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On the 40th Anniversary of Roe: My Daughter, Her Choices

What I want for my daughter: reproductive rights.

Never assume. First rule of life. If you meet me, don't assume that I see adoption as a "solution" to abortion. Don't assume that becoming an adoptive parent changed my pro-choice position. Don't assume that just because I have a daughter, I think I'm entitled to control her body. Don't assume that I abandoned my opposition to laws that require notification of parents when a minor needs an abortion. Don't assume that I think I will know about everything my daughter does as a teenager. Don't assume that my knowing is more important than her safety.

Know this instead: I want her to have what she needs. I want her to be safe, and supported, and to feel every option is open to her. Sure, I hope she comes to me if she decides to have sex; I hope to God it's her decision, and not something that happens against her will. If she asks me, I will help her find a birth control method and talk to her about protection from STIs. But if she doesn't come to me, she still deserves to have birth control, and condoms. And if all that fails and she finds herself pregnant, she deserves to have all her choices available.

If you are an adult in my daughter's life, know this: it's not about me. It's about her. If she comes to you about birth control, help her. Take her to Planned Parenthood. Give her condoms. If it means you have to take her to another state to help her get an abortion, because it's what she needs and we live in a state with parental notification laws, then take her. Go with her, and hold her hand, and hug her afterwards, and make sure she has someone to talk to. Sure, you can tell her that she can talk to me -- you can offer to help her do it. But if she doesn't want to, if she's scared or ashamed or just too overwhelmed, that's OK. It's more important that she gets what she needs than that I know about it.

I am trying to be the kind of mother she can come to, but that's not entirely under my control. And if she can't come to me, let her come to you, and give her what she needs. If you're her aunt, or her teacher, or her doctor, or just a good friend, know this: it's about her.

(crossposted from The Huffington Post)

