I was about 12 when I watched a life-changing episode of "20/20" with my mom. (That show woke me up to an issue about the meat industry too, but more on that later). I looked up from my homework when I heard yelling from the TV screen. A group of men was shouting and carrying signs about abortion.
Curious, I thought. Why do those men care if they can't get pregnant? I was baffled. Looking back, I think that was the moment I became a feminist.
My mother's lips had formed a tense line, and I asked her what was wrong, wondering if she was as confused as I was.
She told me that she'd heard of young girls who had been raped by their male relatives or just weren't taught the facts of life. She'd heard harrowing stories about the methods desperate women would attempt to end pregnancies before Roe vs. Wade: a girl who threw herself down a flight of stairs, another who injected ammonia into herself, even the use of coat hangers. If you were rich, you could fly away to a place where abortion was legal and safe. If not, you could suffer injury or even death.
Surprisingly, accountability hasn't changed much. Today there's still no real equality in child-rearing. If something happens to a child, they ask, "Where's the mother?" Seldom does anyone even ask about the father.
Child support is virtually impossible to receive unless you can afford a good attorney. And if you can, you probably have a lot more options in the first place and don't need the help nearly as much.
What's so despicable is that these so-called "Pro-Life" lawmakers, mostly affluent men, are only interested in protecting fetuses; yet, once they're born, their false interest is over. The lives of these children no longer seem to matter in our broken system. Yes, we still have children in cages in this country. Obviously, it's more about controlling women's bodies than real children's welfare since these men are the same ones eliminating programs to help them.
Even at that young age, I realized that until both men and women were legally and equally responsible for rearing children, birth control and abortion access was paramount to a woman's autonomy and progress. I've been unapologetically pro-choice ever since.
May Ruth Bader Ginsburg Rest in Peace.