The first time I got arrested

The first time I was arrested I was 16. My parents still don’t know. I refused to move when the police instructed me to; forty five minutes later when they got around to processing us and I gave them my high school ID, declaring me a high school sophomore, they told me to just go home. They didn’t care to deal with a minor who had committed the very serious crime of blocking a public street.

I was arrested for blocking a group of protestors in front of a local abortion clinic. They were on the sidewalk. I was in the street. They were allowed to continue holding signs depicting huge, blown up pictures of aborted fetuses and those of us holding signs that said “Support women!” and “Choice Rocks” were arrested.

Yeah, it felt wrong then, too.

I have never lived in a time when abortion was not legal – by the time I was born abortion had been legal in the US for over 15 years. By the time I .knew. what abortion .was. I had been indoctrinated by the church that it was a Very Bad Thing that only Very Bad Women got. As time went on I began volunteering with Planned Parenthood, forming my own thoughts and opinions and sexual ethics.

A few years ago I was asked why I, as a queer identified woman (at the time) who only slept with women (at the time), I fought so hard for services that I thought I would likely never need*. I had a hard time articulating it, and brought it to a friend, asking if she thought it was weird. “No,” she said, and we talked about bodily autonomy, and reproductive ethics and how, in many ways, the two movements (right to choice, and LGBT rights) had followed the same trajectory for a lot of the same reasons.

This movement isn’t about me, or you, or any individual. It is about trusting people to make decisions about their body. I know my body better than anybody else. You know your body better than anybody else. Nobody should be able to make decisions about our bodies; not friends or parents (after a certain age) or lovers and certainly not a bunch of politicians in DC.

Let’s not forget those who fought, long and hard and tirelessly, for our right to choose and let’s honor them by living up to the standard that the pioneers set. Let’s trust people with their own bodies.

Please consider donating to an organization that protects the right to choose today. More information on the blogathon can be found at Amplify.

*As my friend Daunasia pointed out, LGB youth are actually more likely to get pregnant or get somebody pregnant than their peers.

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4 Comments to “The first time I got arrested”

  1. I’m one who worked hard for the right to reproductive choice, giving six years of my life to employment with Planned Parenthood before going to seminary. I still think it’s the best thing since sliced bread, and am totally and 100% pro choice, knowing that sometimes that means continuing a pregnancy (and I have the stories to back it up).

    Here in PA we are reeling from the news of a doctor who ran an abortion clinic in Philadelphia that went uninspected for many years despite numerous complaints. I will spare your readers the grisly details, but it was just what the anti-abortion folks make such a big issue about. The worst news, just out today, is that the state Health Department decided to stop inspections of abortion clinics under the governorship of Tom Ridge (two governors back) because he was pro-choice. Is that stupid, or what? Of course abortion clinics need to be inspected and held to regulations, so that women can be guaranteed safe, clean, medically regulated abortions. The anti-choice folks are going to make hay of this, and it breaks my heart.

  2. “As my friend Daunasia pointed out, LGB youth are actually more likely to get pregnant or get somebody pregnant than their peers.”

    do you know of a source for this information? i’d definitely like to include it in my sex & consent workshop.

  3. I am super duper pro-choice (as in safe, legal, affordable abortions on demand, no apologies), even as a lesbian identified woman. My partner, our former roommate and I (all lesbian identified) organized a counter protest at our local planned parenthood where the only people who reliably showed were also lesbian identified. One of these woman, Angie Young, made a documentary “The Coat Hanger Project” and we were interviewed both about the counter protests we organized and about our role in the pro-choice movement as women who do not sleep with men. It’s a really well done documentary and if ever get a chance to go to a screening, I recommend it!

  4. I forget who originally said this, but it struck me deeply when I heard it, as to why EVERYONE should be pro-choice. “Any government that can forbid you to have an abortion can also require you to have one.”

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