Today is the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and I’m joining millions of pro-choice bloggers to show my support of NARAL’s Blog For Choice Day 2012, and to answer the question What will you do to help elect pro-choice candidates in 2012? Read more about today’s purpose here.
Do you know the problem with us yogis? We’re so… impartial. We have a broad, unbiased perspective, and can argue any side to any issue. This is because we work hard to be detached, because we’re learning to realize that thoughts and feelings are often fleeting; like ships on the horizon, our vritti (mindstuff) glides into our panorama, and then vanishes just as quickly. It’s fantastic to be so middle-of-the-road, since we never have to actually take a side. We get to wade in ethical ambiguity, forever.
However. This is where I take a stand. The issue of reproductive rights is anything BUT ethically ambiguous to me.
It’s not very yogic, is it?
Some of this earnestness I have for protecting these rights stems from personal history. I grew up with a fervently pro-choice mother, in a household where issues of Ms. Magazine were strewn about, sharing coffee tables with Cooking Light and Rolling Stone. This is the mother who played cassettes of feminist folk bands, like Motherlode, as she drove me to school and ballet and art class. The mother who talked about Gloria Steinem so often and with such reverence that I was certain she was some aunt who lived in North Dakota with my other relatives. I’m not alone in saying that my mom’s zeal made her kind of a scary lady, with her SISTERHOOD IS POWERFUL buttons and her TRUST WOMEN bumper stickers. She is vocal and dead-serious about being pro-choice. It’s kind of awesome.
Reproductive rights in this country are perpetually under attack, and Roe v. Wade is constantly on the verge of being overturned. To strip away the rights of women, especially women who are the poorest, most voiceless, most marginalized and underrepresented citizens in this country, would be devastating. These are women who most need access to organizations like Planned Parenthood. One of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott, (who also happens to be a progressive Christian), says this in her sharp, powerful essay, called “The Born:”
[Abortion] was the most intimate decision a woman could make, and she made it alone, in her deepest heart, though sometimes with the man by whom she was pregnant, with her dearest friends, or with her doctor–but without the personal opinion of, say, Tom DeLay or Karl Rove.
Like Ms. Lamott, I too am shocked “that men committed to equality and civil rights [are] still challenging the basic rights of women.”
If you think protecting reproductive rights is of minimal importance right now, take a look at headlines. There’s some good and progressive news, and then there’s bad and scary news. A few things to note: a certain GOP frontrunner (a “moderate” one at that) will surely appoint Supreme Court Justices committed to overturning Roe v. Wade if elected. And, ALL of the Republican candidates are united in ending government support of Planned Parenthood, which provides healthcare to millions of low-income women.
In positive news: this past Friday, the Obama Administration approved new rules that would guarantee almost-universal coverage of contraceptives, even from religiously affiliated employers.
Some say that there are far too many abortions being performed for a compassionate and nurturing society. I say compassionate and nurturing societies put trust and power in the hands of its citizens, including those living on the peripheral. We have to realize that compassion and nurture must be extended toward women; live, already-born women in this country. Women must be given liberty and the trust of our society. Women must be allowed sovereignty over their own precious bodies, and not assaulted with the beliefs of the wealthy, white, married men in Washington.
If you’re “pro-life,” consider directing some of your enthusiasm toward many other issues of life and death: Afghanistan, for example, and capital punishment, poverty, healthcare, education.
But trust women. Namaste.