Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wendy Davis, Abortion, Teens, and Literature

A lot of important things have happened this past week politically (both good and bad). One of the good things was the Wendy Davis filibuster, which effectively skyrocketed the Texas state senator to superhero status in the eyes of the pro-choice camp.

While the latter has mostly drawn attention to Ms. Davis' gumption, it has also put the spotlight on several other important and scary points. One being, of course, the recent underhandedness of the GOP to pass legislation that is against most people's interest (I say this piece impacts most because as far as I know, we women are still 51% of the population).

The other issue is of course, the one at the center of the debate - abortion and a woman's right to choose.

I am, and always have been pro-choice. Even after I became pregnant and I thought hard about how I would feel if my situation was different, I still came to the same conclusion; women should be able to choose. I came to this conclusion because I know that regardless of how we legislate this issue, there will always be women who want an abortion. If we make abortion illegal, there will always be women who will go to shady doctors, use coat hangers, drugs, or ask their boyfriends to beat them so they will miscarry or abort.

I also know, there are medical situations (both physical and psychological) that may require abortive intervention. I don't want any legislation in place that would criminalize such acts.

I don't want a man dictating what I can and can't do. My pregnancy has taught me, in a very tangible and real way, there are certain areas of human experience that are withheld from men. It only seems right that those who experience them get to make decisions about these things.

 There are so many other issues that surround the abortion debate - like foster care (Those unwanted babies go somewhere...), death row (If we're pro-life, shouldn't we be pro-life all the way?), war (same as the death row issue), quality of life (What happens to mom after the baby is born? Pro-birth isn't the same as pro-life!), and of course the philosophical question of when life begins (which as far as I know, no one can agree on).

These are complex issues that need to be considered. I think it's even more important that teens talk about these things because they are at the age where the lines are gray. Do parents get involved? Will they have access to contraception? That's why I wrote JEREMIAH. I wanted to give teens a way to talk about reproductive rights and to think about situations that could occur if they choose to be sexually active (which, let's face it, most of them will!). In a place and time when sex education isn't a guarantee and legislation is regularly proposed that restricts access to reproductive health care, something has to step up to the plate and get people talking. People like Wendy Davis help, but so does literature.

Are there any books that have forced you to think about difficult issues? Sparked new perspectives? Encouraged you to consider something different? Please let me know with a comment!

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