Monday, May 20, 2019

Abortion Rights

I’ve come to believe it’s too far downstream to locate the issue of unwanted pregnancy inside a woman’s body, in the fact of “pregnancy” rather than the idea that it’s “unwanted.”

My young life taught me I’d be lucky to find someone who found my body pleasing, and that this was a prerequisite for love. I had no tools to negotiate safe sex, nor the support necessary to take on a society—or at least a social rung of a society—that promised to punish me forever if I dared become openly pregnant, let alone a teenaged mother.

In my thirties, I worked as an abortion counselor. I had an abortion myself when I was seventeen. I can tell you, I'm far from the only woman who’s risked unwanted pregnancy in order to please a man (though at the time, I so thoroughly located my happiness inside his that I was unable to consider any conflicting desires or concerns of my own.) I’m far from the only woman who believed she wanted an abortion, but in reality, had no resources to choose otherwise, and then was left to grieve in secret. And I certainly wasn’t the only young person who navigated my introduction to sexuality without a partner or parents or community that engaged with me in thinking about what I wanted—not just what was expected of me, but what I wanted—when it came to sex and pregnancy in the first place.

The inside of women’s bodies are like gardens. If you throw seeds in there at the right time, they will grow. This is a beautiful thing that deserves the utmost respect. The keys to the garden gate belong to the woman. No one should force their way in. No one should coerce their way in. No one should brainwash her into believing that, in order to be loved, her gate must be open. All of these things happen all the time. Let’s redirect the conversation.

PS this painting is available as a note card at


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