My choice, your choice: Trusting women to decideI have a new grandson — healthy, strong and beautiful like his mother, my 22-year-old daughter. He was born Feb. 10 at 2:32 p.m., weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces, and was 18-1/2 inches long.
By: Tammy Francois, for the Duluth Budgeteer News
I have a new grandson — healthy, strong and beautiful like his mother, my 22-year-old daughter. He was born Feb. 10 at 2:32 p.m., weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces, and was 18-1/2 inches long.
On that morning, I got word that my daughter was in labor, so I tossed a bag into the car and headed south, hoping to make it in time for his birth. I got there 10 minutes late, but I almost didn't make it at all. For me, the road leading up to that moment, both literally and figuratively, had been long and bumpy.
I was not happy when my under-employed, college-student daughter who was still living in my basement told me she was expecting a baby. In fact, I suspect that someday a transcript of those early conversations will be part of a “very special Dr. Phil” show. I was furious and, frankly, incredulous.
Over the years, my daughter and I had many, many conversations about contraception and related topics and the importance of giving children the best possible start in life — educated parents, economic stability, and stable housing. But theory did not translate to application in the way that I had hoped, and I admit to being angry, very angry.
My daughter is a classically trained pianist and composer who wrote her first piece of music at age 9. She recorded a CD of beautiful, original music when she was 14. She has an extraordinary gift.
All I could see when she told me she was pregnant was that her gifts would go unrealized; she would be far too busy struggling to make ends meet and would still fall far short of being able to provide for the needs of another dependent little person.
I felt certain that I knew what I could expect from this situation, and I was not so sure that it was a good idea for her to continue with her pregnancy. There, I said it. My daughter did not see it that way.
I am unapologetically pro-choice. Please do not interpret this to mean that I am pro-abortion; it’s not the same thing. For me, it comes down to the right of every person to make their own medical decisions. To deny someone of this right makes us all vulnerable to intrusion that does not square with our highest ideals of free society and a freedom from unwarranted scrutiny and involvement by government in our lives.
The irony here is that I have been vehement about defending women’s right to discontinue their pregnancies (and I still do), but in this situation, I was faced with a woman, my daughter, who was determined to be a parent. I found myself adamantly opposed to her decision — her choice.
I hate it when irony takes a bite out of my backside, but the bite was necessary. I could not claim to be a proponent of the right to choose only if I agreed with the choice. It doesn't work that way, and it shouldn’t.
As I watch politicians attempting to turn a narrow definition of morality into legislation and hear radio personalities demeaning women who question the effort to proscribe reproductive rights, I am reminded that we cannot take any of our rights for granted. My daughter exercised her legal rights. Another woman may have exercised her legal rights in a different way and according to her own values and conscience. I trust them both and I will vote accordingly. Will you join me?
Tammy François is an older-than-average college student living in Morgan Park.