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I am Pro-Choice.
I believe in, and fully support, a woman's right to fully control her own reproductive destiny.

I believe that any woman should be able to obtain, or to opt of her own free will not to, a safe and legal abortion in a professionally staffed medical facility. I also believe that she should also be able to do so completely absent of having to prove to anyone else's secondary satisfaction that she is serious and has come to a final decision.

My position is pretty straightforward: 'It's her body, it's her choice'.

I believe that no woman should ever have to endure the reprehensible indignity of being forced by self-appointed guardians of both her womb and her virtue to prove to their satisfaction that her decision is binding. She should no more have to endure any battery of medically unecessary but still mandated procedures and examinations to get an appointment at a professional facility than she should have to run a gauntlet of physical harassment, scorn, and abuse to sucessfully get inside of it.

But there is something else I have to say.

I fully support a woman's right to choose to have an abortion regardless of how many women may choose to have one. I want abortion to be safe and legal. Period.

I do not care one whit if abortions are rare or if they are not.

The reason is also straightforward: 'Because it is absolutely none of my fucking business'.

My only concern is that abortion remain legal, and that every single abortion-related procedure that is carried out is one that is performed safely.

If there is ever any significant reduction in the overrall rate of abortions that occur in the US, say, as the result of a comprehensive new progressive plan that increases the availability of inexpensive and effective birth control to those who have previously lacked easy access to it, or because access to informed and effective family planning facilities or programs is expanded to previously grossly underserved areas of the country, then, wonderful, so be it.

My stance on preserving and defending Choice is about preserving and defending Choice.

Even if the abortion rate declines, or stays the same, or even if there is a very significant and sustained increase in the number of overall abortions. I am Pro-Choice first. There is nothing about a false equating of reducing abortion rates with being as important ensuring safe and legal abortion access and accessibility itself that matters to me or even enters my thinking.  

I steadfastly refuse to allow somebody else's 'ick factor' about the unpleansantness of the medical procedure color either my activism or my philosophical position on defending Choice.

"Abortion rates are frequently higher in more liberal states, where access is often largely unrestricted, than in more conservative states, which are more likely to have parental consent laws, waiting periods, and so on. “Safe, legal and rare” is a nice slogan, but liberal policies don’t always seem to deliver the “rare” part."

The ‘Safe, Legal, Rare’ Illusion
By Ross Douthat
New York Times February 18, 2012
This is exactly why I refuse to allow maintaining safe and legal acess to an abortion to ever be about anything other than maintaining safe and legal acess to an abortion.

Reducing in the rates of abortion is not my issue, keeping women alive and safe is.

If you want abortion to be neither safe, nor legal, buy into the frame of "Safe, legal, and rare."

To an activist Movement Conservative, nothing in any part of American political life or policy that can be thought of by their movement as being a "liberal" policy or matter in place is ever truly a settled argument moved on from. Not collective bargaining. Not environmental law. Not child labor laws. Not voting rights. Not the minimum wage. Not Social Security. Not Medicare. Not Medicaid. Not workplace safety. Not Mirada rights. Not contraception.

And certainly Not Choice.  

But with Choice, we have the particularly pernicious self-trap of the "-and rare" Choice buy-in.

There be dragons hiding in the vast hills of that middling little third qualifer to 'safe and legal' in regards to preserving Choice.

If you are Pro-Choice, and you are horrified at the extent to which a woman's right to choose has been successfully rolled back and obstructed, you need to realize something and realize it now. The second you buy into the concept of the 'ick factor', the instant that you try to couch your support for choice in the language of regressives who want those rights taken away and triangulators who simply do not care about your issue, you are voluntarily choosing to fight the fiercesome assault on women's reproductive rights with your hands tied.
Every time you hear a woman or a man say "I want abortion to be safe, legal, and rare" instead of "I want abortion to be safe and legal" period, you are hearing a good person who is making a serious tactical mistake that is helping to hurt millions of women.

A woman has a right to choose, and a woman who excersizes that right to choose should be able to obtain a safe and legal abortion at a clean and professionally staffed facility free of harassment and abuse. It's not my job to try and talk you out of having a safe and legal abortion, or worry about your having one. Just like it's not the state's job to make a woman seeking an abortion's journey as difficult as possible so she quits in despair and has an unwanted child. a child that the Right will, naturally, refuse to give a tinker's damn about. Pro-Life until Birth being their unspoken moto.

If you don't want to have an abortion, then fine, you don't have to have an abortion.

But zealots feeling free to require that a woman essentially be subjected to state sanctioned raped with a foreign object in order to obtain her right to have an abortion is a sign that you give regressives an inch and they will take a mile, and your rights not to die in agony in some dank cellar or storage room at the hands of some freak, away.

The return of the back alley abortionist and the filthy coat hanger that kills desperate women who seek him out is too high a price to pay to ever lose the Right to Choose to have a safe and legal abortion.

Abortion is going nowhere. There will always be abortions. It's access to a safe and legal abortion that is what is on the table in the war over Choice, not the existence of abortion itself. Don't let anything obfuscate that this is the reality and the end game of losing this fight. Innocent people dying in pain rather than being operated on in a sterile facility and then recovering safely under the attention and care of a doctor.

The "-and rare" has got nothing to do with protecting women or preserving their rights.

Originally posted to LeftHandedMan on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 04:27 AM PST.

Also republished by Pro Choice and Abortion.

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