Friday, August 15, 2008

Whose Agenda is this Anyway?

When we talk about true reproductive justice what do we really mean?

Is the work I do my own personal drive and ambition? Or is this really about every single woman or teenage girl that needs choice? Someone said today that the work I'm doing is about my own agenda. I had to take a step back and say whoa....where was this coming from. And even though it was probably said out of anger and frustration it does make one think. If this was my own personal agenda then it wouldn't be about the women we served, the women in the leadership group or the visibility we are assisting in creating around this issue. It would really be about giving women funding and that is it.

However, this is not my agenda. This is everyone's agenda. Every human being should have the right to make their own reproductive health choices. Because I speak out on it and encourage this stance doesn't mean it's my agenda.

Bringing women to the table to build leadership and empower those that have been disempowered....hmmm? Maybe I'm not willing to sit around and keep all the power in choice to myself. Maybe it is my agenda!

12 comments:

Axinar said...

"Every human being should have the right to make their own reproductive health choices."

Men too I presume?

That is to say if I decide that I'm not ready for the responsibilities of children I should be allowed to absolve myself of the responsibility as well, correct?

Gaylon said...

So someone posted a comment to my last blog about every human being having the right to make their own reproductive health choices. The blogger....a man...asked if men had that choice as well. He wanted to know if he would be allowed to "absolve myself of the responsiblity as well".

Well, men do it everyday so that thinking is nothing new. There are plenty of women raising children on their own without the help of the child's father. Laws can't force a man be a father and laws can't force a woman to be a mother.

But I have a better idea. If you don't want children and you are not taking birth control then don't have sex. It is rather simple right? Wrong! Human beings want to and will have sex. That's our makeup.

So that blogger has a lot of thinking to do!

Axinar said...

"If you don't want children and you are not taking birth control then don't have sex."

I believe you will find that those of the "Pro-Life" stance have precisely that attitude, and directly squarely at women.

I have nothing against freedom of reproductive choice so long as it is gender neutral.

If a woman is allowed the option to terminate a pregnancy, then the man involved should have an equal right to do so, or, in lieu thereof, the right to be absolved of financial responsibility traditionally associated with it.

Emelda said...

Maybe, before it gets to the point of the female being pregnant, if you are engaged in a heterosexual relationship, you should talk about what choices you both think you would like to make if a pregnancy were to happen.

I have that conversation with almost everyone I sleep with. People being of the same mindset is sexy.

Also, there's always a vasectomy!

Axinar said...

"... if you are engaged in a heterosexual relationship, you should talk about what choices you both think you would like to make if a pregnancy were to happen."

Again, I believe you would find that your "Pro-Life" opponents would say precisely the same thing.

The fact of the matter is that birth control methods do fail.

Furthermore, I'm guessing that those affiliated with and supporting something along the lines of the "Chicago Abortion Fund" would make the argument that a woman should be entitled to an abortion EVEN IF she didn't use any birth control at all.

All I'm saying is that the same opportunties for economic liberty that are afforded women by safe and legal abortions should also be afforded to be MEN.

I mean, come on, a liberal Chicago-based non-profit organization wouldn't want to pick up a "SEXIST" label, would it?

Emelda said...

Woman do not have systematic power in our culture and therefore, by political definition, can not be sexist. Any -ism is defined by a group of people systematically kept in power (white, male perceived and bodied, able bodied, etc.) keeping down another group of people. Oppressed people can only be prejudiced against other groups, but really, I'm just talking semantics here.

I never said anything about birth control, you're the one who brought it up. I'm saying, regardless of your actions, you should talk to your partners about what would happen in a wide range of insistences. I use condoms and have had two breaks in the past month- because I know my cycle, I knew I was very unlikely to get pregnant and didn't use EC. And although my partner and I want kids- eventually- he told me that ultimately it's up to me if I were to become pregnant. I wouldn't be with someone who had any other opinion.

Communication is key here. I wouldn't "force" a man to be a father anymore than I would force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term. And what kind of relationships are we talking about here? Long-term ones? One night stands? Something in between? You should assume risk- like all of us do- when you have sex. If "what ifs" plague you, maybe you can't mentally handle non-long-term, non-monogamous relationships. But your actions are yours and yours alone.


I can say all this because I have equal power in my relationships. You have to understand, a lot of the women we work with don't. Combined, about 20% of our clients are survivors of rape, incest or domestic abuse. And that's just the percentage where those are the causes of why they are calling us. Many others have suffered those injustices before and after reaching out to us. On a whole, unfortunately, these are not women who have empowered relationships where they can even "make" a man be a father.

You keep accusing us of "pro life" logic. Bringing up the men in the argument is a very "pro life" thing to do anyway. Fatherhood is something the religious right is constantly trying to uphold as ideal, when maybe what's needed is to be empowering people and teaching them how to communicate, collaborate and plan for the future- THAT is what will create stronger couples, families, and communities.

Furthermore, when a man gets pregnant, I will support his right to choose, no matter what my personal opinion of the situation is. Just as I do women. I'm not here to judge, I'm here to help people with something they need help with.

Emelda said...

Woops, sorry, I did mention a type of birth control!

Axinar said...

"Women do not have systematic power in our culture and therefore, by political definition, can not be sexist."

I have NEVER believed that.

In fact, I once asked a very dear African-American friend of mine the following question - "Now, a White person that has a REAL problem with Blacks (or some other ethnic group) we call 'prejudiced' or 'racist' - what do you call someone who is Black who just really has a problem with Whites - like - existing?"

She didn't hesitate for a second - she said the word they use for that is "ignorant".

Similarly, Gaylon's original statement was, "Every human being should have the right to make their own reproductive health choices," which at this point you've proven to be patently inaccurate vis a vis the attitudes I have seen expressed in this thread by, apparently, representatives of the organization.

"Furthermore, when a man gets pregnant, I will support his right to choose."

Then I presume you disagree with Gaylon's original statement. It sounds like you would reserve the full right to make "reproductive health choices" to women only.

Emelda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emelda said...

What it comes down to is you can not legislate a relationship. We are against parental and spousal consent/notification because women always end up doing most or the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental child raising. No one else should have a say besides her. Some women make wrong decisions on various things to do with parenthood, but they are their decisions to make.

And we (and I mean you and I, not CAF and you) completely disagree with the basic premise of what we're arguing about- and disagree with the definition of the words we're using, so there's absolutely no reason to further this conversation. I see your side as completely privileged and refuse to discuss this further.

Axinar said...

"... women always end up doing most or the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental child raising."

Not ALWAYS ... not by a long shot.

My own mother was a HOPELESSLY irresponsible parent and my dad (to say nothing of my grandparents - BOTH of them) went to GREAT lengths to raise me.

"No one else should have a say besides her."

Horse hockey.

As they say ... it takes two to tango. Men have parental rights just the same as women do.

"Some women make wrong decisions on various things to do with parenthood, but they are their decisions to make."

But, well, discounting certain modern technology for the moment, they are not the woman's decision ALONE.

"I see your side as completely privileged and refuse to discuss this further."

Precisely what form of contraband are you ingesting that you could see ME as privileged????

Gaylon said...

Wow!
Interesting thread. Thanks Em and Axinar for the comments to my original post.

Pro-choice all the way!