"Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon." ~ Gloria Steinem

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Trust Women

I believe in a culture that supports the autonomy of women; specifically, I am now speaking of reproductive autonomy. This means giving women the ability to make their own choices in this area.

This means women should have access to affordable
  • birth control
  • reproductive healthcare
  • abortion
but also
  • prenatal care
  • breastfeeding support
  • infant formula
  • vaginal birth support
  • cesareans
  • hospital deliveries
  • birthing center deliveries
  • home deliveries
  • OB/GYNs
  • midwives
  • doulas
This list is by no means exhaustive; I just rattled off some things I've been thinking about recently.

The point is, my sister is a little uncomfortable, I think, with the fact that I support Planned Parenthood and access to abortion. She is not at all uncomfortable with the fact that I support her decision to carry her current pregnancy to term under the care of a midwife, and that I am appalled by how much difficulty she's having in getting her health insurance to cover everything--despite the fact that her birthing center is in her network and there shouldn't be any problems.

What she doesn't get is that those two situations are inextricably linked, and you can't support one without supporting the other. Take a look at this for a shining illustration of how women are treated in a culture that supposedly loves and supports childbirth and childrearing.

It's what happens in an anti-choice culture. As long as women are considered to be heinous, selfish, ignorant fools who don't know the first thing about their own bodies and the needs of their children, as long as women are considered incapable by society of making choices for their own welfare and for the welfare of their children, as long as women are inherently mistrusted, we will continue to deny them the means to live healthfully and happily in the context of their own family--whatever form that family may take, whatever avenue of birth that may mean, whatever infant feeding strategy that may take.

As long as we fail to trust women, we will continue to frighten and shame them into certain medical procedures, under the guise of doing what's best for their baby, and frighten and shame them out of other medical procedures, under the guise of righteous indignation. No woman should have to start, continue, or end a family based on anything resembling fear or shame. And if you disagree with me on that one, shame on you.

1 comment:

  1. I agree! I think much of the medical community in general is based on fear rather than on healing and supporting life. When I also speak to my friends and family about their pregnancies, it seems that they are so afraid of all the little problems that *could* happen---and the resulting costs---rather then celebrating the event. It all goes hand-in-hand.