That's all fine and good, but I think part of that puzzle is missing. What no one wants to talk about, it seems, are what happens if you want choices in childbirth. Aren't those reproductive rights, too?
Many pro-choice advocates like to say that Republicans "don't care" what happens if you decide to not have abortion. Maybe, but from the looks of it, they don't care, either - if you want a VBAC, home birth, natural hospital birth, unassisted birth, etc. where are they?
Many celebrity faces of the pro-choice movement include Meryl Streep, Ani DiFranco, Demi Moore, Cybill Shepherd and many others. Meryl Streep had at least one home birth, but I don't hear her ever mention it, much less do a commercial for it. Both Ani and Demi also had home births. Cybill Shepherd searched tirelessly for a doctor who would "let her" give birth vaginally to her twins. Why are none of these women on the street corner with other birth advocates holding signs that say "Stop banning VBACs!" or "Fight for normal birth!"? Demi Moore starred in the movie "If These Walls Could Talk" - perhaps she could play Laura Pemberton, the Florida woman who was taken from her home during a homebirth after cesarean and forced by the court to undergo a repeat cesarean?? I won't hold my breath.
While there are many childbirth advocates, one of the few celebrities standing on that side of the fence is Ricki Lake. A face and name you are likely to remember, with enough leverage to get her advocacy out there, she is equally praised and hated, it seems. While one side praises women for standing up for their rights to not carry a baby if they don't want to, others are demonizing those women who stand up for their rights to birth that baby in the manner of their choosing. Why are so many in the pro-choice movement silent on this?
I just read an article from the feminist site Jezebel that in a nutshell says, "Home birth is dangerous. Natural birth advocates are stupid," and unbelievably lists one of her sources as "Hurt by Homebirth," a website run by Dr. Amy Tuteur (who, I think we can all summarily agree, is someone who hates all women that exercise their childbirthing rights more than anyone I've ever known).
Why aren't they saying, "I personally wouldn't have a home birth, but applaud Ricki Lake for standing up for birthing women?" Instead of basically saying "I only support the reproductive freedoms of some women, not all." They similarly malign Michelle Duggar, mom of 19 kids.
We readily support advocates who sail into international waters to provide abortions to women in need, but where is the support for victims of forced abortions in China? I am not saying that providing abortions to women in countries where they are strictly illegal and maternal deaths are high is not a necessary service. But why are you only focusing on one aspect of reproductive care? What are you doing to improve birth outcomes and make childbirth safer for those women?
Where are Meryl Streep, Kyra Sedgwick and others when...
• a woman's doctor won't "let her" go beyond 40 weeks?
• a woman's doctor dispatches the police when she wants a natural birth and refuses the induction appointment?
• every hospital you turn to has banned VBAC?
• you want to have a home birth but your midwife could be arrested for attending it?
• you are bullied endlessly about scheduling an induction or cesarean when you don't want one?
• you want a doula but your doctor or hospital "won't allow" it?
• you are removed from your home during a home birth in progress, only to have a judge sign a court order and demand you have a cesarean? (see the Laura Pemberton link above)
• your doctor, nurses and anesthesiologist repeatedly badger you about accepting an epidural even though you don't want one?
• hospital workers dispatch CPS when you refuse a cesarean, or because you birthed a breech baby at home?
• hospital staff treats you badly during a homebirth transfer?
• your local hospital has a VBAC ban in place and says they will get a court order to force you into surgery even if you show up in labor?
|Excerpt from the ICAN VBAC database (currently under construction|
and now only open to paying members)
I'm not saying I necessarily agree or disagree with abortion; what I'm saying is that vocal pro-choice advocates should not draw the line at abortion. They should not turn their heads or walk away from those who advocate for choices in childbirth, call them "crazies" or degrade their efforts. If you are pro-choice, I merely ask you to consider directing your energy and focus into supporting the reproductive rights of all women, not just some of them.