There’s a nasty lawsuit going on in Texas. A sixteen-year-old girl is pregnant by her  sixteen-year-old boyfriend, a not-uncommon occurrence, sadly. She wants to have the baby. Her parents want her to abort.  With the help of lawyers from the Texas Center for Defense of Life, she’s obtained a TRO against her parents to prevent them from pressuring her to end the pregnancy.  Lots of nasty claims about her parents are being made, and they are not talking. The article  I am linking to makes the point that legally NO ONE can force a woman to have an abortion against her will.


I saw this on CNN, and they had on a spokesman for the anti-choice group defending the girl. He was kvelling the fact that pro-choice groups hadn’t commented on this  situation, and were steering clear of it and being silent. CNN didn’t interview any pro-choice groups on this, needless to say.

I have news for this anti-choice guy: pro-choice people aren’t taking because being pro-choice means you support a woman’s right to decide whether  (or not) to continue a pregnancy. Period. The End. We may think her decision is unwise., but we support her right to make it.

This is what the  Forced Birthers (I refuse to call them pro-life, when most of them are the same folks backing the death penalty and decrying the ACA, food stamps and welfare) don’t understand about pro-choicers: we respect the individual’s right to make a choice about her body and her pregnancy, even if we disagree with that choice. They, on the other hand, want to take away women’s choices, and only permit them to make the choice THEY consider right and moral.

I will give you an example. I cannot stand the Duggers.  I don’t watch their show. I avoid their website like the plague.  I consider their decision to have 19 kids damned near obscene in a world that is running out of resources—and I don’t care if their reason is religious r that they don’t take a dime from the government or anyone else

However, despite my strong negative feelings about this family and their lifestyle, I would defend to my last drop of blood Michele Dugger’s right to attempt to carry another pregnancy to term-=-even knowing that her last one ended in a miscarriage. It is her body.  It is her life. She and only she (one would hope after consulting the idiot she’s married to)has the right to decide what she will do with it. I don’t have to agree with her decision to support her right to  make it.

I would also defend her right to not use contraception and to teach that value to her children—though, again, I consider that decision irresponsible.  It is HER body,

Here’s the big difference between pro-choice and Forced Birthers: I am willing to grant to others the right to make choices I dislike, because I respect their right to control their own bodies.  Forced Birthers don’t think women have or should have that right. While someone like me would fight to make sure that this teenage girl has the right to carry her pregnancy to term, you won’t see the other side defending her right to terminate if her parents were against it (hell, even if the parents supported it, though that’s unlikely to make news). THEY, not we, are the ones who pushed for parental notification laws and get upset if those laws have to contain a judicial review—you know, for the girl whose father is the father of her  child or whose parent would beat the crap out of her if they knew she was pregnant.

I’d like to hear NARAL and other local groups stand up and speak out on this—to make it clear that WE, not the the Forced Birthers, are the ones who respect a woman’s right to choose what to do about an unwanted pregnancy, whether it be to continue that pregnancy or end it. THEY only defend the right to continue it, and will, if permitted, force her to do so against her will, judging by the many laws they tried to pass last year.

CNN, get off your collective lazy arse and find some pro-choice people to interview, instead of ceding this one to the Forced Birthers. Just because, by sheer accident, they’re on the right side of this case, doesn’t mean they’re right on the principle. One phone call to a local Planned Parenthood would have actually made this balanced but no,. that was apparently too much work.

And in case anyone’s wondering, I do not think this girl’s decision to keep her baby is a very wise one, Statistics show teen mothers are unlikely to marry the father of their child (and to end up divorced if they do) and very likely to live in poverty.  It’s not a choice I would encourage, but it is her right to make that choice, and I respect it. There is always the possibility that her parents will change their minds once the baby's born, and help her (ironically considering the TRO, the girl still lives at home) so that she stays in school and graduates and perhaps is able to do college at night or part-time while supporting her child. I wouldn't count on it, but it does happen.

Originally posted to irishwitch on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 03:24 PM PST.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism.

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