22 January 2007

My body, the body, my body

Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007

Welcome to the second annual Blog for Choice Day. I'm coming in decidedly under the wire here at 10 PM Eastern. It's the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a Court decision with its constitutional base in the right to privacy--a right that exists not in letter but, in Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas' words, in the "penumbras" of five Amendments to the Constitution: the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth. It is our shadowy right to privacy that, among other things, makes warrantless wiretapping illegal, allows residents of some states to choose doctor-assisted suicide when it suits them, and gives women the endangered and never savoury option to legally medically terminate a pregnancy.

I am pro-choice. I have many reasons. At the core, I am pro-choice because it is my body. I've built it, I've changed it, I've made strong choices with it, and it is mine. I give it as I please and I keep it in the condition that pleases me. If I wish it to bear a child, I'll arrange that hopeful condition; since my body threw me a curveball last year, I may not have that hope, but that does not change the fact that I, as the sole curator of my built body, deserve to choose.

Because it is my body, I deserve the pleasures it provides. This is not limited to sex; this includes my right to tattoo whatever I want where ever I want. I own my parts and I own the metal in certain of them. I should be able to participate in safely administered body rituals if I please. I can wear my hair in whichever cuts and colours are possible and attractive to me. If I wish my tongue split I have the body right to find a practitioner who can provide such a service for me.

I should have these rights no matter what boundaries are forced on me by law or by other people. Because that's what it comes down to: my body is mine and it's not right for others to police the kind of body I am allowed (or the kind of woman I am at all, for that matter). It's nonnegotiable: it's my body.

That is why I am pro-choice. Because no one should issue orders to anyone else on the conscientious care and keeping of their personal meat-n-water bag.

The weakness of my argument is like that of many other arguments for or against abortion: if you do not agree with my basic statement, you'll not agree with the conclusion I draw from it. It's the same as "it's a person already." I'm finished trying to change the minds of people whose views are the exact base opposite of mine. We'll both just end up angry, screaming at each other, and I have far too much proofreading to do to spend my time arguing in that nonproductive manner.

Happy Birthday Roe.
(pun deliciously intended)

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