Tuesday, June 10, 2008
It has been reported that the Women’s Caucus, at the Libertarian Party Convention in Denver was the site of a little contention over the Abortion Plank of the Platform.
The caucus was comprised of both Reformers and Radicals, and featured both sides of the controversy.
The Radical side, represented by a woman of the 60s (1960s, that is), when they fought the big fight over abortion, vehemently objected to the watered-down language of the Reform plank. She argued that forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term is slavery.
The Reformer side, represented by a woman of the 80s (probably late 80s), also noticeably pregnant (about to pop, I hear), was equally vociferous in her objection to the pro-Choice plank of the old Platform. Adamant that it’s murder.
It’s a decades old argument, and we’ll never all agree. Pro-life, pro-choice, more appropriately called anti-abortion and pro-choice. Because the anti-abortionist faction will not allow that any woman should have complete control over her own body. Pro-choice people reserve that right. For a woman to choose her fate, her destiny. Pro-choice types allow each of us to decide for ourselves. Recognize that in some cases, a damaged or unwanted fetus could potentially ruin our lives. Damage our mental health, or a career that will not recover from taking time off to have a baby.
Women have had little political power, and in many countries have no power. In some Middle Eastern countries, women still wear burka. Many more are robed and veiled. Few women have financial control to the extent that men do. Married women have husbands that earn the bulk of the household income, pay the bills, and make major decisions. Almost all women earn less than men do in comparable jobs.
Even in the US, where by law, women are equal to men; women have little overt, public political power. Women are outnumbered three to one in Congress, and that's with a record high number of women in Congress now. The 2008 election cycle is the first in which a woman has ever even come close to the White House. Here is a good place to point out that Tonie Nathan, the Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate in 1972 was the first to ever receive an Electoral vote. In fact, women all over the world are subject to, submissive to, sometimes downright slaves, to men.
Why? As I see it, it’s a combination of things.
Men keep women subject to men’s ideas of what women should be. The stereotype “barefoot and pregnant” is one example. By not allowing women choice in their own reproductive health, in every aspect – from birth control all the way to abortion – men retain power over women. Any time that women get too uppity, another child can solve the problem. Women need to bear the children, take care of the children after they’re born, keep house to make a nice home for the husband and the children. Feed the children, bathe them and wash their clothes.
Women buy in. From the young starry-eyed woman who feel the urge to nest, to reproduce; to the beaten down, weary, alcoholic who spends many Saturday nights in Emergency Room, women buy into the idea that they need a man. A man to take care of them, buy them things, mow the lawn, take out the trash, and keep the car running. They sail through high school and college without learning any valuable job skills; planning to marry and be mommy. Then in the fog of love, lust, and desire to fulfill that destiny, they make poor choices in men. Then when things go south, the hang in there, either because they feel they have no choice, or in order to preserve the nuclear family for the sake of their children.
Culture indoctrinates both women and men – perpetuating these myths and customs. Women who choose not to reproduce face all kinds of discrimination, from the doctor who refuses to perform sterilization procedures on women who know from a young age that have no desire to reproduce, to their families nagging them with the perpetual question, “So, when are you and hubby going to have one?” Women who don’t want to marry and have children are assumed to be sterile, frigid or lesbian.
In order to change our lot in life, women have to choose to take our own lives into our own hands. We must get an education that will enable us to support ourselves. We must take control of our own reproductive health. We must stand up for our sisters and ourselves when necessary, to achieve and protect this control of our natural rights.
Have you claimed your own sovereignty? Have you taught your daughter, nieces, and cousins that they have sovereign rights? Have you taught them that women can do any job that men can do, that they can do it well, and be successful?
It may surprise you to know that I am pro-life. I would not have an abortion, nor would I encourage anyone else to abort a healthy fetus. And that I am pro-choice. That I love men. I like them, too. I enjoy their company, I enjoy talking with them, playing with them, yes, flirting with them. I made my choices from a place of independence, no pregnancies, sterilization at a relatively early age, married later. And I am happily married; to a man that is also a feminist. Who encourages me to be all that I can be. That I chose because I wanted him, not the protection of a man, or of marriage.
And I am happy, both with the choices and mistakes that I have made, and with my life. I made my choices for me.
I am woman, hear me roar!