Public spotlight has focused intently on reproductive justice lately: in the campaigns of presidential hopefuls, in the media, and in the procedings of the U.S. legistlature. Debates have culminated this fall in a show-down on Capitol Hill as members of Congress attempt to de-fund Planned Parenthood. The House and Senate both voted to de-fund the organization, which amounts to cutting off Medicaid payouts to the non-profit that millions of low-income people depend on for healthcare.
But wait a second: why are lawmakers making such a stink over Planned Parenthood anyway?
1. We are a fully pro-choice organization, resolutely supportive of everyone's -- at every age -- right (even when they legally do not currently have that right) to choose to remain pregnant or terminate a pregnancy; to choose to parent, to choose to arrange an adoption, or to choose abortion.
Earlier this week, in the context of another conversation, one of our users at Scarleteen mentioned that her feelings on abortion had changed to a negative when she learned that her mother's pregnancy had been unplanned, and that her mother considered abortion. She said that upset her, because she really liked existing. She did say she was still pro-choice, but her sentiment bothered me all the same. Some of why it bothered me was political, and also about the work that I do and have done. But in thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that the ways it bothered me most were intensely personal.
The truth is, I envy her. A lot. I envy she was able to have a discussion in which her mother made clear she had the right to choose and she chose to remain pregnant and parent her.
We're glad this day has rolled around again, and always glad to have the opportunity to keeping talking about the essential human right of reproductive choice. Perhaps obviously, we're less glad that any of us still have to work so hard to support reproductive choice and justice, or to need to explain that it should simply be self-evident.
All of us who work at clinics that provide abortion, or as abortion or reproductive rights educators or advocates know we do so at substantial risk. Women who come to our clinics as clients also know that they, too, may be at risk. The slaying of Dr. Tiller yesterday is tragic and upsetting, but it is not surprising or new. We didn’t become scared for the first time yesterday. We’ve always been scared, and we have always had cause to be scared.
The murder of Dr. George Tiller at his church yesterday morning -- based on the information we have so far – was domestic terrorism, and terrorism which has been known and prevalent for some time.