In support of reproductive freedom

Those who choose to have an abortion deserve our trust and respect

As I realized that the small pro-choice rally I was planning on attending in Dieppe was quickly approaching, I decided to check in with myself: What does it mean to be pro-choice? Why am I willing to bear a sign that simultaneously proclaims my feminism and puts a target on my back? Will attending the event be worth the scrutiny from bystanders that I may have to experience?

The answer is yes and it will always be yes.

The possible judgement I may face on the day of the rally is just a microscopic portion of what those who have had abortions must deal with. Day after day, they endure ignorant comments, hateful views and even death threats, simply because at one point they were pregnant and did not want to be anymore. Undereducated dudebros view them as unruly. Conservative men in positions of power have deemed them a burden. Even other women have turned their backs on their friends in need.

I wish it was more widely accepted that people who have had abortions are people – people who are intelligent and determined and self-sufficient. If women were respected and trusted, the opinion that they are capable of making decisions that solely affect their own lives would not be viewed as radical. The idea that a woman should be forced to carry and give birth to a baby against her will, however, is a radical and violent stance that needs to be extinguished.

I am pro-choice because I’ve had enough of men in power governing women’s bodies. If a person does not have the reproductive organs needed to become pregnant, then it is not up to them to lament the ethics of pregnancy and choice (and even if they do, they still shouldn’t try to manage others’ bodies). In a society where those who are making laws to restrain certain bodies are primarily men, it is discriminatory to limit the freedom of those who are underrepresented.

I am pro-choice because a pregnancy should not be obligatory. Denying someone of their right to choose is a violent attempt to keep them in their place. There are endless reasons as to why someone may not want to carry a pregnancy to term, and all of them are valid and acceptable. I am pro-choice for the woman who was raped by someone she cared about; for the trans man who isn’t ready to have children; for the person who simply has better things to do. These reasons, however, should not matter. I want to live in a society that supports those who have abortions and works to dismantle the systems of oppression built to keep women in check.

I choose to stand with those who have had abortions today and always. You are more than welcome to join me.

Sophie Betts