Why I Won’t Be Celebrating Independence Day

This Independence Day feels like a thinly veiled joke. A wink wink among the Christian right and their ardent cronies. Their “pro-life” vision thinly wrapped in their convservative values around sex and marriage, deciding who has choice and agency and who does not.

It is only when I fill out those intake forms at the doctor’s office that I really ever think about the abortion I had in my early 20’s. How many pregnancies have you had? How many live births? For me the answer is four and three respectively. I was not the victim of incest, rape, or other catastrophic condition. I was simply a twenty something young woman, late to the game of romantic relationships, and in a moment of sexual exploration, a condom did not do its job.

I’m not implying that the decision to have an abortion was an easy one. It’s not and it wasn’t. But I didn’t have to cross state lines, furtively search for a provider (or these days hide my digital footprint) and spend inordinate sums of money and time that I did not have – in order to get abortion care.

But the stark choices facing me as a young twenty-something – motherhood or adoption – were not ones I was in any way, shape or form ready to take on. As an adoptee, I have very strong feelings on the topic, especially when it comes to transracial adoptions. And as a woman who has experienced three “live births” – it is not a trifling thing emotionally or physically to gestate a fertilized egg for nine months until it becomes a whole, human baby. 

Women’s bodies are not vessels to be objectified and treated as incubators. And unless you have had the experience – yes, you without a uterus – then you need to stand down, sir and shut the you-know-what up. You do not get a say here. Hard stop. Period. 

And for women who make a different choice? Good for you and I support your ability to make that decision, but your choice does not dictate for the rest of us.

I never told the guy that I was pregnant. He was not relevant. Not someone I wanted to seriously date, let alone someone to be tethered to for the rest of my life.

This happened during a time I was taking a break from the oral contraceptives I had been taking since I was a teenager – back in the day, “the pill” was regularly prescribed for girls like me with inordinately difficult cramping and menstrual issues. I wanted to let my body reset itself, naturally. It was during this brief break from the pill that I got pregnant. 

That’s it for my story. I haven’t given my experience a lot of thought outside the moments in the doctor’s office filling out those forms. Until now. 

All of my life, growing up in this country I enjoyed the fundamental right to decide if I wanted to have a child. To control my body. To enjoy the rights of personhood. In one fell swoop, a group of only five judges – erased the constitutional right to reproductive autonomy – for all women in this country. 

And now, my daughter’s personhood has been forsaken for that of a fertilized egg. 

Make no mistake. This is the embodiment of the objectification of women. Our bodies are now seen as mere vessels. The patriarchy has once again spoken and pronounced all women as less than men. 

I will not be waving the flag in celebration this fourth. I will instead rest. I will hug my daughters close. After this brief respite, I will be ready to fight again, this time with even more clarity and motivation to restore and perhaps this time to codify the rights of personhood for all women and girls. 

No more standing on the sidelines and hoping things will change. Here’s some actions we can take now – https://www.abisfreedom.com/. 

Published by kimberlystrenk

West Coast native, enjoying life in Austin, Texas with three teen daughters, awesome husband, and one adorable, vertically challenged doxie pup, Ollie.

2 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Be Celebrating Independence Day

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