What makes a feminist?

What makes a feminist?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

On being liberal and childless

Sometimes I wonder if I would still be pro-life if I had never had an abortion.

And the truth is, I don't think I would be. I would continue to spout forth the same liberal party line, without giving any thought to the impact abortion truly has.

I didn't think I could call myself liberal and still be pro-life. The classic image of the pro-lifer is of a religiously conservative, slut-shaming, clinic-bombing nutcase. I didn't want to be associated with that.

So for myself, I've been redefining what it means to be liberal. And my own definition is this: I believe in the preservation of life, liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness for the born and unborn alike, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other such factor.

I support universal health care, gay marriage and adoption, and measures to preserve the environment. I oppose abortion, the death penalty, and unnecessary war.

Some of my pro-choice friends wrote about how they never realized how important it was to be pro-choice until they did have children of their own, and thus became more resolute pro-choice activists. Of course, being without children I keep being told that I'm not allowed to have a say in the issue, just as men aren't allowed to because they'll never get pregnant.

More accurately put: men and childless women aren't allowed to espouse the "wrong" view on abortion. Pro-choice men are welcomed into that inner sanctum.

My husband is a cancer survivor. Chemotherapy essentially rendered his sperm useless before I'd even met him, and he hadn't considered it important to put any on ice before beginning treatment. People who don't know that about him are always asking ME why we don't have children yet. Because it's always the woman's fault, dontcha know?

I talk about adoption, and it's always "but don't you want children of your OWN?" as if someone else's child is somehow defective or less worthy of love.

"Don't you want children who look like you?" I'm in an interracial marriage...even if we did have kids they'd look more like my hubby than me.

"What's WRONG with you? Are you so SELFISH about preserving your figure or something?" Figure? I'm plus-sized with hips that were designed for baby-bearing. Come on...it's not like I've got some cute, tiny, girlish figure. Bless my husband-he's more than happy to describe in explicit detail about what is wrong with his sperm and why he'll never impregnate anyone.

Still-it hurts. People can be incredibly thoughtless when they don't know the facts.

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