In honor of Dr. Tiller, this year’s theme for Blog for Choice Day is “Trust Women.”
In the 37 years since Roe v. Wade happened, women’s reproductive rights have been constantly under attack. At face value, to Trust Women is to respect the decisions they make regarding their bodies. It means respecting women when they decide to terminate a pregnancy, and respecting them when they decide to carry a pregnancy to term.
But “Trust Women” also means honoring a woman’s autonomy, and honoring her life experiences. It means putting each individual woman in control of her own body without any moralistic proselytizing.
It means not passing condescending “informed consent” laws that infantilize women and undermine their decisions. Forcing women to wait over a mandatory period of time, forcing women to view ultrasounds, forcing women to listen to inaccurate medical studies about increased risks of breast cancer…at the center of all of these laws: force. To Trust Women is to empower them rather than force them.
It means not demonizing women who have no regrets over having an abortion, and offering your full support to those who do.
It means doing away with blocks to abortion access, such as the Hyde Amendment. Economically disadvantaged women and women of color are those most affected by abortion restrictions. Trust Women who feel they cannot afford to have another child, and help them.
Trust Women who do feel they can afford another child, and don’t force sterilization upon them.
It means respecting our young women. To Trust Women is to provide comprehensive sex education to teenagers so that they can make informed decisions. Give them the information they need so they have a chance at protecting themselves from STIs and HIV. Do away with mandatory parental notification laws so that all young women in need can have access to treatment for sexual health issues and, yes, access to safe abortions.
It means viewing a pregnant young teenager as a person, rather than a slut who should have kept her legs shut. It means viewing a trans woman as a woman, rather than a man or a freak, and trusting the medical decisions she has made regarding her own body. It means respecting women who decide on abortion rather than adoption.
It means regarding women as full human beings worthy of full human rights.