Sunday, April 15, 2012

What is a Pro-Choice Woman?

It does not matter what political party you belong to, what your age is, or what your other demographics are. The past year has been a surreal experience for any US citizen with two x chromosomes in their body. When pundits go all over about democratic strategist Rosen's remark regarding Mitt’s wife Ann Romney, "has never worked a day in her life” rather than considering that an attack on every woman who had a child. To understand the real life issues, it may be better for candidates to realize more than the fact that all mothers are working extremely hard jobs in and of themselves. That is a given and nobody in any party is debating that—not even mothers with the uncommon luxury of enough income in a one income household. It may be better to distinguish between a mother whose husband was laid off of a middle management job (and is now working 3 minimum wage jobs at 70 hours a week) and who is babysitting her friends’ kids and her nieces during the day while both her friend and sister work hourly jobs during the day. That is hard work as well. Again this is not the key argument of either party, or of men or women in the workplace or at home. Instead, let’s distinguish between the argument that a mother who deals with the financial dilemma of whether to put a car elevator in one of her homes, and is still crying foul about being undermined as a mother. It is not about her mothering skills. It is not about her womanhood. It is about the confusion among the majority of Americans (male and female) about wealth and gender and the political issues of each of them.


The gap between the age of U.S. women suffragists in 1913, which was when my grandparents were both in diapers and through the passing of the 19th amendment in 1920; (which up until the mid-1980s  boys and girls actually knew about due to Schoolhouse Rock! Programming between shows on Saturdays) was only seven years. Women alive then remember both rather well and remember what it was like previously. When Roe vs. Wade happened, not to encourage women to get pregnant and then cease a pregnancy, but to maintain the right to privacy under the 14th Amendment’s due process clause. It even went on to balance that against the rights of States to regulate the process after a certain point of the first trimester. It is another occasion where the confusion among the majority about wealth and gender. There are more options with money including disappearing to an island and returning allegedly never having been pregnant, or (if their religious beliefs or personal ethics encouraged them) to have a child and give them up for adoption. This was doable without the ostracism of society and family and so the choices being made were a lot more informed and encouraged if there was a secure family or network. Let me also clarify what my understanding of pro-choice generally means to those who try to elevate it to political dogma. To me It means that whatever I believe regarding terminating a pregnancy versus having a child, (to simplify it for readers, from adolescence to not, I always would have gone to term despite medical concerns and other issues); but I do not believe it is my place on any level to tell another person the choice they should make about their bodies or their lives.


The argument that came up repeatedly since Roe vs. Wade is very simple. The right of a person who is still in fetal level of development is a concern to society as a person, a future citizen and a future taxpayer is valid. However, the argument gets a bit blurred when the person is born. The collective message that American society seems determined to maintain is 1) to discourage contraception, condoms and responsibility, while telling the women the instant they do give birth that they are now on their own; 2) In the same breath that government officials and clergy are determined to have full term pregnancies, that there should not be government programs to help single parents and that their mother’s choice of mate is their fate. There should be no encouragement of enforcing child support and if you can eliminate section 8 housing and daycare programs for single mothers, so much the better.  They should have thought it through before getting pregnant and once they were, if they don’t have the financial support from family or father, that’s again their fate and their fault. America should not have to take care of them or the baby. As a cousin of mine once indicated, she deserves credit for being born in the right womb and thereby disserves the multiple social, financial and other advantages that she has received as a result.


Many are on the same page as Foster Friess and his comment: In my day, women "used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives." While my mother later explained to me that in the early 20th Century (very early) that phrase was a metaphoric joke that my grandmother may have known; (and apparently, Friess was old enough to remember also).


Ultimately, the options for women in the current political environment are, abstain and let all of the gentleman whose Viagra is covered by Medicare and who should take care of the resulting symptoms within four hours somehow (possibly in a rubber doll or a prostitute that they are careful to not impregnate or get a sexually transmitted disease from while still not using a prophylactic to not commit a greater sin). This should be done in parallel with women keeping their knees together until it’s officially time for them to do their civic and religious duty and be the incubator for the future. Is it any wonder why men and women are all in turmoil about what the basic choices to any of us actually are?


What American women of every demographic really need to decide during this election is actually whether they should thoroughly research and consider what the implications are of each political alternative open to them before they vote and then making those choices by actually voting and not sitting it out to make a point. Both women and men are being told by pundits, politicians and media that they are ignorant and capable of be manipulated by strategists into making choices. Are American voters really incapable of rationally making conscious decisions? If they are incapable, after making those decisions are they are still entirely responsible for those choices once they are made? American women (and men) need to stop allowing their opinions to be manipulated and encouraged to vote impulsively based on the personalization of very specific motives of different political parties who both are catering to each party’s most extreme political viewpoints. No matter what women’s issues are brought forth in the upcoming months, the most undisputed American right is the right to chose who each of us individually wants to elect into office. If men and women both look not at the most recent advertisement slinging mud at each of the candidates, and take the time to learn about the different perspectives out there on multiple decisions that are going to coming soon for us as a nation, we will be more successful in doing what is best for all of us in November 2012.

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