I've had this post kicking around in my head for weeks, but tomorrow is the day I plan on mailing in my absentee ballot, so maybe it's time. I hope to have the girls sit down with me at the kitchen table and watch me fill out the ballot, which will include the part where I cast my vote for Hillary Clinton.
I've felt more conflicted about this in the last two weeks than I have for the previous few months. There are a lot of things I don't like about her. But I absolutely believe she can get the job done. I respect her journey. I'm excited to have a woman president. All of these things.
But there is one specific area where I support Hillary that has caught me off guard: women's access to abortion. I KNOW.
There are horrible things written out there on both sides of this awful, false-dichotomy "pro-life vs. pro-choice" debate. It hurts my heart to even wade into it. But the moment that made me examine my own feelings was in the last debate when Donald Trump described a c-section and then called it an abortion (ripping babies from the womb at nine months gestation), and then, in great contrast to Donald in terms of style and temperament and personal experience and subject knowledge, hearing Hillary herself talk about abortion. You can view a clip of this part of the debate here.
You guys, the things Hillary said there, the way she said them...I agree with her. On some fundamental level, I feel like I'm not supposed to agree with Hillary Clinton about abortion, and yet I do.
I think that almost no women in the US go get abortions for fun, as a kind of casual birth control. I think that almost no women make the decision lightly. I think the decision is probably almost always agonizing for these women. I think that is especially true if the worst should happen in the last months of pregnancy. The scenario some politicians would have us believe of women making these decisions gleefully and undergoing such an invasive medical procedure routinely...I just don't think that's what's going on, for the most part.
And even if it is, sometimes, isn't the alternative (highly restricted access to safe, legal abortions or heavy intereference by the government in order to obtain one) almost equally horrible in many ways? We complain about insurance companies getting involved in our medical decisions - can you imagine having a judge or a committee involved in what is probably one of the worst and hardest decisions you've ever had to make in your life?
But most of all, I see the upholding of Roe v. Wade as part of a wider network of support for women - greater access to birth control in the first place. Greater support for maternity leave. Greater support for paternity leave. Improved access to quality daycare. These are the kinds of pro-life policies I can really get behind. And I think Hillary Clinton is the one who is going to get that done.
Other people have written about this subject better than me (here and here, for example). And I hope I haven't horrified anyone. I've said before that I sometimes get to feeling out of touch with mainstream whatever, living far away from the motherland. But I can't help but think that there are worse things out there than a woman being able to have access to a safe, legal abortion in a supportive environment, should she need one. In an ideal world, yes, we all of us could respect the sanctity of life in the same way. In an ideal world, we could legislate in which exact situations abortion would be moral and thus allowed (and as Clinton mentioned in the debate, there are still restrictions in place - it's not a free-for-all). But we don't live in an ideal world. Not at all.