I made a rather large decision yesterday, and I didn’t even mean to.
The FM radio in my car has been mostly “out” for the last few weeks. So I’ve been limited to AM radio, an experience unto itself. My choices at the moment are: the true oldies channel, more spirited radio, and the Patriot. I’d already decided that The Patriot was not for me – I am not an older or middle-aged white male with strong conservative ideas, political or otherwise. That was sealed when I tuned in briefly to hear one of the hosts repeatedly refer to a US senator as “demented” and then proceed to make up a story about her that was beyond inappropriate. I’ve been listening to oldies when possible, but the station turns into a Toronto-based channel after 5pm (no joke). So last night as I was out driving between craft stores, I was listening to KKMS, which I’ve previously half-enjoyed.
Did you know it’s pro-life week? Yeah. (Coincidentally, yesterday was also Pro-Choice Blogger day. Not really a coincidence. It’s the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade on January 22nd.) And in the hour or so of radio I heard between commuting and searching for yarn, they were quite persuasive. (Stick with me here and let me further explain.)
I’ve been on the fence on this issue since… well, since I was conscious of being a woman. My relatively conservative Christian background wants me to be pro-life, and my feminist leanings want me to be pro-choice. Since I’ve never needed to really argue the issue or decide, I haven’t, other than the singular decision that I wouldn’t personally have an abortion (barring medical necessity). And I was really quite fine with being undecided. I’ve got plenty of opinions on other controversial subjects that if people want to argue with me, there’s lots of ways to go.
Last night, however, the multitude of voices on the subject pushed me over the edge. I’m officially pro-choice. Why? Because when it came down to it, it first and foremost needed to be my choice. I’m not going to be a good one to argue with on this because I fully understand both sides of the issue and will never be able to let go of the pro-life arguments. Life is life and I do believe that it begins at conception (just ask any parents who have miscarried). But… I still think choice wins out. This won’t win me any friends in some of the conservative circles I’m familiar with, but we don’t usually talk about stuff like that anyways. Or, really, we don’t talk much at all, so I don’t think it’ll be an issue.
One of the radio hosts was a self-admitted middle-aged father of 9 children and 3 foster kids. (My mind immediately went to the “excessive childbirth” argument from the early 1900s when birth control was not yet legal.) He basically told me that I was supposed to be having sex for procreation only, and that being on birth control for reasons other than medical or financial ones was “morally objectionable.” Because I enjoy sex and have no desire to give birth to a child right now, I am selfish and, ultimately, a bad Christian. He doesn’t care that I don’t want children right now or that it might not be the right time in my life. I’m selfish. Heck, maybe I am. But I think it’s very responsible to avoid having children when you don’t want them. And I’m pretty sure God isn’t going to strike me dead for 1) enjoying sex with my husband, the only man I’ve ever had sex with, and only within the confines of our marriage, 2) not bringing unwanted children into this world, and 3) not wanting to have kids right now. (And I think that not having sex with my husband because we didn’t want kids was also not allowed. Gotta have sex. Gotta have kids. No birth control. It’s not even a Catholic radio station! I didn’t realize how far some conservatives went on this!)
And that’s basically when I realized… there was no way this man had the right to decide for me whether or not I was having kids. His moral damnation of me because I wasn’t jumping on the motherhood bandwagon the moment I was married was beyond offensive. Far beyond that of the women doing the Bible study at ‘s baby shower who just assumed that every little girl dreamed of becoming a mommy.
Perhaps I’m just overly sensitive about it, but I am almost always fully aware that I may or may not be able to have children. It’s a self-preservation technique, really, not getting my hopes up for something that I’d be devastated about if it didn’t happen. Unlike some women with infertility problems, I don’t get sad when other people start talking about babies or long for my own. I sense this… melancholy towards the issue in regards to other women’s responses. I… get angry. Perhaps that’s not healthy, but I get offended when the world assumes that it is my dream to become a stay at home mom to billions of children that’s all I’ve ever really wanted and needed to feel truly fulfilled in life.
At any rate, I’m pretty sure that hopping off the fence on the pro-choice side was not exactly what the planners of Sanctity of Human Life week had planned, but that’s the results of the actions of a few individuals.
Lesson? Be careful what you say on the radio or when lots of people might be listening. You have no idea where they might be coming from, and your words may very well have the opposite effect than you wanted if you’re not thoughtful and considerate.
- On coffee and miscarriages (from Salon.com) [link removed]
- All of a sudden I get it (from “A Little Pregnant”) [link removed]
Feel free to respectfully disagree or otherwise comment, so long as you try to be as least offensive as possible. Does it need to be said that making the blog owner cry will get you banned from further commenting? I didn’t think so.