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Are You There God? It’s Me Afrocity: Being A Pro-Choice Republican Without Illusions August 31, 2009

my choiceMore than any other device, the image is the surest way to transcend all barriers.  Achieving a certain notoriety for fascinating the voyeuristic side in all of us, the image is not exclusively  male or female because the common vantage point is that we all have eyes.

When I look at pro-life and pro choice “propaganda”, a term I resisted granted truthfully, that is what it is propaganda or something that persuades and appeals to emotions, I see that the abortion debate is handled in such a way that there is really no middle ground. The accusations are inescapable. Either you believe in murdering babies or you don’t. You are either for women’s rights or you’re not.

In a video interview I taped earlier this month, I described how my political location is life was racially constructed. How does this apply translate to my opinion on abortion? Is it racially constructed as well?

The sexual education between my mother and I was for the most part one without words. Pregnancy was the worse thing that could happen to a black girl. Books open, legs shut was the mantra. Abstinence is the best policy. Did she tell me what sex actually was? No.

It was not until I watched soft porn with my sound asleep uncle that I realized that babies are not made by a woman and a man “lying close together in bed”.

My uncle had the Spectrum cable channel- which was one of the first along with HBO and Showtime. He did not pay for it but somehow we received the signal in his bedroom.  In my need for a masculine figure of authority in my life, I would watch movies in his room as I did my homework. His drunken raucous laughter was somehow calming. Unlike his sister/my mother, he drank heavily and was not always sad. I accepted his Hiram Walker and Sons manufactured mirth over my mother’s growing despondency. Uncle and I would begin by watching action movies or comedies. Being a night owl by nature, I would stay up well past my uncle’s bedtime.

When the adult movies began at 1am, did Afrocity turn off the TV set?

Not on your life. I stayed and watched. Curiosity killed the young PUMA cat.

The abortion dress is said to be the most ripped off image on the internet.

The abortion dress is said to be the most ripped off image on the internet.

At 13 years of age, I  was perceptive enough to determine that these movies were created by men for men. In many films, the women were initially raped but later appear as if they actually enjoyed the attack. Others engaged in lesbian behavior yet there were no representations of men sleeping with men while women watched for pleasure and enjoyment. Then there were the insatiable nymphomaniacs. The woman who can’t seem to get enough.

Through my delicate pre-teen lens  I was the the willing voyeur, watching these forbidden movies which embodied masculine principals of patriarchy and submission. Women were not in a position of power in most of the films, save for several films featuring porn star Marilyn Chambers. Even so, it seemed that Marilyn  thought she was in complete control although I am not sure if walking home with a limp is considered power no matter how much you enjoyed it.

Abortion and rape figured prominently in several films I watched but here again, it was the male who determined whether or not the woman would be “allowed” to end the life of her unborn child.

It was “her fault” that she got pregnant and she would need “his money” to fix it.

To solidify this argument, one film featured a woman who was a naughty housewife. She was of course a nymphomaniac that her husband, while charming could not satiate. She attends a blindfolded only orgy and has sex with a kosher dill pickle, three women and several men. Later when she discovers that her sexual escapade has rendered her pregnant, she cannot afford the abortion with her monthly allowance from dear sweet protective hubby.

To make matters worse hubby was wounded in Vietnam and cannot father a child. As the movie progresses, the feminine antagonist is screwed both literally and figuratively. Her power karma dwindles as she has to prostitute herself for money in order to pay for the abortion.  At the sobering conclusion of the film, our wing clipped heroine is robbed of her abortion kitty by her final customer. But all is not lost. A member of the dominant gender,an abortionist  enters her life and gives her an abortion in return for a sexual encounter.

The erosion of this female character’s strength was what remained with me the most. It was not the gratuitous penis shots, or kinky sex (though that was a pretty big cumber pickle), what stayed with me was her total lack of control.

Roe v. Wade gave us the right to choose but this pornographic film stripped that right away by placing the financing of the abortion, back in the hands of the patriarchy.  Perhaps this was the day I became  pro-choice but I also became pro-women’s empowerment.  Pregnancy is exclusively female along with menstruation. Women should have the right to control what happens to their bodies. I will never change that opinion despite being a Republican.

Not being a mother, I am of course more familiar with the latter bodily function- menstruation.  Now this is the part where I may risk some readers but here goes…

Such imagery only angers and widens the gap between pro-life and pro-choice.

Such imagery only angers and widens the gap between pro-life and pro-choice.

