Monday, January 12, 2009

Supporting Single Moms

The following is a cross-post with Choice Words, the blog of ChoiceUSA.

I think a common misconception about the Choice movement is that we are only focused on abortion and pregnancy prevention, and to a point I believe we sometimes deserve that misconception. Many are blind to the plethora of injustices that foster a lack of choice on the other side. Forced or coerced sterilization and mandatory adoption have shaped the reproductive lives of working class women, non-white women, and young women alike, and this trend is far from ancient history. For all the energy we choice activists put into abortion rights and access to contraception, something does occasionally get lost in our agenda: while we are certainly committed to the right not to parent, we are equally committed to ensuring every woman the right to parent.

I was recently contacted by a Mari Gallion, author of The Single Woman's Guide to a Happy Pregnancy and founder of, an online resource for women who have chosen to continue an unsupported pregnancy. Gallion described herself as what might seem like an "unlikely" supporter of CPC Watch but assured me was anything but another anti-choice resource that pushed an agenda. Her organization, she told me, has been fighting the backwards agendas of crisis pregnancy centers as well. "They are adoption rings, plain and simple," she told me in her email. This, I believe, is an important thing to note about agencies that consistantly characterize organizations like Planned Parenthood as "abortion profiteers."

Gallion's email continued: "Although they like to mask their agenda in an ostensible commitment to 'life,' their 'mission' is not to (in their words) 'save' babies, it is to sell babies ... to convince women that they are inadequate and incapable so that they can make money off of procurement legal fees and protract the cultural tenet of traditional families."

I myself have received testimonials that further prove this point. A woman named Gina from Atlanta contacted me recently about her experience at a CPC. When she found herself pregnant at nineteen, she decided she did not want an abortion, but needed some help. And so she went to a CPC. After being welcomed warmly by a staff of volunteers that were thrilled at her decision not to have an abortion, she was told, "You cannot have a baby out of wedlock. The child's life will be ruined. If you truly love him, you will make the right decision for you both." In other words, no help would come from them unless she agreed to put her future baby up for adoption.

It just further displays the fragility of a woman's choice. Even when she's making the decision that fits a certain moral agenda, there are still a thousand ways she can "do wrong", such as choose to become a single mom. I've heard tales of women who gave birth at sixteen and had their baby whisked away from them before they could even get a look. I've heard from a woman who had given birth as a teenager who later could not get pregnant again, only to find over a decade later that they had removed her uterus during the "emergency surgery" to get the baby out. I know of older women who to this day have Norplant in their arms because, while it was inexpensive to get implanted, they could not afford to have it removed. For every woman who wants to parent, who does not want to parent, or wants to possibly parent later, the Choice movement should stand behind them all.

No comments: