Blog for Choice: Women Deserve Better

In honor of the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I want to share a few things that I think are important. I want to repost the words of Rev. Katherine Ragsdale, which I’ve posted before, because I think they’re amazing.

“Let’s be very clear about this: when a woman finds herself pregnant due to violence and chooses an abortion, it is the violence that is the tragedy; the abortion is a blessing.

When a woman finds that the fetus she is carrying has anomalies incompatible with life, that it will not live and that she requires an abortion — often a late-term abortion — to protect her life, her health, or her fertility, it is the shattering of her hopes and dreams for that pregnancy that is the tragedy; the abortion is a blessing.

When a woman wants a child but can’t afford one because she hasn’t the education necessary for a sustainable job, or access to health care, or day care, or adequate food, it is the abysmal priorities of our nation, the lack of social supports, the absence of justice that are the tragedies; the abortion is a blessing.

And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion — there is not a tragedy in sight — only blessing. The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply blessing.

These are the two things I want you, please, to remember — abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.”

I also want to post this poetry slam by Sonia Renee, called “What We Deserve.” It made me cry, and it’s amazing (thanks to Alana for the link).

Here are the words, but you really should watch her perform it, because she’s amazing:

“Culturally-diversified bi-racial girl,
with a small diamond nose-ring
and a pretty smile
poses beside the words: “Women deserve better”.

And I almost let her non-threatening grin begin to
infiltrate my psyche-
till I read the unlikely small-print at the bottom of the ad.
‘Sponsored by the US Secretariate for Pro Life Activities
and the Knights of Columbus’
on a bus, in a city with a population of 563,000.

Four teenage mothers on the bus with me.
One latino woman with three children under three,
and no signs of a daddy.
One sixteen year old black girl,
standing in twenty two degree weather
with only a sweater,
and a bookbag,
and a bassinet, with an infant that ain’t even four weeks yet-

Tell me that yes: Women do deserve better.

Women deserve better
than public transportation rhetoric
from the same people who won’t give that teenage mother
a ride to the next tranist.
Won’t let you talk to their kids about safer sex,
and never had to listen as the door slams
behind the man
who adamantly says “that SHIT ain’t his”-
leaving her to wonder how she’ll raise this kid.

Women deserve better than the three hundred dollars
TANF and AFDC will provide that family of three.
Or the six dollar an hour job at KFC
with no benefits for her new baby-
or the college degree she’ll never see,
because you can’t have infants at the university.

Women deserve better
than lip-service paid for by politicians
who have no alternatives to abortion.
Though I’m sure right now
one of their seventeen year old daughters
is sitting in a clinic lobby, sobbing quietly
and anonymously,
praying parents don’t find out-
Or is waiting for mom to pick her up because
research shows that out-of-wedlock childbirth
don’t look good on political polls.
And Bush ain’t having that.

Women deserve better
than backward governmental policies
that don’t want to pay for welfare for kids,
or healthcare for kids,
or childcare for kids.
Don’t want to pay living wages to working mothers.
Don’t want to make men who only want to be
last night’s lovers
responsible for the semen they lay.
Just like [they] don’t want to pay for shit,
but want to control the woman who’s having it.

Acting outraged at abortion,
when I’m outraged that they want us to believe
that they believe
“Women deserve better”.

The Vatican won’t prosecute pedophile priests,
but I decide I’m not ready for motherhood
and it’s condemnation for me.
These are the same people
who won’t support national condom distribution
to prevent teenage pregnancy–

But women deserve better.

Women deserve better than back-alley surgeries
that leave our wombs barren and empty.
Deserve better than organizations bearing the name
of land-stealing, racist, rapists
funding million dollar campaigns on subway trains
with no money to give these women–
While balding, middle-aged white men
tell us what to do with our bodies,
while they wage wars and kill other people’s babies.

So maybe,
Women deserve better than propaganda and lies
to get into office.
Propaganda and lies
to get into panties,
to get out of court,
to get out of paying child-support.

Get the fuck out of our decisions
and give us back our VOICE.

Women do deserve better.

Women deserve choice.”

Here is the ad that inspired the slam.

This entry was posted in Blog for Choice, Caterwauling About The Patriarchy, My Body My Choice. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. catinthehat
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    That slam was seriously powerful, wow.

  2. alana
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Ragsdale words are really powerful.

  3. Joanna Cake
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I am lucky enough to live in a country where I could get an abortion paid for by the State when I needed one. I fervently believe that all women should have that right.

