I got a comment from a reader on my last blog who was basically annoyed with me because she felt I voted with my vagina. Which is strange because I didn’t even know my vagina had fingers (although my husband does claim it has magical properties). Anyway, she was generally ticked that I vote for President Obama (or any other candidate who supports a woman’s right to choose, thinks birth control should be included in health care, and believes all rape is “legitimate”) because I’m a woman.
The thing is, I do feel very strongly about women’s issues. I’m a woman — these policies will directly affect me. If I were an African American living in 1960′s Alabama, clearly I wouldn’t be voting for George Wallace. And if I were a poor/elderly/disabled person and major cuts to social programs that were going to keep me alive were in play, clearly I’d be voting for the pro-social programs person.
So as the person who is directly affected, yes, I vote to make sure my freedoms remain intact. To prevent us from all slowly slipping into burkas (metaphorically or literally). To give all the girls in this world — not just the ones who can afford birth control or are well connected enough to have an abortion when they need one — a fair shot.
I also don’t want to deal with the fallout for my husband. He’s an emergency room doctor, and if abortion became illegal, his job would get much more complicated. Every time he sees a young women with abdominal pain, he’ll need to rule out the possibility of a botched abortion. Of course, the woman won’t admit to having had an abortion because that would be illegal. And if you think women will stop having or trying to have abortions just because they aren’t safe and legal, you haven’t read your history books (well, maybe you have, but they were the ones printed in Texas).
And I just need to say here that I’m not a fan of abortion. It’s not like I go around telling people it’s a swell idea. I mean, of course it awful. Of course it’ll mess with a person. Of course it has consequences. And logistically speaking, everyone knows it’s not going to be fun (I mean, it’s not like anyone even likes going in for a pap smear, so come on). But sometimes, the alternative just sucks worse.
And really, that’s what this comes down to — I’m not going to be the one to go around deciding which alternative is less sucky for someone else.
Not to mention, I think the idea of assigning “personhood” to something that’s nowhere near fully formed as a human being is, well, kind of freaky. Next thing you know we’ll be attending memorial ceremonies for miscarriages and seeing the refrigerator repair guy go to jail when a bunch of embryos accidentally thaw out.
But back to the voting. . . yes, I vote for myself. I vote for my daughter. I vote for other women. But you know what? So does my husband. And so do all my male friends (the good ones anyway). And I’m going to take a wild leap and say that when he hits 18, my son will too.
So it’s true that I have a vagina. And I vote for people and policies that’ll do it right (okay, bring on the jokes, get it out of your system). But I’d also vote against George Wallace. And I always vote to help the poor, the elderly, and the disabled.
Make no mistake — when I say I can’t believe any woman would vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan because of their records on women’s issues, it’s not because I think only women should have a stake in this. If you’re a man who cares about women — who cares about humans — I would hope you’re thinking the same thing.
Especially if y’all want to keep having sex with us. And I’m pretty sure you do.
So you see, this isn’t really a women’s issue. It’s a people issue.
It’s just that the people with the vaginas have a lot more to lose.