It’s occurred to me recently, with all the talk about pro-choice issues and “anti-choice” laws being enacted, that we’re kind of missing the boat. Or, well, part of the boat. Women are so focused on their right to choose that they’ll do anything to stand up for abortion — the right to have one if they want to.
But at some point during pregnancy, that fire seems to die down in many, and we seem to lose our rights. We’ve fought to have the right to have an abortion because it’s “my body, my rights,” yet…we don’t seem to be saying the same thing about birth.
How is it that we can have the right to choose abortion, but not the right to choose where to give birth?
That makes no sense to me at all. (Now…I’m not a fan of abortion. I’m a Christian and I don’t believe in it. But politically, well…that’s another post entirely. To put it briefly, if we give the fetus rights over the mother, at any point in the pregnancy, we are opening up women to lose their rights at all points, including in the delivery room.)
How can it be that we fight for the right to choose whether or not to keep a baby in our bodies early in the pregnancy…yet we don’t fight for our rights later? How can it be that any political official would support the right to choose abortion, yet not support a woman’s right to choose how she gives birth?
But it happens all the time.
People (mistakenly) say “Anything but a managed hospital birth is more dangerous and should not be allowed. We have moved forward in time for a reason.” But first, that’s not true for the majority of women, and second, why do we stand for it?!
We have the right to become informed about different birthing options. There are hospital births (including natural/drug free, epi/vaginally, induced, c-sections), birthing center births, and home births. There are different types of providers — OBs, CNMs, CPMs, even some family practice doctors — who can attend these births. And when it comes to the room itself, we have IVs or not, eating or not, walking around or not…and so on.
This is your first parenting decision.
These are our bodies, and our babies, and we should have the right to choose. Not only to choose early in the pregnancy, but throughout! We should have the right to choose what tests we receive, what prenatal care we receive and from whom, and where we have our babies. And once those babies are born, what procedures they are subject to.
People don’t seem to think so. They seem to think, in the name of “public health” or other such nonsense (which just does not apply to birth!), we should be forced to follow a standard procedure. We’re too dumb to sort through research and options and choose what works best for our families and our babies. We just don’t have the right to make that decision.
I say, that’s ridiculous.
So, while we’re busy fighting for the right to choose, let’s fight for the right to choose all the way through. Our rights don’t stop at the end of the first trimester, or when our babies become viable. We, as the mothers, always retain our rights.
What do you think about women’s reproductive rights? Should we have the right to choose where and how to birth?
Top image by CarbonNYC