Sunday mine began, as it has since I was 13.  I am also taking antibiotics for a sinus infection which in turn caused me to develop a yeast infection.  Strolling down the Walgreen ailse basket in hand, my mouth drops open at the price of sanitary napkins. $7.99 for a 28 count package of Stayfree maxipads without wings.

The tension between my monthly flow and my cash flow has always been an issue.

I asked myself a rather trivial question. During my lifetime, how much have I spent on feminine products? If I only knew.

While growing up, I never ever saw my mother buy feminine products. We had no money.

You could not buy them with foodstamps.

My guess is that she used discarded old towels we had.

I assume this because she attempted to coax me into a similar practice when we were without money. Our discourse exchange on the matter was burdened by the 31 year gap in our ages. With my first period, I insisted to be taken to the store for pads. Thanks to sexual education in school, I knew they existed. Tampon usage was shunned by most in my class including the teachers. The awful myth circulating was that any girl who uses a tampon is automatically NOT a virgin and will perish a horrendous death of toxic shock syndrome.

Succumbing to her thoroughly modern daughter, mother purchased the old beltless bulky pads for me and did not know how to put them on me. When I ran ou of thoset, I went to the school nurse  pretending my period had caught me off guard. After doing this ten times or so, the nurse caught on and gave me a box of pads once a month.

Abortion-Rights-02

“I have too many and would only throw them out, ” she said.

I was thankful that they had sticky stuff on the bottom and did not have to use safety pins. That nurse fed me the self esteem needed by a maturing young woman. Thank God for school nurses and sex education. The nurse was a woman helping a girl. I could trust her and she knew what it was like to be me. Now what if it were more than just pads that I needed? Should my mother know about it? I thought of the woman in the porn movie. What if I needed an abortion? Take into consideration this article which appeared on Townhall.com by Star Parker, a wonderful conservative that happens to be African American like me:

Abortion 3Monday, August 31, 2009

Star Parker :: Townhall.com Columnist

A time for truth on abortion
by Star Parker

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin missed a great opportunity to personally kick off an issue of enormous importance to her state and to the nation.

She was scheduled to appear with me at an Alaska Family Council event in Anchorage to launch Alaska’s Parental Involvement Initiative, which will require parental notification of teenage girls under age 18 before they can get an abortion. But, the schedules of we mortals cannot retard the imperatives of history, so, despite Mrs. Palin’s absence, we’ve gone to war with the army we have.

Currently 35 states have laws that require either parental consent or notification in order for a teenage girl to receive an abortion. Alaska passed one in 1997.

However, after ten years on the books, in 2007 the Alaska Supreme Court, arguing that sharing this information with parents violated the privacy of their teenage daughters, found the law unconstitutional. So now a 13 year old can get an abortion without the knowledge of her parents.

A large percentage of these abortions are paid for with state Medicaid funds, but no one seems to think that parents’ privacy is being violated using their tax funds to pay for these.

Research shows the remedial benefits of parental involvement when a pregnant teenager considers abortion.

And research shows the profound psychological damage caused by teenage abortion. But, perhaps we should be wondering who we are today that we need to gather data to address an issue as intuitively obvious as whether a teenage girl may abort her child without her parents knowing.

Of course there are exceptional considerations, like abusive parents. But the Alaska initiative deals with this, as did a similar initiative in California, which was defeated last November.

No, this is not about being reasonable. It is about ideology. And what we have are opposing worldviews that cannot be reconciled. It’s about choosing one or the other.

Yeast cartoonYes, I am pro-choice and Republican but even I have my limits. Whether in the name of privacy or under the guise of women’s rights, I do not believe that it is fair for pro-choice advocates to exclude parental consent when it comes to a 13 year old girl, not a woman but a girl, having an abortion. A 13 year  parents should be involved in that decision or at the very least be aware that their child is sexually active.

My decision to be pro-choice is based upon a woman’s right to privacy.

Speaking of privacy over twenty years later, I am no longer the girl in the school nurse’s office. Here I am a full grown woman, standing in a Walgreens drugstore aisle with a problem. The yeast infection medication I need is behind a locked Plexiglas cabinet along with pregnancy tests and ovulation detectors.  Great, now my purchase of this embarrassing product entails my announcing to the Walgreens powers that be that I need something to stop croissant production. Of course with my luck, the only person available to open the security case for me is an Asian man of about 30.

“Which item do you want?” he asked timidly. This poor man did not want to help me and the feeling was mutual. But there we were.

