Blog For Choice 2008: Why It Is Important to Vote Pro-Choice

I am pro-choice.  Tuesday is the 35th Anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision and bloggers throughout the nation are working to raise the profile of reproductive choice vis a vis Blog for Choice 2008.

My right to make decisions about my reproductive health is not something I take lightly.  While only three when Roe was decided, most of my adult years have been defined by an increasing assault on this personal freedom in the name of an undefined “fetus” which has become a personless poster-child for an agenda determined to beat women back into an age of suppression and repression.

I have many friends who identify as pro-life.  They pray for unborn children and march to restrict access to abortion.  Some fervently believe the rhetoric they are spoon fed by patriarchal structures that historically hold women in a subservient positions (hello, Catholic Church).  Some honestly think it is about babies.  Most don't give a damn about those babies once they exit the birth canal, particularly if they are born into families that are poor, of color, single, gay, young or in some other aberration from the mythological “traditional family.”  Or if those babies suck up tax dollars.

My point is that there are many people who buy into this mythological assault on unborn children.  Hence, the need for those of us who see through this fairy tale to hold the line, politically and legislatively.

I confess that my record is not perfect. I voted for Bob Casey, a pro-life Democrat, to oust woman and homo hater Rick Santorum.  But choice is important to me.

I applaud creativity.  Chris Potter, editor extraordinaire of the City Paper, inspired many of us with his response to the 2007 WDUQ/Duquesne University/Planned Parenthood debacle.

In 2003, the Gertrude Stein Political Club of Pittsburgh earned my respect when they stood up to the Pittsburgh Tavern Guild who refused them entrance to distribute slate cards that did not endorse openly anti-choice Gene Riccardi.  The Tavern Guild forever lost respect in my eyes for their heavy handed, self-serving maneuver as well as the clear illustration that issues that impact women (and our autonomy) came in second place to issues that impact their bottom line and/or political connections.  Shame on them. 

Pittsburgh recently elected an anti-choice Democrat as our Mayor for the next two years.  His only vote related to reproductive freedom was against the Bubble Zone, a law that protects women from abusive protests at clinics.  Luke gave no explanation for his vote.

Western Pennsylvania is a Democratic town with a big Catholic social conservative twist.  We cannot afford to take lightly when movers and shakers in our town impose an anti-choice mindset on the rest of us, be they bastions of intellectual freedom or business owners, much less 27 year old elected officials.  Our bodies are not up for barter.  Our choices are not up for debate. 

Last year, I blogged about the hypocrisy of those on the other side.  This year, I believe it is imperative that we examine the support of our allies right here in Pittsburgh – a town of staunch Democrats and staunch Catholics.  A town where the largest Presbyterian Church in town voted themselves off the island to join a more conservative communion.  A town with one (1) local female talk show host who is also the only local liberal talk show host. 

What does this have to do with voting pro-choice?  Well, that nice young man who you wanted to have a chance as Mayor is going to someday set his sites on an elected position where he votes on more than bubble ordinances.  Those business owners who put political allies ahead of the lives of half of their own community are now financially supporting that nice young man.  Can you win a statewide seat on an anti-choice ticket?  Ask Bob Casey.  I'd prefer not to be in a position of Casey v Santorum anytime soon.

My point is that we must pay attention to the local situation as well as the state and federal situations.  My point is that we includes the women and men of the LGBT community.  My point is that when the next generation of local Democratic leadership clings to a Catholic-fused political reality (no civil unions, no birth control, no bubble zone, etc) AND the next generation of local gay leadership continues to fund that guy … women need to pay attention. We need to sit down with these men and make sure they understand why choice impacts every single woman in our community. 

It is important to vote pro-choice. It is important to read the questionairres distributed by the Gertrude Stein Club and the Steel City Stonewall Democrats and pay attention to the questions about choice.  It is important that the questions be asked. 

We are not making progress or moving forward with a 27 year old Mayor that is anti-choice and anti-civil union.  It is incumbent on us to educate him and ourselves on the implications for our lives if reproductive choice continues to erode under the relentless assault from those who would happily impose their value systems on our bodies.