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jill January 23, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Jenni, where the hell did I say I didn't believe in a woman's right to choose? I also said that my daughters would make THEIR own choice you fool. Way to make assumptions! Maybe you should refer to my posts to Beth you idiot! Also, I did not say you were thinking of yourself ONLY. I said the article seemed to be more about YOU...not ONLY!
Wallst January 23, 2013 at 09:04 PM
But republicans lost seats too, (the worst of the worst teabags are now gone)....and Dems gained in the Senate. We'll move forward even though republicans want to hold us back. So hang on, it's going to be a great ride.
Jenni Levy January 23, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Jill, those are in two separate comments because the second comment isn't addressed to you. I think we're done; I don't generally keep talking to people who call me "idiot" and "fool".
Jill January 23, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Reference my 1:00 and 2:32 posts.
Beth January 23, 2013 at 09:10 PM
No offense Jill, but you don't seem like a very approachable person. I trust that you are much more respectful to your children and they feel more comfortable talking to you about difficult subjects.
Jill January 23, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Jenni, It is obvious that unless I tell you how great your column is, I should keep my opinion to myself! Consider it done. Beth, after reading your post I told you I should have limited my opinion to my own daughters. Wow, someone walking back what they said and admitting they might have overreached. I don't recall seeing too much of that on Patch. I am sorry that seems unapproachable to you. Hint...when you start a sentence with no offense...usually what follows is offensive.
Beth January 23, 2013 at 09:55 PM
Thanks for the tip-kinda knew that. I will leave it at that. We have gotten way off topic and I just don't feel entertaining your "arguments" anymore.
Jill January 23, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Funny how some people view other people's honest opinions as arguments when you don't agree with them. Have a good night ladies! <3
Beth January 23, 2013 at 10:27 PM
To set the record straight, I do respect others' opinions. It is the personal attack, name calling, and passive comments that I don't respect. The funny thing is, I think we share the same opinion on this matter-it just morphed into something else.
Jill January 23, 2013 at 11:02 PM
I am sorry I had to clarify my point so often. I felt that you and Jenni kept misrepresenting what I was saying. I don't like people putting words in my mouth and saying i said things i didn't, which seems to happen a lot here on Patch. People hear certain things and jump to certain conclusions about people...henceforth Jenni assuming I didn't support a woman's right to choose. I was deeply offended. I refuse to judge someone else in that regard. It is a very serious issue which woman need to decide on their own. I know it is a heart wrenching decision. I am sorry I had the nerve to think this piece was over the top, now I know why Chelsea made her point and moved on. She must be experienced on how Patch works. Lesson learned!
ted.dobracki January 23, 2013 at 11:32 PM
As a 17 year old college freshman on this date 40 years ago, I thought this ruling was pretty cool - after all, it could have solved a future potential problem, especially since in my state 18 year olds had also just been gained the right to buy alcohol legally a few days before! Remember, though, I was just a kid then.
Rosemary B January 23, 2013 at 11:50 PM
No matter how it comes to be it is not a bunch of cells. It is a life and ending a life is usually called murder. If you want to be ok with that then that is between you and God.
Armed Citizen January 24, 2013 at 02:02 AM
@Wallst, You Progressives are so predictable. Since your arguments are based on fantasy and emotion, there is little room for logic and facts. I'll play along. What % of abortions are performed on women who were raped? Are you suggesting that the majority of women getting abortions were raped by an uncle or father? Or were you the product of rape and/or incest and sorry your mother didn't abort you?
Armed Citizen January 24, 2013 at 02:16 AM
@Wallst, I see you're very insecure about money, hence your handle... Wall Street. I HIGHLY doubt you pay anywhere near the taxes I pay Mr. Wallst. In fact, I doubt you've ever earned in a single year the amount I pay annually in taxes. How do I know this? Simple, your comments here prove you are too stupid to run a business any more complex than a lemonade stand. I'll stand by my original comment about you still living with mommy and daddy.
Wallst January 24, 2013 at 02:39 AM
Ah, yes, Armed Citizen can NOT even answer the question because he/she/it would have to say that murder is FINE when the life of the mother comes into play. I won't even bother going into your childish rant with the rest of your idiotic response. And by the way, do you really think I care what YOU *think* I do for a living? LOL!
Armed Citizen January 24, 2013 at 02:52 AM
Of course you care. You're an immature and insecure imbecile. You're a follower, not a leader. I would love to know more about your lucrative business! You progressives would have us believe that all successful business owners are 'rich' and don't 'pay their fair share'. You are a living and breathing oxymoron. To answer your stupid question - No, I would not have a problem aborting a fetus if the mother was raped or her own life was at risk. You still won't acknowledge that this is very rare because your argument is weak.
Wallst January 24, 2013 at 03:00 AM
See? Armed Citizen just admitted that MURDER is OK! Thank you for FINALLY answering the question! Now, run along in your self-inflicted idiocies and try to keep up with reality. Remember, when Alice woke up, she realized she was no longer in "wonderland". Good luck, skippy!
Armed Citizen January 24, 2013 at 03:05 AM
Wow, you really got me there junior! Now go finish your homework.
Anonymous January 24, 2013 at 12:32 PM