I pointed to the yeast infection treatment that was on sale for $9.95 down from $18.95. Seems my timing was not so bad after all- yeast must be in season. I noted that the store clerk did not look me in the eye. With a quick “thanks”, I took my yeast killers and maxi pads to the cashier who was also a male. I placed my feminine items on the counter along with a bag of 5 flavored Life Savers roll candy. The male cashier flirted with me until he saw the guilty products, Life Savers roll candy and Vagistat, I must be a real winner.

“Do you want me to double bag this?” he asked. His face was red. He was wearing lots of liberal flair. An Obama button (ick) along with another pin that read “Green is the new black”.

Why the red face? Being a liberal, he must understand my plight as a woman.Surely he is a feminist and cares about my monthly cell slouthing activites.

Shaking my head, I said “No, why should anymore trees have to die because I have a yeast infection…I will pay by debit card.”

Yes, with one swipe of rectangular plastic, I do have the power.

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY


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22 Responses to “Are You There God? It’s Me Afrocity: Being A Pro-Choice Republican Without Illusions”

  1. The great mysteries of female mystique… I never so much heard about nor was ever aware of any such concerns growing up as I did a boy in a family full of boys with one sister and mother who was pragmatic, prudent, and proper. It was not that we were unaware that such items existed; I along with my siblings all saw these purchases come in the house.

    They were however shrouded in a type of medieval secrecy which seemed to hold all of us boys in abeyance before the awesome power of a woman’s “pocketbook” into which we were never permitted to peer lest our eyes fall upon some “female product” and we be blinded as by staring unshaded into the sun.

    We knew of course why and for what purpose these “items” existed, but we dared not comment on them, nor ask about them, nor even acknowledge their existence. It was not a shameful thing, but rather seemed some great and ancient sorority into which my sister, once initiated, could never be expelled, and into which and about which no male dare enter nor even ask about.

  2. ARESAY Says:

    I consider myself a “Pro-babicide, anti partial birth abortion” conservative, Christian.
    If you believe in the biblical theory of free will, then how could you be against the right of a mother to kill the life that grows in her? Of course with those rights come the responsibilities and consequences of the killer’s actions.
    Just don’t involve those who don’t agree with abortion, which means no public money for “babicide”. Let the “Pro-babicide” groups put up the blood money and the “Anti-babicide” groups can work to inform mothers of the consequences of the choice.

  3. LJSNAustin Says:

    “Croissant production”…..LMAO!

  4. Holly Says:

    As a woman, I have a right to my body, but I also can give the right for someone to enter my body. When you allow someone to penetrate you as such, you are sharing your body and sharing the consequences. The consequences of sex include pregnancy…I believe we are all aware of this. This is a shared and equal partnership. One cannot now claim to have full ownership over a shared creation, and if women feel they can, what is the point in men or in fathers? Do women declare when a man can be a father?

    I do not associate with feminism because there is a only one question they ask, “are you pro-choice?” If the answer is no, then you are not a good enough woman. I want nothing to do with this supposed feminist movement, because they do not fight for women, they only fight for aboriton. When is it that we stopped fighting for eachother and segregated ourselves into warring parties that will never reconcile? And since when is it that we as women stopped celebrating motherhood?

    I do sincerely respect and celebrate our ability to have this open dialogue and I respect your opinions and those who have commented, but I do honestly feel that this topic deserved more respect than it was given.

    • afrocity Says:

      While I agree with you that a majority of feminists are pro-choice. I do not agree that they only fight for abortion. They also fight for many other causes that are liberal and they fight for many women that are liberal until she is battling a man that is liberal like Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. If womens rights are to be championed than women of every political must take ownership of it.

      After living in situations where women have taken their own lives in order to escape pregnancy, I will always advocate pro-choice. Abortions will take place whether they are legal or not. There is evidence that they were preformed even during biblical days. Vera Drake, Revolutionary Road are all movies which show this. My aunt had 6 abortions all before Roe v. Wade. I would rather have them performed in a safe environment and a place where a woman can seek counseling than a return to the coat hanger days.

      Life is a choice and that is what my mother chose, despite an appointment to abort me in 1968 before Roe v. Wade. It was not a law that saved me from abortion. It was my mothers choice. That choice was in her hands whether it was legal or not. I would choose not to have an abortion today.

      It is illegal to murder all human beings but our jails are still crowded with murders.

      My theory is prevent the pregnancy before the abortion issue becomes the problem.

      • Holly Says:

        I agree that we should prevent pregnancy before abortion becomes the crux of the conversation. Sadly, our society celebrates and glorifies sex, while shrugging off the responsibilities of sex to young people in this country.

