Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

11 September 2008

How Sarah Palin will push reproductive justice to the next level

I've been mulling over Sarah Palin's decision to jump on a flight back to Alaska despite leaking amniotic fluid...Was it a sign of a a crazed woman? A dumb move endangering her baby? Denial of impending labor? Whatever it really was, it clearly was A CHOICE.

I've also been around the feminist movement to witness part of the evolution of reproductive health to reproductive rights to reproductive justice. That last leg is still in a process in motion thou.

There is a lot of criticism out in the world that feminists are too focused on Roe and abortion. I think that it is very true and not. It's not true because for every Roe-focused feminist I know, there's at least 2 feminists focused on something else. It's true because Roe and abortion are what grabs headlines. It's amazing that in this Presidential campaign pay equity may actually be *the* feminist issue.

But instead of us feminists looking out at the candidates, let's use the candidates to look back at ourselves.

Lynn Paltrow and Judith Lewis provide us with excellent commentaries on Palin's choices, which boil down to a woman:

  • discovers that she her very much wanted child tests positive for Down Syndrome;
  • chooses to carry pregnancy to term;
  • on day or day before of giving birth, she is leaking amniotic fluid calls her doctor,
  • they discuss, the doctor TRUSTS the woman with making a decision,
  • the woman goes on with her day and takes 10 hours to get into the hands of her TRUSTED physician;
  • discovers that her 17yo unmarried daughter is pregnant and gives unfettered support in daughter's decision to have a baby.*
Of course, all of this is made with the knowledge that Sarah & Bristol have easy access to medical professionals due to their status as insured.

Almost every feminist out there has made the connection between Palin's actions and her policy stances. BUT have they all made the connection between Palin's actions and reproductive justice? What we should be doing as feminists is making sure that every woman can make those same decisions without fear of being put in jail.

We need to remember that each decision that goes into having a baby is just as precious to our movement as each decision that goes into NOT having a baby. Birth control, EC, home births, and epidurals are all under the term reproductive justice.

I honestly think that we are still working on many feminists to realize that fighting for my right to birth with a midwife is just as important as their right to terminate their pregnancy. That my mother's right to a VBAC after two c-sections is just as important as 25-yo man's decision to have a vasectomy.

Goddess willing, Obama wins and this is Palin's only legacy on feminism. Teaching us all to look beyond Roe and embracing all that reproductive justice means.


* Yes, I am making the assumption that it was Bristol's choice and not Sarah's demand for political face. Somehow I think Sarah probably raised her daughter with the same values and at 17 most likely still believes in them. That's what moms do.

Technorati tags: Sarah Palin, feminism

2 comments:

Awesome post - I just Stumbled it. I love the way you presented so many aspects of this issue; I agree we do tend to fixate on the Roe/abortion portion, but "pro-choice" really does - and should - encompass a LOT of choices, not just that particular one.