trying to avoid for her firstborn. People who say it’s just about abortion and not about controlling women’s bodies need to hear about the women who didn’t choose abortion and are still paying the price.

    • Jill #
      July 8, 2013

      This sickens and saddens me on so many levels because adoption, to me, is the hardest of the choices. Knowing that there are people out there who would belittle a woman (or a girl in this case) for making an informed choice just makes me ill. Reality television is one of my guilty pleasures and Teen Mom in our house. I always find it ironic that the only one of the couples still together is the one that chose adoption for their child. And nothing about those households could have been easy growing up. Even with this show, the grandparents – a few of them – were downright mean about the choice that the birth parents made.

      Don’t even get me started on comprehensive sex ed in our schools. As a teacher, I know the hard work that our health teachers do. But I also know that their hands are tied based on the curriculum and what parents say. Hell, I had a student this year who couldn’t spell the word “vagina” and instead spelled it “virginia.” When I corrected his spelling in our tutoring group, I told him that it was kind of an important word that should be spelled properly . . . luckily, his mother had a sense of humor, too.

  10. March 5, 2014

    I probably shouldn’t put this out there for public consumption, and till this day I toss and turn at the choice I let someone make for me… my parents, I don’t know if I’d use the word force, but I was given an ultimatum, get an abortion or move out, I was only 16 (almost) dating and guy 10 years or more, my senior, the must have at least once suspected, something, just might occur out of that relationship. I still don’t know if it was the right choice, but I wish it would have been mine to make, Planned Parent Hood tried to talk me into keeping the baby, and I was told to “ignore their plight”, it was done at the hospital, so I was in good care, but I often wonder if I’m cursed because of this, Karma or otherwise, that I have not had children yet, and still wondering if I want them, at times, I do, other times…. I’m at the age where I have to do now, or not at all 39!

  11. March 5, 2014

    opps, I wish I could have edited my post (please ignore the misspellings) I need AUTOCORRECT!

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