If there’s an issue my brain is latching onto this particular political era, it is human rights. I don’t much care to sort us all into subgroups, or to argue over which group suffers the most; the bottom line is that we are all human, and we all deserve the same rights. One of the most basic truths, I think, deep down inside us, is that we control our own bodies. We fulfill our needs and desires; we take care of ourselves as best we can within the confines of societal and actual regulatory laws (whether or not we personally agree with them).
Without even thinking about, it if asked, most people would probably quickly respond that they do control their own bodies. For instance, we (the lucky) decide every day when and what to eat or drink, as such things are available to us; if we are hurting, we (the privileged) decide to seek or not seek medical help based on how we’re feeling; most of us believe these decisions belong to us.
Along the same lines, during my lifetime I have enjoyed the right to choose what happens to my body if I became pregnant, and it’s important to me that my daughters have that same choice. There are those who believe differently and unfortunately, many who can affect the rights of my daughters are people who cannot currently, and may never in their lifetime, be in the position of becoming pregnant — how can they possibly comprehend the intricacies of such a decision?
Nevertheless, such people (men) have been making those decisions about abortion rights, and it’s important to all of us — whether or not we could become pregnant and birth a child — to at the very least, educate ourselves, and understand how these decisions affect real human beings. At times, abortion may feel like a political issue, but it truly is a human rights decision. There are physical and mental requirements when committing to have a child; financial capabilities, and accessibility to facilities and care are factors, and like it or not, the woman who will carry a child to term and who will birth that child bears the full weight of that decision upon her body and mind.
As documentarian Tracy Droz Tragos has said of making Abortion: Stories Women Tell , she simply wanted to to strip away rhetoric, to give voice to women, and to tell their stories from each of their very different perspectives. Made in Missouri, and in Illinois at the Hope Clinic (where many women went due to the closure of all but one MO clinic), beginning in 2014, soon after a 72 hour waiting period was imposed (there is currently a counseling requirement, as well as other restrictions) the documentary was first screened at the 2016 Tribecca Film Festival.
April 3rd, HBO will present Stories Women Tell, which the cable network says provides “a balanced look at abortion through women’s own words and experiences” April 3rd. Views will be shared by among others, a Hope Clinic doctor, a clinic guard and an escort, an anti-abortionist activist, a couple whose baby had a genetic defect that indicated the child would not survive past birth, a pregnant single mother, and a young mother looking back on her choice, and others including nurses, doctors and other activists on both side of the abortion debate.
Here’s hoping the gentlemen out there who believe themselves qualified to make choices about our bodies — our sisters’, daughters’ and wives’ and lovers’ bodies — here’s hoping those who would take away such incredibly personal and private decisions have the sense to watch.