        What we are missing is an actual dialogue between women, young people, and a society as a whole. We talk about pro-life and pro-choice without even talking about sex. We don’t talk about how sex is more than just physical, but can be “wow,” messy, clumsy, emotional, spirtitual, and especially for young girls, a life altering experience. We don’t speak about why the institution of marriage is great for sex and how it is built to celebrate sex and establishes a trust in this physical relationship that any consequence will be met as a unit. Sex is not bad, but it is not for children either.

        Until we begin to sincerely address why most abortions occurr, rather than simply yelling at one another about who is a better woman, I do not think anything will improve in this debate. Women should lead this discussion, but if this is the example of how we as women lead…it is embarrassing example to show society.

      • Holly Says:

        I just happen to be listening to South Park at work (yes, I am very diligent at my job) and it is the episode about how parents are forcing the schools to change their policies to teach sex-ed at younger ages so that parents are not faced with this responsibility. Evading responsibility is a huge problem in our society. Parents need to re-invest in their children’s lives and keep government out in my opinion. We have handed off too much responsibility, where we want the government to do everything for us. This needs to stop.

        South Park is awesome.

  5. Lance Adrean Says:

    “My decision to be pro-choice is based upon a woman’s right to privacy.”

    the unborn HUMAN (choice) BEING was not available for comment…her/his body parts were floating around the toilet.

    Choose on!!!

    signed: not coming back

  6. Stilton Says:

    I just want to thank you for this sincere, truthful, and moving piece. I’m conservative (and you’ve featured my blog posts on your site in the past, for which I’m extremely grateful) but I’m also pro-choice…albeit in principle as opposed to the woeful and immoral way abortion is too frequently practiced today.

    I believe that people do have the right to make life and death choices…whether to create life or, to a limited extent, to end it. But never without thinking about who else will be affected, and to what extent. Never casually. Never selfishly.

    It takes courage for a conservative to take your stand…which is all the more reason I want to stand with you (granted, being male it’s somewhat easier for me).

    Thanks for your thoughts and, as always, your wonderful blog.

    • afrocity Says:

      Thank you Stilton. I love your cartoons and they give great inspiration to myself and many other conservatives. I have even featured you today!!!

      It is great to meet a conservative male that is pro-choice, please do speak out and stand with me. Liberals like to stereotype all conservatives as pro-life but I am meeting many, especially women who vote Republican and are pro-choice.

      Your comments are always welcome here.

      • Stilton Says:

        I agree with your point that life begins at conception, and so I believe that terminating a pregnancy is an actual human death, not a disposal of inconvenient tissue. And so it is a decision which needs to be approached with the greatest of solemnity.

        When we choose to conceive a child (deliberately), we’re also making a life-and-death decision. That’s our right and a tremendous responsibility. We may also have to make end-of-life care decisions that can amount to hastening death (usually to help end the suffering of a loved one).

        I don’t approach any of this from a theological standpoint, and I have only the greatest respect for people who let their religious beliefs guide them on this issue.

        So I don’t consider myself “pro-choice” in the way the liberals would define it; I’m in favor of informed choice…careful choice…reluctant choice.

        The way abortion is currently practiced in this country offends and saddens me beyond words. But I can’t support laws which would take such an important choice away from sincere, caring, intelligent people just because so many other people choose to act irresponsibly.

        I’ll also mention that I think it’s really important for conservatives to have a “big tent” that allows us to disagree on some issues – even important issues – while remaining allied on other important points of agreement. In the long run, that can help encourage more people to migrate into conservatism and discover that the diversity of their views is respected and welcomed.

  7. Joanelle Says:

    Hi, AC!

    I applaud you for this post. I have always been of the mind that the government should keep it’s hands off my body. All those guys making decisions about women’s bodies after making the mess in the first place – eeesh

    When my husband and I were married we wanted children – we had a terrible time getting pregnant (wouldn’t you know it?)
    Eventually I had 6 pregancies but only 2 “live births” – 3 were miscarriages – one almost killed me.

    And one my doctor recommended termination because the fetus was not growing and he feared for my life – but although he did the termination (technical abortion) he had to meet me at a clinic – not his office or the hospital. Here we wanted children sooo badly and went through an awful period of our lives.

    BTW – take probiotics (or yogart might do the trick) when on antibiotics and you most likely won’t get yeast infections – I take them everyday and it keeps my system in balance.

    • afrocity Says:

      Hello Joanelle,

      Thanks for the tip on the antibiotics. I will try that next time.

      Your story will resonate with many, thank you for sharing it with my readers.

