The opposite of abortion is not motherhood. It is Injustice.

The opposite of abortion is not motherhood.  It is Injustice.

In America, we are led to believe that the opposite of abortion is motherhood. We are told that people who have abortions do so to avoid becoming mothers, and that people who are mothers clearly have not had abortions.blown mindswhen we learn otherwise. We are taught that if motherhood represents a kind of fundamental unselfishness, a self-sacrificing surrender in the name of the greater good, then abortion – a fundamental exercise in self-reliance – is its antithesis.

And yet, nothing has made me more pro-choice than becoming a mother.

The author with his sons, Shaan, far left, and Sai, far right.

Courtesy of the author

Bringing my son into the world was an exhausting experience – and it was an experience I chose voluntarily. Fertility treatments left me bloated and misshapen; consecutive miscarriages and D&C Procedures were painful enough – physically and emotionally – without the fear of facing legal punishment for my personal health care choices; and then there was the labor, which was as painful as everyone predicted, and the postpartum period, which was far After arduous that no one had warned him.

But giving birth to a child in America was nothing compared to raising a child in America.

In America, one of six countries in the world without paid family leave, we tear our bodies apart to bring the world to life, then return to work – still healing, bleeding, fleeing – weeks later. In America, where childcare costs more than school fees, we are told to work paid jobs to pay for childcare in order to continue working paid jobs, and then come home in the evening for a second unpaid shift. In America, where even without these indignities, raising a child is exhausting, stressful and lonely, we are asked to smile and bear it, even when we die inside…metaphoricallybut also, more than any other industrialized country, literally.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t become mothers; In effect, 60 percent of those who have an abortion are mothers. I argue that no one should have to bear the burden of parenthood in America, period, and especially without consenting to it.

I am barely the first to make this point or to point out the hypocrisy of lawmakers who claim to be “pro-life” but deny Americans each basic resource and right need to live. But I found the need to keep repeating myself – to keep screaming into the abyss in case someone with the power to do something will hear me-that the opposite of abortion is not motherhood at all. It is an injustice.

Every time women move closer to equality, those in control find a way to pit us against each other and minimize our collective power.

Of course, it is not by chance that we are made to believe the opposite; every time women move closer to equality, those in control find a way to pit us against each other and minimize our collective power. This particular false division, between moms and people who have abortions, is just one of many tactics used to distract us all – moms, women, workers, people in need of health care, anyone – from fighting for our common interests.

It’s the same reason women are told to fix themselves, to bend over, to fight impostor syndrome rather than fight for paid time off, child care and structural protections that we would have really need to thrive in the workplace. To make to-do lists and color-code our way to equity in the home, rather than demanding the long time allowance it would make our lives truly fair.

This is why we are led to believe that women’s issues – and particularly reproductive rights – are marginal issues, despite the fact that when you look at the numbers, neither women nor our issues are at the forefront of the scene. fringes. This is how politicians and people in power don’t lose our votes, our dollars or our support when they leave. paid family leave on the cutting room floor or even neglect mention the word abortion at all.

And that’s why, when we answer – when we warn that the end of deer is upon us or struggle to preserve the crumbs of bodily autonomy we have left – we are told that we are overreact. Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth: even with deer up, getting an abortion in America is often a nightmare. today almost nine on each 10 US counties do not have an abortion clinic, and the Cost of the procedure itself can be prohibitive, not to mention travel costs, lost wages and, for these three in five mothers with children, the cost of childcare.

Even with deer up, getting an abortion in America is often a nightmare.

As a result, women remain under the thumb of a patriarchal system that relies on our work and our bodies to serve as social safety net America pretends it can’t afford, while dumping hundreds of billions into our defense budget In place. The idea of ​​letting us control the conditions of this work is, to those in power, absurd – a threat to the kind of society in which men can have it all, and women are expected to help them achieve this. And so they retain that control and that autonomy, which makes it harder for us at every turn – emotionally, physically, and logistically – to fight back.

Which brings us to where we are today, when we are expected to sacrifice what little freedom we have left. Not, as they want you to think, for the sake of our children (born, unborn or otherwise) – because if that were the case, they would be giving them health care; safe and quality schools; or at least, clean water– but to preserve the enslavement of women.

It’s time to channel that sacrifice into a greater cause: helping more women have more choices in their lives and livelihoods.

It starts with reframing who we’re talking about when we talk about abortions: the millions of mothers who had an abortion and then had children, or had children and then had an abortion; low-income women and black and brown women who ban abortion will be hardest hit; and, of course, transgender and non-binary people who have abortions and are too often erased from the conversation. Because let’s be clear: a lot of mothers haven’t given birth, and a lot of people who have given birth don’t identify as mothers.

We must do all we can to protect the right to abortion, but also all other rights related to reproductive justice. This means donating to abortion fund, and vote for pro-choice candidates ready to do what it takes enshrine reproductive rights in law; pushing our companies providing paid time off and affordable child care, including when employees need abortions; and ensure access to birth control, mental health care and postpartum care.

I was pro-choice long before I gave birth. But being a mom made me realize how many choices we already can’t make, how deeply connected those choices are, and how important it is that we come together to take them back.

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