One of the biggest questions these days is whether you are on the left or the right. I grew in a semi-conservative republican home and agree with
many of the republican view points. However, I am not a “Tea Party” conservative nor will I ever be. I think it’s a shame that people with such extremist views are the ones that end up representing a whole group of people, in this case representing all republicans. So as I’ve grown up, I’ve been very turned off by the right wing extremists and find myself more right leaning center.
I do not agree with most of the Tea Party view points. I don’t agree with their hostility towards homosexuals. It’s one thing to not like the idea of homosexuality, it’s another to dislike the person. I agree with liberals that global warm IS an issue. I don’t agree with the way that extremist republicans choose to make personal attacks on the current administration, with some remarks being derogatory and involving family. And I most certainly do not agree with having the government restricting women’s reproductive rights, specifically regulating abortions and the use of birth controls. Obviously, it’s not only republicans that are pro-life but they are most definitely leading the way it anti-abortion legislation.
When a woman has an abortion, it means that she is choosing to end her pregnancy by terminating the fetus. Abortions became legal after the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. Birth controls are mechanisms or medicines that decrease a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant. Many conservatives consider abortion and particular types of birth controls to be forms of murder. Their goal is to make them illegal. These are issues that deal with women’s reproductive rights. The decisions about said rights should be made by women, not a male-dominated government.
We Live in a Patriarchal Society
Almost all societies in the world are patriarchies. Don’t know what that means? According to Julia T. Wood in her book Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture, it means that the ideologies, structures, and practices of a government were created by men and continued on by men. The United States government is a patriarchal one. In the year 2010, there were 73 women in the House of Representative and 17 women in the Senate. This means that only 17% of our federal government is represented by women. According the 2010 census, 50.8% of the United States population are females. It seems absurd to me that a government that is so unreflective of the American people can create legislature that limits women’s rights.
For example, on a local level, Virginia lawmakers were considering passing a bill that would give human rights to a fetus. This “Personhood” bill would directly challenge Roe v. Wade and make abortion illegal. It would also eliminate the use of certain types of birth control. This Bill was brought to the Virginia House of Delegates by a male delegate named Robert Marshall. He is one of the 82 men that serve in the 100-seat House of Delegate. Again, men are trying to control women’s rights without the equal representation of women in the debate. Hundreds of women protested while debate was going on in the House and apparently their voices were heard because the bill ended up being tabled until next year.
Not Everyone Wants to Be a Parent
Yes, most women in the society that we live in want to be parents. In a study done by Erchull, Liss, Axelson, Staebell, and Askari called “Well…She Wants it More”, it was found that women do have a higher desire for children than men. But with that, not all women do. One in five women will not have children. Why should they be forced to become a parent in the event of an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy? It should be a personal choice.
There is the idea of the “new momism” that is most definitely causing a problem in the world of gender norms. The “new momism” is all of the ideals and norms of motherhood that are portrayed in the media. These portrayals are creating an image of mothering that is so perfect everybody should want to be a mother. It makes those who do not want to be mothers feel like outcasts. But in reality, the images of mothers in the media are far from reality. For people who want to be mothers and truly love the role, it sets standards of perfection that just can’t be reached. Although there aren’t any advocate groups for women who don’t want children that I could find, individuals are constantly standing up and explaining why they have made the decision to not have children with the hope of eliminating the stigma of childless women.
Too Much Emphasis Placed on the Word “Mother”
If you pay attention to the politicians who discuss wanting to make abortions and certain birth controls illegal, they many times refer to the women looking for the birth control as misguided women who don’t understand the decision that they’re making. They are not regarded as being women of power who are making the decision that is of the most benefit to their livelihood. In Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture, Julia T. Wood talks about gendered norms and how women are expected to be mothers.
So when the word “mother” is thrown around, there is a lot of social pressure behind it. It has become part of the core of female gender norms and to break that norm and not want to be a “mother” is seen as blasphemy. Language defines who we are. So in social terms mother is synonymous with woman. Literally. If you don’t want to be one then you aren’t considered to be a real woman. There are women who face this discrimination everyday who don’t want to be mothers and they set up blogs and talk to parenting sites about their reasoning to try and detach the words “woman” and “mother.”
Oppression in the Highest
Telling women what they can and cannot do with their own bodies is a form of oppression. Women face a strict double bind on a daily basis. Now-a-days, women are expected to be individuals and portray “girl power” but at the same time, they are expected to fall into the cultural norm of wanting to be a mother like everyone else. It’s a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation. The women who don’t want to be mothers are being oppressed by lawmakers who are trying to create anti-abortion laws. By legally limiting what women (and not men as well) can and cannot do is oppression and its taking laws and social norms back in time. Women’s rights groups are protesting these laws every day to end the attempt at oppression.
My point being…
I’m not some crazy feminist who thinks every man is out to oppress women. This is just an issue that I am particularly passionate about because I am not okay with where our government is trying to take it. I’m actually against having an abortion because it goes against my own personal morals and values. But if someone else feels like being a parent is not for them or that the child would not be given an adequate life for whatever reason after birth then I feel that it is that woman’s right to determine how she would like to resolve the issue.
As a study done by Kacanek, Denns, Miller, and Blanchard showed, the government already has a hard time keeping up with its laws and programs regarding abortion already. Medcaid is supposed to reimburse clinics that perform abortions due to rape, incest, and endangerment of the mother’s life. In a survey, more than half of abortion-providing clinics said that they had never been reimbursed by the government. If the government can’t hold up their end of the bargain in the abortion laws that they already have, should they really be making more? I don’t think so!