Owning Myself

I have been thinking about choice and control a lot in the last week.  The the Silence is the Enemy blog campaign, and the murder of Dr. Tiller have coincided with a time that I am having to make a number of medical decisions.  All of the medical people I have been dealing with have been carefully discussing options with me, and completely respectful of my choices. I am in control of what is done as much as anybody can be.

It is startling and uncomfortable to note that many would want that control taken away from me if I were a pregnant woman.

At the core of the anti-choice movement, and the rape culture is the unspoken idea that women in particular, but also children, and any one weaker than their attacker, do not own their own bodies.  They do not get to say how they are used and who uses them.

The anti-choice people want to make the debate about ‘killing babies’ and ignore the forced pregnancy aspect of their position.  Listening to them over the last week, I have heard no concern for the mothers whose babies are killing them, or whose babies have died inside of them and need to be removed to protect the mothers health.  These are the people Dr. Tiller helped when no one else would.

I do not condsider a fertilized ovum to be a person, but even if I did, I could not grant that person the right to commandeer the body of another person to serve its needs.  Many, even most, parents are willing to sacrifice for their children.  But if they are not willing, no court will compel the parent of a five year old to donate blood, much less a kidney or bone marrow, or part of a liver to save their child’s life.  How can a fetus have greater rights than a five year old?

Ultimately it comes down to the question of who owns my body.  If it is mine, no one should be allowed to use it without my consent.

Silence Is The Enemy

There is a concerted effort in the blogosphere this month to draw attention to the mass rape of women and young girls, particularly in Liberia.  It is being organized by Sheril Kirshenbaum at The Intersection.  She will have updates throughout the month, and has a list of actions we can take to raise awareness.  This has to stop being the unspeakable crime, because if we can’t speak about it we can’t stop it.

She and a group of other bloggers will be donating all of their blog income this month to Doctors Without Borders, who treat many of the victims.  Income is determined by blog traffic, so you can contribute just by clicking through to the blogs. You can find a list of the blog coalition here.  If you follow any of these blogs in a reader, you need to click through to the blog itself to generate the increase it traffic that will increase contributions.

You can also increase the profile of this issue by blogging about it yourself, and linking to these blogs.

Update:  The bloggers who are donating their proceeds are:

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/
http://scienceblogs.com/isisthescientist/
http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/
http://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/
http://scienceblogs.com/neurotopia/
http://scienceblogs.com/authority/
http://scienceblogs.com/drugmonkey/
http://scienceblogs.com/ethicsandscience/