Today, January 22, 2013, is the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when the Supreme Court ruled that abortion should be legal. Once again on this date, we’re participating in NARAL’s Blog for Choice Day. And this year bloggers are sharing our personal stories about why we’re pro-choice.
This year I’m thinking about choice in terms of work. Today women make up approximately half of the workforce. Among married couples where both partners work, wives earn an average of 38 percent of family income, and nearly 40 percent of the women are out-earning their husbands. Some economists predict that in just a few years, more families will be supported by women than by men.
Women must have the ability to plan their families if they are going to be able to plan their careers. And if women are contributing such a significant portion of the necessary income to support families, than doesn’t pro-choice mean pro-family?
In researching my forthcoming book, I’ve been talking to women all over the country about how they manage careers, family, and marriage. They’re stories are incredible – from getting up at 5 a.m. to make school lunches, in order to get to work by 8, so they can leave by 4, so they can feed their children dinner before they take them to a lesson or a practice, after which they go home and jump on the computer again in order to respond to work emails. These women aren’t complaining. This is what they do and this is how they do it. But they are concerned. They’re concerned about being good mothers and they’re concerned about being good employees. They are constantly weighing their children’s emotional needs against their family’s financial needs. They’re worried about turning down a promotion or a plum assignment as it might affect their earning potential. They’re weighing the pros and cons of being more available when they’re children are infants, or toddlers or teens.
These women are caregivers: emotional and financial. They are making the best choices possible for themselves and their families. And in order to do that, they need access to a full spectrum of reproductive heath choices and the freedom to decide what is best for them. They need the ability to plan when and how to have a family. And that is why I am pro-choice.