In January 1990, I was a freshman in college and doing an internship in an Ohio state representative’s office in Washington, D.C. Mostly this consisted of helping the staffers go through the mail the legislator received. I also got to explore the tunnels beneath the 3 buildings that held the legislators’ offices, take bundles of mail to be “franked” (machines that signed the legislator’s signature in lieu of postage) and handle the receipt of flags that constituents asked for.
But January 22nd, 1990, was a different day. It was cold and bright and the “Pro-Life” lobby was hitting the Hill hard. The representative’s office had been inundated with graphic postcards of aborted fetuses and there were groups visiting every elected official and dropping off dead roses. Up until that point, I had wavered as to what was the right position to take on abortion. But seeing these people so determined to make that choice for me, I determined that day that every woman should have the choice.
I think Marge Piercy said it best:
“I will choose what enters me, what becomes flesh of my flesh. Without choice, no politics, no ethics lives. I am not your cornfield, not your uranium mine, not your calf for fattening, not your cow for milking. You may not use me as your factory. Priests and legislators do not hold shares in my womb or my mind. If I give it to you, I want it back. My life is a non-negotiable demand.”
I want the final say over my future, and I believe every woman should have that right.