Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

22 January 2008

Blog for Choice Day 2008

Blog for Choice Day Is it any different a day at Viva La Feminista? Nope. Just as the other 365 days of this year, we'll talk about freedom, justice, and abortion. But in honor of the 35th anniversary of the Roe decision, I finally saw "Juno" and in time to celebrate Ellen Page's Oscar nod and the picture's nomination for movie of the year.

A lot has been blogged about, op-ed'd about, and talked about this movie and whether or not is is pro-choice, anti-choice, or a very flawed fairy tale. Now that I finally saw the most talked about movie this season, I can weight in.

I think most of you are wrong. Spoilers ahead!

  1. Yes, Juno chose to carry her pregnancy to term. This does not mean that she (or Diablo) made some pro-life statement. She was a scared kid in a clinic alone and the only information she seemed to listen to was a fellow classmate's note about finger nails. Which show up around 16 weeks not the 10-12 weeks Juno was at the time of her abortion appointment. I think that scene showed a scared kid, plain and simple. Her friend, Leah, talked nonchalantly about another friend's abortion during their phone call. But at the bottom of this scene is the idea, myth, that if you are pro-choice, you show an abortion. I know, I know, I wish more movies showed then as often as a miscarriage, but let's not get all pro-abortion just to be pro-choice.
  2. The abortion clinic's receptionist wasn't any more rude than I've seen at the local ER or my doctor's office. Sure, I don't see pierced women at those places nor do they tell me about their blueberry pie boyfriend parts, but to compare the office to a tattoo parlor? Come on now. I've been in a few (no tats, yet) and they are far more friendly & clean than the office shown. Think brighter lights folks.
  3. As someone who volunteered in a Planned Parenthood clinic, I know if any of the receptionists or myself welcomed a patient in that manner, we'd be out on our butts. Diablo Cody might had been going for quirky, instead she did women's health clinics a huge disservice.
  4. The idea that this movie is pro-life is such an indictment on the conservative movement. Again, they close their eyes & ears to the rest of the movie and focus ONLY on the fact that Juno carried the pregnancy to term. They ignored Juno's step-moms' ripping of the ultrasound tech (score point for teenage moms), the teacher-lust exhibited by Leah, and the fact that Vanessa ends up a single mom when Mark leaves her and their expected baby. This movie would not be in my list of pro-life movies if I were running the other side.
As to the idea that this is a fairy tale. It think in some ways it is. But it also minimizes the bounce back of teenagers. Did we want a movie where Juno is depressed for years because she gave up her baby for adoption? Do we want her to suffer in some way? Why can't she be happy with her closed adoption and move on with her life? I've said it many times, I could never give up a baby for adoption, but if I did, it would be so closed, I might change my name. I'm just not strong enough to handle my child walking back into my life 15-30 years later. Selfish? Sure. I've seen teenage moms hand off their kids to their moms to raise and hit the club a few weeks later, checking in only to play mom for a few moments. Is this how we wanted Juno to end? I've also seen teenage moms who turn out to be some awesome moms.

In the end, it was fairy tale-ish that she figures out that she was in love with her boyfriend. But remember that his mom hated her. I know how that feels, what the looks like, and it ain't a fairy tale.

As we go out and celebrate 35 years of Roe, remember that what she stands for is that ideally we should all be able to choose to be a mom, relinquish a child, or terminate a pregnancy. In my head, it's all pro-choice...as long as it is done with full knowledge, support, and the economics that backs it all up.

Technorati tags: Blog for Choice, pro-choice, Roe v. Wade, abortion, reproductive justice


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