Sarah Wilson-Daley: Reluctantly pro-choice
Having been raised Catholic, in many ways I am sympathetic towards pro-life arguments.
And in many ways I am still sincerely conflicted about abortion.
But after listening to my college friend’s story of how her abusive high school boyfriend raped her, I knew I needed to take the side of the raped woman to choose whether or not to end an unwanted pregnancy due to a rapist’s violent act against her.
Luckily, my friend did not get pregnant. If she had, she would have been forced to marry him and bear his children. And she would be trapped in a domestically violent relationship with a husband while trying to take care of their children. Given her age, complicated relationship with her parents whom she could not confide in, lack of monetary resources and lack of public transportation due to her living in a rural area, the only way in which she knew how to break up with him was to go to college and get a new boyfriend right away. And she did.
My friend was fortunate not to get pregnant, but other women who have been raped have not been.
Having volunteered at the Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition (known today as “Community Beyond Violence”), I know that some raped women become pregnant. I decided from listening to my friend from college and other women at DVSAC that I needed to side on a raped woman’s right to decide what to do with her body and her violently created pregnancy if that were to happen to her. And since many women are still too ashamed to report this crime, we will never know which unwanted pregnancies are due to their being raped.
Due to these reasons, I decided I needed to be pro-choice in order to ensure that a raped woman has some control over her body.
I believe that if pro-life people want to end abortions, then they also need to be pro-active in ending violence against women. I will join the pro-life movement once all men stop raping women, when all women have access to affordable contraception, and when all men take an equal reproductive responsibility in their female partners’ pregnancies.
But then I won’t need to. Because by preventing the underlying causes as to why women have unwanted pregnancies, then all pregnancies will be wanted.
Sarah Wilson-Daley lives in Grass Valley.
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