Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Roe your boat

Today is the 35th anniversary of one of the most notable Supreme Court decisions in U.S. history. (Read the decision here.)

That being said, today is also one of the audition episodes of American Idol.

And the sad part of that (as I sit here and watch my DVRed episode of Idol) is that more people are probably concerned with the outcome of this fight on my TV screen than the one still going on over reproductive rights. Let's be honest, it's more interesting, it's more glamorous and who doesn't want to hear Simon Cowell say "on with it"?

But here's the thing, for people born after Roe, it's a different ball game. Things aren't as black and white as the rejects on my screen. They're much more gray and muddled and yet so much more important at the same time.

The fact of the matter is this: we have to learn to make reproductive rights important to young people. I think that there are attempts to do so, but when the anti-choice camps are being so successfully submerssive from a young age, we have to learn from that--not just shun it. And we have to learn to pick the battles that are worth fighting.

Is the right to have a safe abortion important? Yes.

But more important things loom overhead, namely:
1. The need to get rid of abstinence only sexual education.
2. The need to focus on prevention--birth control, condoms, etc.
3. Having more about abortion and birth control (including emergency contraceptive) in the mainstream media. If kids aren't going to learn from school or their parents, the media has to be used to get to them. This includes, especially, a focus on how an abortion can be a good thing--and not just a scary, unattractive alternative.

It's not just about the right to have an abortion, it's about the right to live in a country where sexuality isn't a disgusting thing and where the results of sexuality are discussed openly.
No matter how many times I say it, it never becomes less true: Being pro-choice isn't about being pro-abortion, it's about being open to letting people make their own health choices. And no one is going to make any choices if they don't feel like any are available to them.

So on the anniversary of this historic moment in reproductive health, while we don't look back we need to open our minds to what this means: we still have a long way to go and we won't be done until the decision to start and continue birth control, the decision to use emergency contraceptive, the decision to use a condom, the decision to have an abortion is a decision that is seen as a positive decision, not as a secondary choice to doing the "right" thing.

We must change our dialogue...
...before we loose the right to speak at all.

I'm pro-choice, and I blog.



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