Hey hey, it's Blog for Choice Day! Each year, they pose a question to spark the dialogue. Last year it was about our hopes for the Obama administration. This year's question, in honor of Dr. Tiller, is: What does Trust Women mean to you?

As I was trying to come up with my response to this, I watched this video from GRITtv about reproductive rights as human rights. Do check it out if you have some time - it's about 20 minutes long. It features Carole Joffe, author of Dispatches from the Abortion Wars, Silvia Henriquez, E.D. of NLIRH, and Lynn Paltrow, E.D. of National Advocates for Pregnant Women. (I'm hoping I'll have some time this weekend to add a transcript. If somebody else has one, please let me know.)

The dialogue here touches on a lot, here are some bullet points until I get a transcript:
  • some (but not enough) improvement under Obama in terms of rights
  • Latinas and immigrants need access they don't/won't have
  • a reminder that pregnant women keeping their civil rights is still a radical notion
  • stressing that local access is a particular problem
  • the fanaticism in assaulting women's rights and access
  • abortion rights might not be the priority for most, but human rights should be
  • anti-choicers focus on attacking the basic human rights of pregnant women but don't try to reduce unplanned pregnancies
  • contraception was the middle ground before, but now it's lumped with abortion
  • focusing on abortion is effective for Conservatives because it provides a distraction and prevents adequate health care reform
  • abortion providers are constantly under attack and clinics are targeted more under Obama, but there are physicians committed to providing abortions
  • we need to step it up with our activism and call them out on the misinformation they spread

Like I said, there's a lot discussed, but there are two points in particular I want to focus on. The first is the notion that reproductive rights are human rights. To me, that's the crux of what Trust Women means. Abortion is simply a medical procedure that allows a woman to do with her body what she wants and needs. Having a fertilized egg inside of her doesn't suddenly make her incapable of making decisions, yet she is suddenly deemed unworthy of retaining her rights. The second point is closely linked to the first, in my opinion, and that's education and information. If women are given access to accurate information about contraception, abortion, adoption, childbirth, etc., then why should anybody else be allowed to interfere with her decision and her rights?

If we set up a system built on mistrust and misinformation, then there is no hope for having a system that trusts women and puts women's rights at the forefront. Yet that is the system we currently have. There are so many people who just aren't informed, who don't have access to contraception, and who don't understand the basics of abortion. The video stresses activism, and I don't disagree, but I think the activism has to be geared towards education and emphasizing that reproductive rights are human rights.

That's my take on it, what's yours? What does Trust Women mean to you?

(Cross-posted at Feministe)


At Mon Mar 29, 10:38:00 AM tubal reversal said...

I like your post and I would like to comment on this wording that abortion is simply a medical procedure that allows a woman to do with her body what she wants and needs. Tubal Reversal is a procedure by which a woman has a chance to pregnant again.


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