This post is part of our "What Does Choice Mean to You?" series commemorating the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
My grandmother was Catholic and a life-long Republican.
During the Democratic National Convention in the summer of 2008, she asked me
what my opinion on abortion was. This was an incredibly awkward conversation
for me as I do not discuss politics with my exceptionally conservative family.
Much to my surprise, she was simply confused. She had heard stories about women
who honestly needed abortions. By the end of it, we had both decided the issue
was very complex, too complex to legislate.
Choice isn’t simply deciding on pregnancy. It’s about the
complex nature of life. Women and men follow a variety of paths in life. Even
those remarkably similar are starkly different. Most of us just want what is
best for ourselves and our families. We must have access to information and be
given the opportunity to consider it, weigh it, and make a decision that best
meets the needs of ourselves, our families, and (hopefully) our communities. We
must be able to discuss it openly and honestly with people, be they our
doctors, our families, or our friends. If our conversation is dismissed, our
lives are dismissed.
Our choices aren’t always the right ones, but if we are
unable to discuss them, we have less of a chance of making healthy decisions.
All too often, we are dissected, categorized, abused, ignored, labeled,
idolized, molded, belittled, negated – regardless of our sex – and if we veer
off the path decided for us, we are haunted, taunted, mortified, attacked,
demolished all in the name of faith, family, community, country, rightness,
justice. People are lost to ideology.
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Choice is the conscience decision-making process we
engage in to do what is best for ourselves, our homes, and our families. It is
having access to information. It is having access to our options. And it is
being able to carry out our decisions. Choices are sometimes easy, sometimes
difficult; sometimes our own, sometimes made for us; sometimes public,
sometimes private. But they are what make us human. And humans are too complex