It has been an eerily quiet day, today. The quietest I can ever recall on the day of a presidential election. Strange. So many articles will be written in the next few days about the election results that I decided to write about one factor that helped me to choose my candidate; the right for me as a human being to control my own body.
So many people have strong feelings about this subject. Some are pro-choice, Anti-choice. Early term abortion, late term abortion, we have been fighting over the language and outcome o Roe vs. Wade for some years. Roe vs. Wade was a 1973 United States Supreme Court ruling that resulted in a landmark decision regarding the right to an abortion.
According to the Roe decision most laws against abortion in the United States violated a constitutional right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th amendment.
The central theme of the ruling was that a mother may abort her pregnancy for any reason up until the point at which the fetus becomes viable. Since this rule, the country has been split and fighting ever since.
There have been other cases along the way, that have shifted the ruling and changed things, but all of them with still the underlying disagreement about the definitions and viability of terminating a pregnancy.
Everyone has their own opinion and their own beliefs. Yours may come from your upbringing or a religious sensibility or a pragmatic approach to life. You may even base your opinion on ALL aspects of the issue, which are anything but simple. Others have a different opinion than yours. It doesn't make yours right or wrong, it just is.
Senator Obama synthesized the issue in his comments during the final presidential debate. He said, "No one is for abortion, period." He is right. No matter where you are on this issue, how this has affected your life personally, no one ever gets an abortion and says, Geez, "Am I GLAD I did that."
The decision to abort a potential child for any reason is very complex, very personal, and very private. The idea that this issue continues to be a part of the mainstream debate is absurd. People are vehement on their beliefs on this issue but there are so many aspects of this decision that are never discussed. I am tired of the issues being portrayed as black or white or pro-choice/pro-life. It just isn't that simple.
There are many complex issues surrounding a person's decision on whether to have a child or not.
• Was this child the result of sexual abuse or rape?
• Was this a wanted or planned pregnancy?
• Do I have the capacity to nurture and care for a child?
• Can I afford to raise a child?
• Will a singe parent raise the child?
• Will it be two adults in a healthy relationship?
• If this a child having a child? If so, will she have the support of the father of the child? Her parents?
• How will being a parent affect her path in life? How will it affect the father?
Under our constitution, each human being in this country has the right to live his or her life as they choose. It is a fundamental right defined by our founding fathers and the land in which we all reside.
Therefore the idea of choosing to have a child or not, is an individual right. I know there are many of you who are going to disagree with me, but just follow along. Has there been any other "undeniable right" that has been more argued about, more threats made, more people killed over than the abortion issue?
• How would you feel if the government told you how many kids you could have, or whether you could have kids?
• What if the government mandated how you raised your kids and what names you called them?
• What if you had a sick child that was put on life support and the government mandated when you had to pull the plug?
Any of these scenarios are hard to believe in the United States, yet this is what we do with women's bodies. How dare we?
We focus so much on this issue that we lose sight of problems that we can affect.
How many children get beaten, raped and killed in the United States? How many by a relative or family member? Don't they have a right to long, healthy and productive lives?
Why bring an unwanted child into the world, when there are so many children unattended. What about the children in the US that are not adopted? How many are left in this country without a home? These kids are unattended and grow up in foster care facilities. There needs are not adequately met-how can we help these kids grow up and become a healthy, active part of our communities?
How the issue of abortion continues to be a part of our legislative agenda is absurd and almost incomprehensible. There will never be a single day in this country that the whole population will agree on this issue. So let's change the conversation. Instead, how do we stop unwanted pregnancies?
I propose a new amendment to the constitution that forces all men to be on contraception. The answer is to regulate sperm. Think about it.
• A raped child will have time to deal with the trauma and not be forced into addressing a pregnancy issue as well.
• Since we can't seem to figure out how to deal with rapists and pedophiles in this country lets make convicted felons be forced into sterilization.
• For men who prey on underage girls, they go to prison if they don't use birth control AND for having sex with a minor.
• We need to create programs that provide services and support for women who choose to birth a child; one that allows them to keep their current job without penalties.
The story behind insurance companies refusing to pay for women's birth control product until that little "blue pill", VIAGRA, is now reduced to folklore. Nonetheless, it says much about the double standards in our society.
Congress pushed through insurance reimbursement for VIAGRA in record time; the only way that an argument was created by legislators to fight for insurance companies to pay for birth control.
Back in 1998, there was so much demand for Viagra, that other countries like Japan, where the drug was not available actually had purchasing trips to the United States. Imagine all these aging congressmen who RUSHED to get this approved, so that they could continue propagating the earth. Isn't' is about time that men start bearing the burden of their urges?
Even today many insurance carriers refuse to pay for contraception yet they pay for Viagra. Should a druggist who refuses to fill a birth control prescription be allowed to fill a Viagra prescription?
In the end, a baby would not be possible without the interaction of the sperm and the egg. For those of you who need a lecture in how to make a baby, this takes BOTH a woman AND a man. It takes at least a few inches to get it done, and it is time to start getting men to BEAR the repercussions of their actions.
I can see it now. Men out on the streets, starting to fight against this total privacy invasion. Perhaps it would be the first step in understanding how many women feel about this issue. Perhaps men might even start to fight insurance companies to pay for birth control prescriptions.
See, already something good will come of this legislation.
Follow Michealene Cristini Risley on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@mcrisley,@tape