I could be the poster child for the pro-life movement on how they expect every single individual to live their life, when you just take a look at my life from the outside. I was lucky enough to find the person I wanted to spend my life with at 18, we got married at 20 and 21 respectively, and we will be celebrating our 8-year wedding anniversary this upcoming December. We waited a couple of years to decide we wanted to have a baby, all the while I was on birth control. Once we decided we were ready I stopped my birth control and we welcomed our son into the world about 13 months after we decided to start trying. We have decided to have no more children and I am currently on a long-term birth control that lasts for 5 years. Perfect life, right? This doesn’t seem so hard to do, wrong. Let me explain a little more as to how I was able to live this life and make these decisions for myself.
From the young age of at least 7 or 8, I knew about sex, birth control, condoms, where babies came from, and what abortions were. My mom was extremely open and honest with me about sex. So open and honest in fact that my staunchly Catholic babysitter, who I still love very much and am still friends with as well as her children, was extremely upset that I was talking about the options you have when you get pregnant with fellow children, her son being one of them, and happened to mention abortion, that her and I had a “chat” about it. I honestly cannot tell you what that chat entailed, but I remember feeling ashamed. I went home and talked to my mom about it and she was upset, rightly so, and told me I didn’t do anything wrong but maybe let’s keep those discussions between us. At 7, she was right I probably shouldn’t be discussing reproductive health choices with fellow 7-year old’s whose parents probably hadn’t told them where babies come from yet, but none the less, I learned a good deal that day that I still carry with me today.
In high school a friend of mine became pregnant and was torn with what decision to make. Her mom was pushing abortion, she wasn’t sure what she wanted, and many of her “close” friends told her they wouldn’t support her if she had an abortion and went so far as to call her a baby killer. I remember looking her in the eye and telling her that this decision was hers, and hers alone, and whatever she decided to do I would be there for her. She did have the abortion and has gone on in her life to get married and have other children. We are still close friends and I know part of the reason is because I stood by her and refused to place judgment on a girl in one of the most heart wrenching decisions in her life
I had a serious boyfriend in high school who I was having sex with but thanks to my mother I knew I needed to get protection because condoms potentially weren’t enough. So, I made myself an appointment with my OB and I got birth control. When I got married, I knew I wouldn’t want kids right away but also knew I would go a short stint where my health insurance coverage was going to lapse, so I talked to my OB about long term birth control and found the one right for me.
I tell this story about myself not to preach at people that this is how you should live your life, but to explain to the pro-life movement that my story isn’t the norm. I grew up with privilege, I am a white woman who had the means at my fingertips to make my own decisions about my reproductive health, I have had health insurance my entire life, and I had a mom who talked openly with me about sex and my reproductive choices.
I am privileged, but so many in this country and around the world are not. We cannot allow these pro-life politicians to sit idly by and pass legislation that is dictated mainly by their religious beliefs and their extremely narrow views on life. We know from research here in the US and all over the world that many don’t know about periods, how you could get pregnant, or how to access birth control. Our society has made talking about sex taboo and not appropriate to do in school or really at all, but again, with research, we know that that is totally untrue. The more we educate our youth and beyond the more you will see the drop in the abortion rate. Readily available birth control and other contraceptives will also help drop the abortion rate.
However, that does not mean abortion should be inaccessible, quite the opposite, it should not only be accessible but safe and a choice made between a pregnant person and their physician ONLY.
My journey to becoming a pro-choice advocate was paved by my mother who instilled in me the choices that I had when it came to my body. When you become pregnant it does not stop being YOUR body, you may be sharing YOUR body for a short time if you choose to do so, but if you choose not to, that is YOUR right.
I will continue to fight for everyone’s access to safe and legal abortion in Ohio until the laws that continue to infringe on our bodily autonomy are no more.