choose choiceso anyway, it's the anniversary of Roe vs Wade today (tomorrow for some of you Yankensteins), so those of us who don't think women should be forced to have pregnancies just because Jeebus wants foetuses for sunbeams speak out in our little voices, and those of you whose belief in freedom extends to thinking you should be free to tell other people what to do with their bodies, but not to agreeing that women should be free to make fundamental choices about their health, their futures, their own insides, get to shut the fuck up while we do it.
i have complex feelings about terminations. mrs zen has had one (two, but only one since she has been with me) and i didn't feel good about it. i don't feel anyone got murdered, but i did, and sometimes still do, feel saddened that something potential did not come into being. but many potentials in my life have not eventuated, so my sadness is somewhat capped. i also believe a girlfriend had a termination when i was much younger. i am not sure because she did not tell me. but she hinted somewhat, or rather told me things that led me to believe that she had without necessarily meaning for me to draw that conclusion. i do not feel sad about that at all.
my feelings in both instances are muted though because, i'll be brutally frank, my feelings are of practically no importance in both cases, and i'm acutely aware of that. neither was my choice to make and i'm content that that should be so. of course i discussed it with mrs zen, and i expressed a view, but you can express views without pushing. (indeed, it was something of a relief not to have to choose, because--whatever the forced pregnancy brigade say about women who have unwanted pregnancies--choosing to have a termination is not something that most take lightly; not, i should add, that i think that there is anything wrong with finding it an easy decision--this kind of thing is entirely personal.) i did not want another child, and i said so. mrs zen did not either, and she chose not to continue the pregnancy.
we are in so many ways powerless, all of us ordinary people. and women, even though the world is slowly changing, are at the bottom of the power heap. we can kid ourselves that their increased economic power has catapulted them to equality, but a cursory glance at our world should put us straight. lack of power is most often felt as lack of choice. we do things because we have to most of the time. we have to work so that we can eat and buy consumer goods. we have to obey laws made for and by rich men because we are powerless to disobey them without consequence.
i believe strongly that the antichoice "movement"--by which term i wish to distinguish those who seek to impose their views on all of us from those who believe that abortion is wrong but do not feel that their own preference should be the law--is not about the "life" of foetuses. it is much more an expression of fear at the empowerment of women, and an expression of a continuing belief that women's sexuality should be punished.
i do not believe women should be punished for being sexual. far from it. i wish to encourage them to express their sexual beings. (and ladies, i'm here to help.) nor am i afraid of women's empowerment. when empowerment is about increasing choice, curiously it does not necessarily mean a diminishment of others' power. the increased vibrancy and dynamism of a world in which all have choices tend to increase the power of ordinary men, because we too are in turn presented with broader choices. liberate women and we liberate ourselves. we stop feeling compelled to be their jailers (or keepers, if you prefer), if nothing else, and start to understand that the weight we have lifted from them has also been lifted from us: when power consists in oppressing others, i truly believe it oppresses the oppressor, forcing them into a role that they cannot escape. inability to escape is as bad a form of slavery as you can suffer.
above all, i am willing to entrust women with power. (in general, i'd say i'm happier to empower them than i am to empower men, who have much more difficulty in conceiving of power as something other than a means of ranking each other and holding each other down.) i trust them to make choices because they are not children, not lacking anything; they are fully formed, able and in some ways wiser than us (and in others less wise; we are complements, not competitors, on the whole). i know i am making a good choice in deciding to empower them where i can, because i do trust them.