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Feminism (part one)

So a while back I started writing a blog about feminism and what it means to me. I shelved it because it's the kind of thing you want to get right. That one was a more general, and at times light hearted (because it's ok to be light hearted and feminist too)

However something happened this week that made me want to write a more serious version of it, and one that touches on a couple of more serious issues. This is not a personal attack on anyone who was involved in the discussion that elicited this blog, rather see this blog as my 'right of reply' maybe.

This week I heard Feminism equated with anti-abortion and I said quite simply 'That is not feminism as I understand it' Feminism respects the right of an individual to be anti-abortion in their personal life, for whatever reasons they feel. Feminism would not however advocate anti-abortion as a general stance as this removes a woman's right to choose and is as much oppression as men telling women they cannot have abortions.

The feminist stance must always be pro-choice on the marco level. The key is in that second word 'CHOICE' this includes a woman's personal prerogative to take an anti abortion stance but for themselves alone. They may express their opinion as to why abortion is 'wrong' or simply not for them, but they cannot in the name of Feminism or anything else claim that for all other women. If it is a religious issue then of course they can say 'because of my particular belief for me abortion is not right' but they should impose that on others and call it feminism. Likewise I disagree with imposing your own religious beliefs on those of other faiths (for the moment keeping within abortion) if your faith forbids abortion, and you abide by that aspect of that faith. Fine, I respect that, I may challenge if invited in discussion this and any other aspect of faith that came up for discussion, but I respect that as a person's religious and personal choice. If a person tells me that because their faith forbids it, then I must also not do so even though I am not of that faith then it becomes problematic.

The second aspect of 'Pro-Choice' is again emphasis  on that second word, CHOICE. No woman, I imagine, or make a reasonable guess (as I cannot claim really to speak for all women) no woman would be pro-abortion.

I was told this morning I do not value life. I do value life, that is why I am pro-choice. I believe in the value of a mother's life above all things and that is also the medical approach to pregnancy birth and abortion. I cannot in good conscience agree with any moral, social or yes religious stance that would let a mother die for her unborn baby if something could be done to save her life. Even if, in the most tragic of circumstances that means the loss of the baby.

I also believe that a Mother's life as priority extends beyond that of literal life or death situations. There are many complex reasons why a woman would seek abortion not all of them directly medical. It is not my place unless I am that woman or her doctor to tell anyone what they should and shouldn't do in that situation. And that is what Feminism means in this situation. The choice should be there for a woman, and nobody woman or man should interfere.

I am shocked that in 2013 I live in a world where Wendy Davis had to stand on the floor of the Texas Capitol for nearly 13 hours to defend women's right to abortion. In Britain, where I am thankfully there are better protections, better laws in place and a better healthcare systems that allows on the whole good and safe access. What is not better is the judgement women face.

And it's that judgement that isn't feminist. I respect any women who when faced with a difficult decision about pregnancy decides that abortion isn't for her. Likewise I respect any woman who decides that, after much deliberation and careful thought, that yes abortion will be the best option. That is what pro-choice means. That is what feminism means here also.

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