Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Tomorrow, I’ll have something more concrete about what Roe means to me, but today there’s lots of great content roaming around the internet that I wanted to give you in the meantime.
First, I want to call out a friend’s blog, Dr. Coffee’s Brain Banter. Dr. Coffee is a med student in Florida, and as part of his program he participated in abortion training through a reproductive health externship. He writes extremely eloquently about about the medicine, but also about his patients and the process. Part one is mostly science, part two is mostly ethics. Just a sample:
Where these women are is often in a very bad place, and though I was only one cog in the machine, I began to take ownership of their plight. If they didn’t want to feel this way, and knew that ending this pregnancy was their path back to feeling healthy and free, I even felt some aggression toward that growing mass of cells. Let’s get that shit out, now, and without apology.
I mention this because despite the normal dark-cloud tone that hangs above most dirty Ab-word discussions, probably a third of the patients I’ve seen will actually smile… and smile a good amount! (Indeed another friend recently mentioned that her experience wasn’t much to write home about. Quick and easy.) They smiled as the team introduced itself, smiled as they laid back and vocalized their nervousness with a laugh, and were relaxed and calm in the recovery room.
When he first shared this writing, it reminded me an non-fiction essay called “What Comes Out” by Dawnelle Wilkie, which is also worth a read.
Have you read Caitlin Moran’s How to Be A Woman? She also has an excellent chapter on abortion that focuses on one of the most forgotten/ignored statistics: In 2008 60% of women who have abortions are already mothers. That number has actually risen to 72% in the last four years. You mean people have a harder time taking care of their families during a recession? Crazy talk! The reason I want to drive home this point about mothers is because it undermines that weird caricature that Republicans* like to point to, the “sex-crazed”, can’t-keep-her-legs-shut, slutty, irresponsible, 23-year-old. Sure, those 23-year-olds exist and I completely support their right to choose, but that’s not actually the average user of abortion services.
Abortion isn’t really about sex, it’s about economics, and childcare, and education, and healthcare. That’s not as salacious as some conservatives would like to make the story, but it is the truth.
*A commenter left an excellent point on this phrasing. There are plenty of pro-choice Republicans (and there are pro-life Democrats). This should have read, “that weird caricature that pro-lifers like to….” Thanks commenter, good call.
Related Post: Huffington Post and the changing iconography of the abortion debate
Related Post: Things that are not the opposite of misogyny.