I'm pro-choice. No ifs, ands, or buts here. I believe that if a woman doesn't want to carry a fetus, she should be able to get a safe, legal abortion; not only that, she should be able to get it within a reasonable distance (I guess in Alaska that's a lot further than in most places), without a 24 hour wait, without notifying her husband/partner or getting his permission. I trust women to make decisions for themselves.
(I'm not quite as certain about parental notification because I think we need to protect girls from coercive sex, and I'm not sure very many 10-15 year olds have non-coercive sex. But even in those circumstances, girls need to be protected from abusive family members. The primary focus in those cases should be on the girl's health and choice.)
I've been thinking a lot lately about what to post today, what to say that hasn't already been said about choice and women's rights, and civil rights in general. I'm sure other people will say things better than I would, anyway.
And I'm a bit ambivalent about the idea that blogging about something will change anything. Who reads a blog that doesn't have a set opinion about choice already?
On the other hand, I remember being a teen in the 70s, and people talking about abortion very differently. Yes, there were people opposed to choice, but the dialog seemed more open; even anti-choice people seemed to be thinking about the issue rather than rehashing the latest from some fundamentalist organization.
And that changed. At first the change was slow in coming, but I think it started in the 80s along with so many other social changes in the U.S.
I wonder how pro-choice people let anti-choice people take over so much of the rhetoric and poison so many people's thoughts?
I wonder how we can change the discourse again, not only about choice and abortion, but about other social issues?
As I look around the blogosphere, I notice that the Blog for Choice list shows a lot of academic blogs I'm familiar with, and lots and lots of general blogs. I'm disappointed that I've seen very little notice or response so far in the medical-blogging community. Those are the people who make the most direct decisions about access to birth control and abortion on individual levels, and most of them are either silent or at least vaguely anti-choice (and a few seem overtly anti-choice).
Or maybe they're afraid of what the anti-choice people will do to them? (After all, the fundamentalist nut-cases haven't been shooting random Shakespeare professors who support choice or talk about early modern recipes for "bringing on flowers.") On the other hand, I'm doubting that even pretty rabid anti-choice people will attack bloggers physically.
Or do they inhabit a blogosphere or blog-culture where one simply doesn't discuss choice or abortion? Is that also how they approach their practice?
And beyond the blogosphere:
Given my views on choice and such, I don't want to support businesses that are anti-choice. Nor do I want to have a physician who'd limit my access to contraception, emergency contraception, or abortion (at least information) based on ideas that have nothing to do with my health. So, how do we know what our pharmacies or physician's attitudes are up front?
Want to know about pharmacies' responses to pharmacist "refusals" of birth control? Look here.
On the subject of emergency contraception, did you know that:
“Every Woman, Every Visit,” the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ [ACOG] public education campaign, urges Ob/Gyns to provide advance prescriptions for emergency contraception at every office visit. (Source)And look here for a statement from the ACOG about the FDA's refusal to license Plan B for OTC use.
For the women here, does your physician do this? (Mine hasn't; I just learned about it while doing some other blog reading. Somehow, I'm thinking this "public education campaign" isn't very succesful if this is the first I've heard of it.)