Thursday, May 17, 2007

Why I Support Reproductive Rights for Young Women

This is Shark-Fu's post on the aftermath of the rape of a fourteen-year old friend. It's the type of story that literlly left me shaking with rage:
When she told me I was horrified for her…deflated because this young woman has already been through a lot of shit in her life...and angry that rape was now being added to a list that reads like an indictment of our society’s devaluing of human dignity and life.

Then I asked her if she was offered emergency contraception.

She wasn’t.

I asked if she knew what emergency contraception is.

She did, but admitted that she was too upset to even think about asking for it.

That’s when I got angry.

As I drove her to Planned Parenthood…I offered that as a way to get a handle on her options and she accepted…my blood pressure shot through the roof.

A 14 year old was raped…she did the right thing and went to the hospital…she was offered tests and counseling…but she wasn’t offered emergency contraception.

As a sister in the struggle I am beyond words.

A 14 year old was raped and she wasn’t offered the emergency contraception I have personally spent time working to make available to all women who find themselves in such situations.

I certainly want 14 year old rape victims to be given the option.

I sure as shit wanted the young woman in question to have been.

When we arrived at Planned Parenthood we got another dose of reality. It was too late for emergency contraception but too early to find out if the monster who raped her had also gotten her pregnant.

With an appointment having been set we left…walked out and got into my car…drove past the crowd of anti-choice protesters who chose that moment to thrust dead baby pictures at my window…and out onto the road.

I drove…and then I pulled over, turned and folded her into my arms.

We wept…rocking back and forth on the side of the road...and I have no idea who was comforting whom.

The thing is...this young woman is strength.

That 14 year old is the very definition of what strength is.

But I am struggling to turn rage back into usable energy…frustration into action.

This is one of the reasons I support access to birth control to women of all ages, no questions asked. What this young women went through, no person should be forced to endure. That she might become pregnant after this ordeal, because emergency contraception isn't considered the default option after a rape is appalling. We can't ask for anything more from this survivor. It's our job, as a society, to give her what she needs--and what she needs is appropriate health care. Stories like this obliterate whatever sympathy I had towards society's hang-ups on this issue. Get over it, and get her the care she needs.

And the anti-abortion protesters...Good Lord. I hope God has mercy on them for what they did, because I sure don't.

Via Majikthise

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