Sunday, June 3, 2012

Freedom means War?

by Jaqlyn Reedy

Around this time 2 years ago, I became pro-choice. I’m not going to bore you with my story, but I will let you know, in those 2 short years, I have had more discussions and arguments with random people, people I love, and people I know well than I had in the 20 years of my life before then.

Being actively pro-choice is a lot harder than being passively anti-choice. When I was “pro-life,” I went to exactly two Marches for Life on Washington, DC and one Rally for Life at a Catholic University in New Jersey. I may have prayed for a few souls. I stopped talking to one of my best friends for almost a year after I found out that she had an abortion. That was about as extreme as I got.

For the past two years of my “pro-choice” existence, I have fought, weekly, almost daily, for people with uteri. I constantly post pro-choice links and information on my various online hangouts: Facebook and Tumblr, even Twitter and Pintrest. I have interned with Planned Parenthood, clinic escorted for a small clinic in Los Angeles, and gotten into fierce online discussions that sometimes pitted three people against me, all while standing my ground. I have been told, as soon as I walked into a family party, “No politics.”

I have been fighting almost non-stop for two years, and I am going to tell you the truth: I am tired. I am tired of constantly having to support my position, to cite my sources, to argue my case, and to have complete knowledge about every little fact. I am tired of having to repeat the stories of people who have found themselves pregnant and without hope. I am tired of having to explain that my compassion is what leads me to do this work, and that no, I’m not for killing babies. I am tired of being attacked.

Maybe it is just me, but in the past four years, from both sides of the issue, I have seen people become more rabid about their stance. Mostly, though, I have seen it start on the anti-choice side. I have watched as they have spread misinformation and lies, trying to twist Congressional legislation to their “side.” I have watched as pro-choice people have had to push back, as we fear our lives and livelihoods are being threatened.

There would be no rhetoric about the “War on Women” if there was not actually a war on women currently going on. There is a Christian jihad going on against women. It is not for “babies” or families. It is not for anything, really. Time has shown that it is against women. This language may be strong, but it is true.

I could try to get you angry. I could attempt to make you hate the other side. I could make it so that we play into their fears… I could lay out the facts for you. I could recite court cases, the number of new bills that have been introduced since a certain party has taken power in certain places, I could show you statistics about women, birth, children, and abortion. I could do all of this, but I’m not going to. I just want to lay out some questions and thoughts.

If this was only a war on abortion, why are people so up-in-arms about contraception? If the Supreme Court already granted the right to an abortion, under a right to privacy, why are people challenging it, and winning? Why isn’t the mainstream media covering the clinic attacks that have happened in the past two weeks? Why are we still letting people who want to take away our rights dictate the rhetoric around abortion?

This is not only about abortion. This is not only about birth control. This is not only about women. This is about the health care of the people within our country, and the future of our country.

The first and best thing we could do right now is take back the rhetoric. Talk, shout, scream if you have to. Let people know your views. Get into arguments on your social media of choice. Allow yourself to explore the issues. Learn how to cite your facts or how to read a scientific report accurately. Volunteer; it doesn’t have to be as a clinic escort if you fear for your safety, but you could also volunteer for your local women’s right group. Just do something.

We currently have Freedom; work so we can remain Free.

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