This past Friday, I began my day anxiously anticipating the visit to Choices, a women’s health clinic that also offers abortion services in New York City. After reviewing the Choices website and reading up on the type of services the clinic offers, it made me happy to hear that someone out there was providing women the freedom to choose.
However, the excitement I felt about visiting Choices began to subside as I considered the words I had read two nights prior in Loretta Ross’s chapter “Color of Violence” from her book White Supremacy and Reproductive Justice. I began to consider how in the past, the freedom to choose was not always available to white women nor women of color. While white women were discouraged from having abortions, women of color were subjected to forced contraception and sterilization all in the name of white supremacy.
The awful history that hides behind the shadows of the plight for reproductive justice still lingers to this day. All women are caught in a constant battle against short sighted politicians who don’t seem to take their humanity into account.These politicians deprive them of reproductive education and then expect them to “know better” when they face an unexpected pregnancy. But not surprisingly, those who catch themselves at a double bind tend to be women of color and women in poverty. Because they can’t travel long distances to an abortion clinic or even afford an abortion in the first place, they are more likely to subject themselves to dangerous methods that put their lives at risk.
As we continue to fight the battle for reproductive justice, we must consider the negative effects the lack of choice produces. Being pro-choice does not mean murder, it does not mean carelessness, and it does not mean immorality. To me, being pro-choice means providing women reproductive education and allowing them to take ownership of their own bodies.