      I have always said that the abortion issue kept me in the Democratic party but I decided that it would no longer hold me back from joining the Republicans who I identified with on many other levels.
      As Republicans, we say that we are against government interference however, anti-abortion legislation contradicts this Republican value.

      I would not have an abortion unless my life was in danger. My mother bore a child spawn of rape, he was later adopted by the very man that raped her. She is dead now but I am sure that man is somewhere hopefully leading a productive life. The goodness in my mother lives inside of him, despite the evil act in which he was created.

      • Holly Says:

        No, the government is supposed to build a system that protects its citizens…all of them. When a man committs a murder of a woman carrying child, we prosecute for a double homicide…why the double standard? It is either a child or it isn’t. We can’t have it both ways.

        In order to have this conversation though, we must take care of the larger issues at hand that are going on in this country, because this debate can only exist in a free society, of which is seemingly dissipating.

      • afrocity Says:

        Holly, you make a good point, it is a double standard. I have always known that life begins at conception- that is my belief but I am still pro–choice.

  8. Great post. You always have a powerful hook 🙂

    I am pro choice also. The far right should get its dogma out of my womb!

    “We are not bodies with souls but souls with bodies.”–Alan Watts. If the soul is immortal, as the far right insists, then life does not end at death and so cannot be said to “begin” at conception. Conception is merely the start of a body–a tiny one within another fully grown body whose needs should surely take precedence. The far right should be confident enough in their God to know that each soul that needs a body is surely going to get a one. Seriously, nothing we do here on earth is going to affect that in the end. Aborting a fetus is stopping a process that would end in a separate human body at its finish–it is hubristic and foolish for humans to think we are actually creating or destroying souls–only God can do that.

  9. Throbert McGee Says:

    Afrocity — You totally rock! I generally find it difficult to describe myself as “pro-choice” because I don’t want to be associated with the repulsive “it’s just a blob of tissue” rhetoric and the general devaluation of motherhood that characterizes *some* of the more strident voices on the pro-choice side. Yet at the same time, it’s always seemed perfectly obvious to me that if I can’t persuade a woman to carry her baby to term using a reasoned argument, then I certainly have no right to prevent her from seeking a safe abortion. So the idea of a sweeping legal ban on abortion is also repulsive to me, and in that sense I’m unapologetically “pro-choice,” I guess.

  10. Maggie Says:

    Hi Afrocity,

    I belong to the Pro-life group of people. I see in your decision to be pro-choice an issue that few of us truly understand. You said that you were among young women who committed suicide because they could not have an abortion. To me that is a very sad indictment upon the society in which they lived.

    First of all, I do agree that if there must be an abortion it should be in a clean environment. I abhor the idea of RU486 because it has been known to kill young women. Only a safe method should be used for abortion.

    Second, I will never back the idea of govt funding for abortion.

    Third, I think that what needs to be removed is the stigma of being pregnant. What was it that made those girls commit suicide just because they were pregnant? It was not really about being unable to have an abortion that affected them, it was something a lot deeper – poor self esteem comes to mind.

    Fourth, I congratulate your mother on her courage to have both you and your unknown brother, especially when she had been raped. It takes courage to continue with such a pregnancy and your mother showed a lot of courage to continue with that pregnancy.

    Fifth, my own dilemma on this subject came about because of the rape of an 8 year old girl in Brazil who ended up pregnant with twins. As a child that young is not fully grown in so many ways, to expect her to carry the babies to full term was just not on in my opinion. A child of such a tender age had been raped. A crime had been committed. As a result of the crime she was pregnant and she did not really have a fully developed body, let alone the maturity to be able to have one child, let alone twins. I am not sure that I could argue on whether or not her life would have been in danger, but with such an undeveloped body the likelihood of her dying if she tried to give birth would be extremely high. In that case yes, I believed that it was necessary to allow the abortion to go ahead. I believe in the need to be compassionate.

    However, where I disagree with the majority of the abortions that are performed is that abortion has become more like having a contraceptive. In other words once a woman has one abortion, she goes out and gets pregnant again and then has another abortion. The failure in this is that she is not using contraceptives or she is not exercising caution in her relationships to the point that she sees that it is ok to have casual sex and to hell with the consequences. This I believe is the real issue that needs to be addressed in our society. The lack of restraint is a real problem in our society.

    BTW if you have Yakult over there it is a good pro-biotic. You can take it every day to keep the works in balance. I am on antibiotics at the moment. I will start my course of antibiotics after I have finished with the probiotics….. at least I no longer have a sore tooth 🙂


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