My Pro-Choice Click

On a dark, winter day in January 2010, I got off the subway in Queens, New York.  I was alone, hopelessly lost, trying to find Choices Medical Center.  I saw a woman working in the station, gave her the address, and asked for directions.  She looked up at me and whispered, “Are you looking for Choices?”  That is where I was going, but I did not know whether or not to tell her.  Would she harass me because I was going to a clinic that performs abortions or would she simply give me the directions I needed?  I decided to answer truthfully, hoping for the best.  She gave me the directions without any problems, but once outside, I could not figure out where to turn.  None of the buildings were labeled and I was reluctant to ask another stranger.  Luckily, I found a friend who was also part of Feminist Winter Term, a weeklong workshop put on by Soapbox Inc. where young feminists meet in New York City to learn about feminist issues and activism.  When we finally found the clinic, we were greeted at the door by Sister Dorothy.  Each day, she stands outside the clinic and talks to each person that enters.  She gave us pamphlets and told us that we had other options, but overall she seemed harmless.  Later on that night, I opened up my folder to look over the material I had been given that day.  A piece of paper fell onto my lap; on it, were images of dead babies covered in blood and messages that hoped to turn women away from abortion.  I was horrified and disgusted.  I thought to myself, no woman should ever have to experience this type of harassment and judgement.  I guess you could call this my pro-choice click…

Before this, I had never been particularly interested in reproductive rights.  Growing up, I was always taught from the pro-life perspective.  It wasn’t until I went to college that I really started learning about reproductive rights.  I had long identified as a feminist, but had always focused on other issues.  I distinctly remember a conversation with a friend when she asked me what I thought about abortion.  I responded, without hesitation, that I was pro-life; my answer had obviously taken her by surprise.  When she asked me why I was pro-life, I did not really have an answer.  I knew nothing about legislation, activism, or real life experiences.  After that, I started learning new perspectives and challenging what I had previously known.  Now, when I’m asked the same question, I answer very differently.

– I am pro-choice because every one has the right to make the best decisions about their own health and well-being.

– Because no one should ever have to be lost, alone, and confused when trying to obtain medical care.

– Because no one should ever be harassed, stalked, threatened, or assaulted while obtaining and/or providing medical care.

– Because thousands of women around the world have died from unsafe, illegal abortions.  Because I want to live to see a day where all women have access to safe, legal abortion services, regardless of their socioeconomic status, geographic location, and age.

– Because every one deserves unbiased, medically accurate information about health and sexuality.

– Because the decision if and when to start a family should be a right, not a privilege.

– Because every one has the right to become a parent, if and when they choose.  For those that choose not to, they need to be able to access affordable birth control, emergency contraception, and abortion services.  For those that cannot have children naturally, they need to have access to in vetro fertilization services and quality adoption agencies.

– Because every woman has the right to a healthy pregnancy.  This includes prenatal care, information about pregnancy, and options about childbirth.

I could go on, but I’m more interested in what you have to say.  Are you pro-choice?  If so, please share why!

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