health and body image
‘No Easy Decision’: The Battle Over Abortion1/06/2011
“No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself fr...
“No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.” Margaret SangerOn New Years Day my brother was on the couch watching a marathon of the show “The Game” on BET as I was walking out of the restroom I heard a commercial that said, ” abortion is the #1 killer of African Americans,” needless to say I was shocked I really did not know what to say after hearing such a statement. Later on that day I went on MTV.com to find the show that MTV aired on December 22, 2010. MTV aired a documentary called “No Easy Decision.” This mini documentary chronicles Markai Durham who is a Black teen mother who finds herself pregnant for a second time and who chooses to terminate her pregnancy rather than to have a second child. MTV currently has a popular show on air called “16 and pregnant” which shows the drama, hardships, and the taxation of what it means to be a teen mother. I am very happy and impressed that MTV has broadened the conversation surrounding teen pregnancy and showed the alternative decision to being ’16 and pregnant.’
On one hand the commercial painted Black women who exercise their right to choose as domestic terrorist who are a threat to the Black community and on the other hand MTV showed the reality of what it takes to make a serious decision such as abortion. I understand that the abortion issue is one that is heavily tied to people’s morals and faith system, but abortion is far more common than we would like to admit. According to Guttmacher research institute 1 out of 3 women in America has had an abortion. As women we know this statistic to be more than true because if you take mental inventory of your female friends than you know at least one friend who has an abortion or maybe you are that friend who has had an abortion. So if 1 out of 3 women have exercised their right to make the decision to terminate their pregnancy then why do so many people act as if abortion is something that only “loose no moral women” indulge in? I myself have never been pregnant and have never had to weigh my options of whether to keep a pregnancy or terminate one, but I have had many friends who have had to make that decision and they decided for themselves to terminate their pregnancies. These women are in all walks of life some of them are in sororities, women studying to become doctors, women who are now wives with loving husbands and children of their own, church going women, smart women, articulate women in essence everyday normal women who are not prostitutes or crack whores. Just normal women who were faced with a hard decision and they choose to terminate their pregnancies. Most pregnancies are unintended. The Guttmacher Institute says that 40% of white women who become pregnant were unintentional pregnancies and for Black women its 69% and for Hispanic women its 54%. As a woman who advocates for all women finding their agency/power I find these numbers alarming why are so many women getting pregnant unintentionally?
I have dubbed myself the birth control queen because I am a HUGE believer in being in control of my body and my life. Pregnancy is 100% preventable. My motto is if I am on birth control and he wears a condom my womb is like Fort Knox nothing is getting in there. Now I understand that for married women or women in monogamous relationships using a condom and birth control may pose as an issue which is where the problem lies this is when communication and responsibility by both the man and the woman must be intact. Markai admitted she got pregnant because she missed her depo-provera shot aka depo and did not use condoms as a backup method and consequently she got pregnant. Markai said she did not know that if she missed her depo shot that she was not protected and therefore would need to use another method. When I heard this I was flabbergasted. How can a woman be taking a birth control and not now every piece of vital information surrounded with that particular brand of birth control? Our medical system does not do much to empower patients and that is why it is imperative that we as women take control at our doctor visits and ask our doctor or nurse practitioner all the questions we have and to do the research on what we are ingesting into our bodies. We google everything else why not our birth control? Government and the church down the street does not have the right to legislate a woman’s womb and reproductive rights what government should be doing is ensuring that every woman has access to birth control. I am actually shocked that birth control isn’t free by now no woman should feel pressured to keep a pregnancy because she either cannot afford an abortion or she feels guilt tripped into keeping her pregnancy.
It is a new year and a new decade and as women we should make it our priority to make better decisions about our bodies. Let this be the year that you practice safe sex every time not some of the times and let this also be the year that you take your birth control faithfully and if the current birth control you are on makes you fat, over emotional, or sick then go back to your health care provider and ask to be put on another one till you find one that works with your body and lets support all women’s right to choose and stop legislating our morality on another person its un-American!
What do you think about a woman’s right to choose?