Why We're Pro-Choice
Why are we pro-choice? The short answer is that we do not feel that any person, group, community or culture can consider those who can become pregnant as equally human and whole, with as much right to everything that happens within their bodies as those who cannot become pregnant have over theirs, and NOT be pro-choice. We can't talk about sex that's healthy for everyone involved if more than one half of the population don't have as much ownership of their own bodies as the other.
Here's the longer answer.
Scarleteen as an organization supports the equality and reproductive rights of all people, which includes the right of each and every person to choose what is right for them when it comes to their own body and everything that is or may be inside of it. In action, our pro-choice policy means that we are supportive of young people who choose to be sexually active in any number of ways and we are supportive of young people who choose not to be. We are supportive of everyone's right to choose to only become pregnant and/or birth if and when they want to. We are supportive of young people who become pregnant and choose to terminate a pregnancy; we are supportive of young people who choose to sustain a pregnancy -- whether that pregnancy was intended or unintended -- with the aim of either adoption or parenting. Young people who want counsel here about pregnancy options will be informed of and supported in all their possible choices, including support after they make those choices. Young people who come here wanting referrals/resources for either abortion, adoption or parenting will be given the information they ask for to the best of our ability, free of judgment or bias. Our only limit in that is that we will not refer to any group or resource we know to be anti-choice or not credible or safe.
Because it is imperative to have choice to address most topics here, we will NOT entertain debates on why people should not have full autonomy of their own bodies, reproductive rights or procreative choice at our boards nor at other sections of the site, nor will we respond to emails which harass us regarding this stance.
In interactive areas of the boards, users are welcome to discuss their own reproductive choices and how they feel about them, as well as certain arenas of politics regarding choice. However, any posts or comments which attempt to assign a personal value to one particular reproductive choice for all people, or support the idea that women should not have full bodily autonomy and reproductive choice, may be edited or removed.
In everything we do here, we strongly advocate for the sovereign right of any one person to have full ownership of every aspect of their own body and every cell that lives within it. Without that right, sexual consent becomes meaningless. Sex as a choice or as something willingly shared becomes meaningless. Choosing to have and parent children becomes meaningless.
We support reproductive choice because it is a far greater issue than the right to choose not to remain pregnant or parent.
Reproductive rights include the right to sound gynecological and sexual health, the right to use contraceptives and safer sex tools, and the right to make choices about pregnancies which each individual decides is best for themselves -- in body and in mind -- and any and every potential child.
If men, too, as often as women do, did not always get a say in when they had sex, were not the group with the ONE highly effective, affordable and risk-free birth control method they could get anywhere, whose use was totally in their control, or were NOT the group who could not GET pregnant, how men might react if we suggested that even with all that, we still didn't think THEY should be able to choose for themselves if they became pregnant, and if so, what they did with their pregnancies? When we put the shoe on the other foot, it's pretty easy to see how anyone trying to dictate, or actually dictating, what happens to women with their own bodies and their own lives is denying women a very basic and intrinsic human right.
We support choice because we support mindful, responsible and compassionate parenting, and we support not simply life itself, but a quality of life for people of all ages around the globe. Being able to choose if one will be able to give a child a life of quality is important not just for women, but for children and all the rest of us.
We support choice for the same reasons we would not support slavery: we believe a person's body is their own, and the legislation which guides it should not hinder that person from full ownership of it. Without reproductive rights, a site like Scarleteen would be of no use, as its mission is dependent on people having the right to make sexual choices for themselves. We support choice because a critical part of our mission, and one of the most vital aspects of healthy sexuality, is personal and bodily autonomy. We support the full range of reproductive choices for our users because we feel that once any of our bodies are capable of doing something, we should be granted to have the right to choose how and if we do whatever that something is.
Unfortunately, reproductive rights are not a given.
Even right now, the reproductive rights of women -- the full ownership of our bodies -- isn't something we can just claim for ourselves. In nearly all countries, what reproductive rights we have are determined FOR us by a governmental body which is composed of a majority of policy-makers who aren't even women, and don't even know what it feels like, physically or emotionally, to be pregnant or to risk pregnancy. The laws those policymakers create and enact more often than not have no effect on them personally: they do not limit their rights in any way, and women's lack of full rights and bodily ownership may even create benefits for them.
For that reason and more, these rights must be safeguarded vigilantly, and it is easy to forget that if we have been raised in a culture in which it seemed a given.
To keep these rights, it is important that everyone act as best they can to maintain them. We highly encourage you to help do so, and our policies around choice at Scarleteen are one of the ways in which we do so. The organizations below are laudable and excellent places to find out how you can help protect reproductive rights, and why you direly need to.
- ACLU Reproductive Freedom
- Center for Reproductive Rights
- National Organization for Women
- Feminist Women's Health Center
- Pro-Choice Public Education Project
- Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
- Planned Parenthood International
- I'm Not Sorry
- Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights
There's one other great way you can help. Respect individual reproductive choices.
In other words, if you have been pregnant, know that whatever choices you have felt or know were best for you may not be the same for someone different than you, or in different circumstances. What the right choice is for any person in any situation depends on that person and that situation, very uniquely.
If you have never been pregnant or parented, you may even surprise yourself someday -- as many people do -- if you become pregnant by finding that what you thought was going to be the choice you'd make it's the one that seems right for you now. If you're someone who can never become pregnant and have never been pregnant, please consider stepping back from talking about reproductive choices you will never have to make and live with yourself. We all need to listen to what real people have to say about their real choices more than we listen to what other people have to say about the choices of others they will never make themselves, or in whose shoes they have not or will not ever find themselves.