  4. Sulpicia
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I'm in total agreement. But the first section of the ad says: "Abortion is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women."

    I get that's it's a pro-life ad. But… Already lost in my arguments and counter-arguments.

    Thanks for posting this. I've had two children and two abortions, and no regrets. Still so easy somehow to slip into a retro-world where life is simple and such choices need not be made. However, choice is a vital aspect of existence on all levels. We need to continue to fight for choice where choice is taken away, like in this ad, in a insidious fashion.

    SO there you go. Argumented myself out of a corner, thanks to that slam.

  5. Aurore
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    I am lucky to live in a country that essentially has no abortion law. Sadly, this doesn't mean that every Canadian woman has easy and safe access to abortions. If need be I could go out tomorrow and have the procedure fully funded but that isn't the case nation-wide. Some provinces don't fund or only partial fund the service. And in some regions there simply aren't the facilities or the doctors willing to perform them.

    Women do deserve better. Women everywhere deserve better.

  6. Rachel
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing this video, I hadn't seen it and it's great.

  7. The Constitutional Crusader
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I have a few questions to ask about this, first regarding the words of the so-called "reverend".

    1. Why is the ending of an innocent life a blessing?

    2. Why is it not a tragedy to think about the potential life that was lost? That child could have cured cancer, or AIDS, or any number of other social diseases that plague today.

    3. Is it the baby's fault that it was conceived as a result of a violent act? If not, why is the baby the one to pay the price?

    4. What do you mean exactly by "anomolies incompatible with life?" And let's call late-term abortion what it is: Partial birth. Would you deny your own child the right to live if it had such "anomolies" as Down Syndrome or Cerebral Paulsy? I have CP in my left leg, rendering it shorter than my right. Should I have been aborted as a child? And if so,who has the right to decide whether I should have been?

    5. Why is government and "social programs" the only solution to women who live in poverty? Why are we not focusing more on the two parent family? Why is the idea of a mother/father household frowned upon?

    6. As to the final paragraph, isn't it a tragedy that that potential human being was denied his right to live as a part of that loving and respectful relationship?

    7. On a final note, I do agree that women deserve better (in regards to the poetry) however, what does "better" mean? Does it mean they deserve to be treated as equals in society in terms of potential and capability? Or does it mean that a woman should be allowed to end the life of a potential human being on a whim, simply as a matter of her own convenience?

  8. Meg
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    1. For the reasons stated above.

    2. If the aborted fetus was meant to be the person who cures AIDS, cancer, or any other host of ailments, then Fate (I honestly believe this) would see to it that the fetus is not aborted.

    3. Of course it's not the fault of the fetus! But let's face it, pregnancy is traumatic enough on a woman's body without it being a constant reminder that she was violated.

    4. I have known people who say they would abort a fetus if they found out it had Downs because they are not emotionally and/or financially equipped to deal with a baby who has Downs. Would it be fair to bring a Downs baby into a family in which the parents would resent it? (The "give it up for adoption" argument won't fly with me–no woman should have to carry a pregnancy to term if she feels its best to abort it.)

    6. I must be a very tragic figure. I have denied MANY potential human beings the right to exist by ovulating every month since I was 12. Bad me!

    7. "Better," if you read Britni's blog post, means NOT QUESTIONING WOMEN WHEN THEY MAKE THE CHOICE TO ABORT A PREGNANCY. No one makes the decision lightly. It's NEVER "on a whim." You can't get that…but please don't try to dictate your beliefs to those of us who do get it.

  9. The Constitutional Crusader
    Posted January 24, 2010 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    So in other words, I should just sit down and shut up because I'm a man and don't have a right to an opinion about this matter?

  10. pandementia
    Posted January 24, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    I believe The Constitutional Crusader poses some good questions. How is it a blessing to end a life? How is it a blessing for women to use abortion as post-contraception instead of being responsible in the first place?
    If a woman knows that she does not want a child or cannot afford one, then is it not her RESPONSIBILITY to take steps to avoid it?
    Abortion may be a necessary evil in some extreme cases, but the word "blessing" should NEVER be used in conjunction with ending the life of an innocent.
    Women do deserve better in a lot of ways, including being EDUCATED about contraception so that they don't have to make the decision to kill the living being inside of them, but again, allowing easier access to the killing of an innocent should not be considered "better."
    Instead of fighting for abortion, let's fight for education.

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