I normally don’t like participating in things that allude to the ‘blogosphere,’ a term I instantly recoil from because of its aesthetic clunkiness, and because it’s already a dated-sounding buzzword. I get this feeling that whenever Internet newbies see that word crop up in NYT articles and news shows, they think of some shiny titanium-alloy plated globe hovering above the floor of a freaky James-Bond-Villain-type science lab, with protruding wires and ionic haloes that zap intruders. Which would be much cooler than the actual thing: a few gems of entertainment and content in a sea of pundits and ‘Which Deceased Heroin Addict Rock Star are You?’ quizzes.
Cutting out most of the chaff, though, the idea of a blog community is kind of cool, especially when bloggers band together for a good cause. The cause celebre this month is the issue of free reproductive choice for women. On January 22nd, bloggers who have signed up for Blog for Choice Day will dedicate at least one post about the issue.
I’m guessing this particular ‘movement’ (is it still a movement if it’s on the Internet and all you are moving are your fingers?) has been prompted by the nomination of Alito, who, as you know, has a great track record of undermining women’s right to reproductive choice. I live in Kansas, though, and originally am from Wichita, home of the 1991 Summer of Mercy Campaign. My old roommate, when she’s not off gallivanting about Egypt, attends the same church as Dr. Tiller, notorious abortion doctor. Every other week or so, protestors will gather around her church and wave signs expressing their objection to his attending church (shouldn’t they be attending their own church?). My mom drove me to (high) school one day, and as she was attempting to pull into the drive to drop me off, abortion protesters blocked her car with signs bearing blown-up images of bloodied, dismembered fetuses. She didn’t quite understand what was going on – although the strong Catholic presence in Vietnam means that most people don’t officially sanction abortions, there are no crazy fetus fanatics over there, to the best of my knowledge – so I just explained to her that they were just some crazy people, and she could let me off on the other side of school. You can actually get an abortion in Kansas, but then run the risk of being harassed by anti-choice groups, with flyers and fetus images plastered all over your windshield, and ‘CHILDKILLER’ and ‘BURN IN HELL’ spraypainted on the side of your house. Double the risk if you actually work at an abortion clinic, or even Planned Parenthood.
The fervor here is such that, having not lived anywhere else for a signficant time, I can’t really imagine what it’s like to live where comprehensive sexuality education is not merely available but mandatory for everyone, where options are readily available, where the community is supportive of women in times of crisis. Not just pregnant teens or whoever, but all women: single women, women in abusive relationships who conceive, women who can’t rely on family or good friends to assist them. Lawrence, being the shining hippie-blue beacon in a sea of fervent red, is admittedly better than most places around here; yet I still see the people on campus all the time waving their signs and shouting accusations at us (apparently, because we are college students, we are all fornicating and aborting like mad). These people, back in the 1700’s, would have burned young women at the stake for being witches; now, they vilify and demonize them with pamphlets, lobbies, and legislation.
If I were ever in that situation, I don’t know if I’d opt to abort. But I have a loving, stable (well, not always mentally, ha) partner, and an accepting family (hoo boy would they ever freak out and raise a ruckus from here to Dallas, but I have faith that they wouldn’t actually boot me out on the street), and access to financial resources. What about a poor girl in a ghetto neighborhood who has too many siblings for her mother to feed as it is, whose boyfriend abandons her, who doesn’t have the education to make a decent living? What do you tell her: “nope, sorry, God will damn you for your sins”? What if the world she is living in is already hell?