Pro-choice and my self-worth
Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, January 28, 2020
I attended a private middle school, a place meant to help me grow in my education about the world but instead left me sheltered and confused. Obviously, in sixth grade we were given “the sex-ed talk,” but all that was presented were the stages of pregnancy. We were not told about abortion, condoms or the act of sex itself. Instead, we were left in the dark. My parents were of no help either — they never spoke of anything that was happening to my body. I vividly remember how disgusting and ashamed I felt getting my first period. This is not how people should feel about their bodies — as human bodies are beautiful, weird and special. I hope to tell you the story of my enlightenment as to why ensuring reproductive rights (i.e. the right to abortion) is so essential to personal freedom and personal growth.
In eighth grade, my class was required to go on the March for Life. I had no idea what abortion was, and I was merely told I was “saving babies.” Looking back on that moment, I felt I was used as a pawn for someone else’s political voice. As I grew and learned more about reproductive health, I became privy to just how essential reproductive freedom is to my life. For once, I felt good about my body. The pro-choice movement gave me the bodily agency that Catholic teaching took away from me. I did not feel shame for having periods, wanting to have sex or seeking out birth control. It was essential to formulating my self-worth as a woman. Abortion, and the right to terminating a pregnancy helps individuals with uteruses with more than addressing their immediate medical needs — but protecting that right also gives them a level of support that I have never felt within the Catholic Church.
The discourse surrounding reproductive health in the tri-campus community is similar to that which went on in middle school, where individuals know not of what they speak. They do not know of the momentous choice that is abortion — they exclusively deal in rhetoric and empty words about “caring for all humans.” As part of my Catholic education, I was told what I needed to do — but not given a concrete reason why. I feel as though the majority of Catholics in this community do not question their upbringing, even though their upbringing has violent results at times. I encourage every individual to seek out information that might challenge your point of view, as maybe the reasoning behind your ideology is not based in a process of learning and acceptance, but rather a place of isolation.
I am unapologetically pro-choice and I feel free.
Mary Marta Antonetti
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.