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On the 40th Anniversary of Roe: My Daughter, Her Choices

What I want for my daughter: reproductive rights.

Never assume. First rule of life. If you meet me, don't assume that I see adoption as a "solution" to abortion. Don't assume that becoming an adoptive parent changed my pro-choice position. Don't assume that just because I have a daughter, I think I'm entitled to control her body. Don't assume that I abandoned my opposition to laws that require notification of parents when a minor needs an abortion. Don't assume that I think I will know about everything my daughter does as a teenager. Don't assume that my knowing is more important than her safety.

Know this instead: I want her to have what she needs. I want her to be safe, and supported, and to feel every option is open to her. Sure, I hope she comes to me if she decides to have sex; I hope to God it's her decision, and not something that happens against her will. If she asks me, I will help her find a birth control method and talk to her about protection from STIs. But if she doesn't come to me, she still deserves to have birth control, and condoms. And if all that fails and she finds herself pregnant, she deserves to have all her choices available.

If you are an adult in my daughter's life, know this: it's not about me. It's about her. If she comes to you about birth control, help her. Take her to Planned Parenthood. Give her condoms. If it means you have to take her to another state to help her get an abortion, because it's what she needs and we live in a state with parental notification laws, then take her. Go with her, and hold her hand, and hug her afterwards, and make sure she has someone to talk to. Sure, you can tell her that she can talk to me -- you can offer to help her do it. But if she doesn't want to, if she's scared or ashamed or just too overwhelmed, that's OK. It's more important that she gets what she needs than that I know about it.

I am trying to be the kind of mother she can come to, but that's not entirely under my control. And if she can't come to me, let her come to you, and give her what she needs. If you're her aunt, or her teacher, or her doctor, or just a good friend, know this: it's about her.

(crossposted from The Huffington Post)

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Wallst January 26, 2013 at 02:38 AM
Mary, how much schooling did you miss to be this stupid?
Joe Sommers January 29, 2013 at 01:52 AM
Wall St...Did you ever abort ??My guess is no because if you did you would never discuss this issue on an internet blog. You wouldn't be out here arguing your point because you would have to look in the mirror everday knowing that your Doctor just flushed little Wall St. junior down the toilet. I'm not telling you what to do and what your rights are but any woman with a conscious or soul cannot hide behind the veil of the law and tell me that after an abortion they feel relieved or happy. The guilt i'm sure is overwhelming. I know several woman who aborted and cry everytime they see a baby .Even though abortion is the law,a woman's emotional makeup naturally will kick in when a event of this nature takes place .If you feel Guilt then nature is telling you something is inheritently wrong with the law. Thats pure logic.The two woman I know that aborted have tremendous bouts of guilt.
Rosemary B January 31, 2013 at 05:19 PM
I don't think you are doing your daughters any favors by encouraging and supporting their decision to have sex before marriage. I make sure my daughter knows that their is a tremendous amount of risk in taking that action.And she has seen the heartbreak of her friends who are having sex first hand. I don't think it makes me a prude. I think it makes me truthful.
Rosemary B January 31, 2013 at 05:32 PM
And that, Joe, is the issue that is never talked about. The lasting guilt...And the fact that many people who are Pro-Choice now once had abortions and know about all sides fro first hand experience. It is an easy and legal way out with lasting consequences that are never talked about. ...
Jenni Levy January 31, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Rosemary and Joe, you are wrong. The "lasting consequences" are talked about far too much given that they don't exist for most women. Abortion does not cause breast cancer and it does not cause overwhelming guilt. There are good studies that prove this, despite your anecdotal evidence to the contrary. I don't argue that some women feel guilty, but most feel relieved. Most women who have abortions in the US are already mothers, and are quite aware of the consequences of their decision. I trust, given your strong feelings and your desire to prevent abortion, that you are both in support of low-cost or free birth control, good sex education in schools, and funding to provide housing, medical care and food for low-income women and children. Those are the programs that have been shown - again, in well-conducted scientific studies - to lower the rate of abortion. If you're not supporting those programs, you are more interested in controlling women's behavior than you are in preventing abortion.

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