In defence of a woman’s right to choose: ‘Stay out of my uterus’

By Arzo Ansary
[KSA women's constituency representative]

Having choices is an integral part of my life, because for as long as I can remember, I was not allowed to have any! I grew up in an environment where having a different thought was akin to plotting the downfall of the government…or otherwise known as treason.

Arzo Ansary, women’s constituency representative for the Kwantlen Student Association. (Jeff Groat/The Runner)

In some countries, treason is still punishable by death (unfortunately in a lot of those countries a death sentence is handed out almost quicker than new restrictions are placed on choices). So maybe death wasn’t the sentence in my household, but I tell you, for some people who are robbed of basic choices, it might as well be.

Think of a world where you are robbed of basic choices. Imagine your day, the motions you go through to get ready in the morning, the clothes you choose, the food you eat, and the people you choose to spend your time with.

Now pause for a second. Take all of these choices away and start all over. This is the unfortunate reality for many people in the world, some of whom you might know personally. Every aspect of your life being dictated to you by someone who thinks they know the exact path your life should take, could you face a reality such as that? The majority of you would shudder at the very thought.

Now go tell someone that you think  you know what is best for what happens inside their bodies, and that whatever it is they think is right is actually absolutely incorrect and entirely akin to homicide. How absurd does that sound?

Here I am telling you to imagine not being able to pick a preference you might have, and simultaneously asking you to go tell someone you know what’s best for their bodies.

Am I crazy?

No. I’m angry.

I’m furious.

I’m a woman who is sick and tired of hearing governments around the world debate about what to do with MY uterus.

I’m tired of walking down the street and seeing a man with a pro-life sign hanging around his neck, holding up a picture of a four-week-old fetus while yelling ‘abortion equals killing precious babies!’

My instinct is to say, “no, you moron, it really isn’t, read a biology textbook” but sometimes I manage to stop myself from actually yelling it out loud. Sometimes.

Something else angers me though. Not the fact that the man with the sign thinks abortion is like killing babies, but the fact that he is standing there telling me and everyone else that he thinks he knows what is best for MY body and in essence, my life.

Unless you have had to raise children that have been your responsibility and under your care, you are probably incapable of fully appreciating just how strenuous of a task it is.

To be responsible for their well-being, physical and mental, for as long as probably 18 years (often times more), requires patience, persistence, and a whole lot of sacrifices on the part of the caretaker or caretakers. Let’s be honest here, how many of you are ready to be parents, or a parent, right now right at this moment?

Think about it.

Think some more.

Scary thought? I bet it is for some of you.

Birth is not the end of the story. The hardship does not end as soon as a baby has left the mother’s womb. The hard part hasn’t even begun at that point – if you’re lucky enough to have a healthy child, you have a long way to go and many roads to travel before you’ll ever regain any semblance of sanity you might have had before.

If things do not turn out the way you anticipated them to go, well then you have a child who will require a special amount of love and care from you that you are going to have to prepare yourself for and take responsibility of, for the rest of that little ones life. Remember, I haven’t even discussed how finances play into all of this (yet).

My argument is not that it is wrong to have children. My argument is that a woman should be able to have children when she wants them, and if something prevents her from wanting a child to be born into a world where she may or may not care for it the way it should be cared for, she should be able to make the call not to have it.

Because at the end of the day, that man down the street with the sign and the picture of a four-week-old fetus telling women they are raging homicidal maniacs for thinking of abortion is NOT going to be waking up at 3 a.m. to feed a hungry baby or quit school to provide for the family, or console a woman on the nights she can’t stand to see her child because she was raped but still forced to have it, if that were the case.

No pro-life organization is going to assist her throughout that child’s life. At the end of the day, when all is said and done and the scales are weighed, the onus of responsibility of care is on the caretaker, not the people shoving their opinions down everyone’s throat.

I can proudly say that I am for choices, and that I defend a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body. If you are still persistent and want to tell women what to do with their uterus, well then perhaps you should look into adopting children who were reluctantly birthed and provide your service to society that way. After all, you are a part of why they need to be adopted in the first place.

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