To Sam Hein: I understand your difficulty & that is why you cannot take a verse that is written in the context of a situation & have it stand alone. I have taken part of a commentary from www.carm.org "The context of Psalm 137 is the Babylonian captivity. The Psalmist speaks of the captors tormenting the people of God (vv. 1-3), a promise to remember Jerusalem (vv. 5-6), and a curse against the captors (vv. 7-9). The Psalmist is in exile & had probably witnessed the atrocities committed against his people, babies included. In the revenge-style that was so common at the time, he wishes the same upon his enemy as a description of their utter destruction. Nowhere does it say that God approves of the Psalmist’s request or that he fulfilled it. Just because it is recorded that the Psalmist wrote the imprecation, doesn’t mean it was approved by God. It is worth noting that the Old Testament records many atrocities. The fact is that God allowed people their sinful desires and he worked within their culture, even as he does now, as he permits all kinds of bad things to happen. Nevertheless, God introduced what is called the Apoditic Law (Exodus 21:24): an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. The Apoditic Law was instituted to prevent the increase of blood revenge, a practice where revenge would escalate out of control between two parties." Miscarriages are horrible. My prayer is that you are a believer so that you spend eternity with these children in heaven.
Anonymous January 24, 2013 at 12:41 PM
The problem, is that you assume that your daughter will not get an STD if the "boy" who wants to have sex with her wears a condom. Hello everyone...life threatening STD are no longer prevented by condoms. The STD go right threw. MANY women are crying out that their mothers would have told them the TRUTH about their choices. Plus, emotionally the woman is harmed MORE from an abortion. SHe WILL FOREVER be haunted by it. It is the stupidest and most harmful lie ever that the beating life inside her is a "choice". If it is an unwanted pregnancy or worse yet a result of a crime, there are many wonderful adults who have survived this and can tell you to your face how blessed they are. Pam Stenzel is someone you need to hear. Her birth mother loved her so much even though she was conceived from a rape. Yes, these blobs of tissue have a heart beat and if allowed can grow up into wonderful adults. YOU ARE NOT GOD. By not giving your daughter ALL the information. By not advising her to wait for sex until she is married. YOU are taking away her choices for true joy. You are making her not question how many women in this country are self medicating to try and forget their bad choice of killing their child, or who cannot conceive because of the STD they got in their teens or have died because MOM thought that a condom would prevent a life threatening STD. You take away her choices when you endorse premarital sex and abortion. Pray hard about your commentary. It is SO wrong & backwards.
Anonymous January 24, 2013 at 12:48 PM
Also in addition, how about we have a commentary from the ACTUAL woman from ROE vs WADE. SHe will tell you how she has now completely devoted her life to FIGHT ABORTION. Abortion harms women. Abortion is prevented by not having pre-marital sex. True JOY is in the waiting until you are ready for marriage and a committment. Are we animals that we cannot control anything? Are we dogs in heat? Truly, there are sane people out there that can understand that just because a child wants to have sex, doesnt mean that they should. Have some self control. Teens have more than their parent's think that they do. They ARE capable if given the correct information to WAIT. Many are joining the movement of "True Love Waits" everyday. Your teen can wait. They will have much joy in their lives if they do. Anything good in life is hard work. Staying pure is hard work for a teen...but they CAN do it.
Carol January 24, 2013 at 01:23 PM
If one exercises responsible exercise of reproductive rights, they would not get pregnant if they did not want to. That requires responsible sexuality. 99% of the abortions in this country are the result of irresponsibe behavior and not facing up to the consequences of it. The baby would be inconvenient, so kill him or her. What a great logic that is. Killing for convenience.
Jenni Levy January 24, 2013 at 02:01 PM
Anonymous, your are seriously, dangerously misinformed. STIs are reliably prevented by latex condoms. The most common emotional response to abortion is relief, not permanent trauma; the trauma comes from the guilt, fear and shame induced by the attitudes you espouse.
Linda January 26, 2013 at 01:32 AM
Thanks for a great article, Jenni! My mom and I were and are close, but I would never have gone to her at 17 to talk to her about sex. Ewwww! But the folks at Planned Parenthood were great, and I support them to this day. There may have been some negative comments, but on the upside, lots of people read the article. You go, girl!
Mary January 26, 2013 at 01:42 AM
Jenni, how much did you pay Linda for her post?
Wallst January 26, 2013 at 02:38 AM
Mary, how much schooling did you miss to be this stupid?
Joe Sommers January 29, 2013 at 01:52 AM
Wall St...Did you ever abort ??My guess is no because if you did you would never discuss this issue on an internet blog. You wouldn't be out here arguing your point because you would have to look in the mirror everday knowing that your Doctor just flushed little Wall St. junior down the toilet. I'm not telling you what to do and what your rights are but any woman with a conscious or soul cannot hide behind the veil of the law and tell me that after an abortion they feel relieved or happy. The guilt i'm sure is overwhelming. I know several woman who aborted and cry everytime they see a baby .Even though abortion is the law,a woman's emotional makeup naturally will kick in when a event of this nature takes place .If you feel Guilt then nature is telling you something is inheritently wrong with the law. Thats pure logic.The two woman I know that aborted have tremendous bouts of guilt.
Rosemary B January 31, 2013 at 05:19 PM
I don't think you are doing your daughters any favors by encouraging and supporting their decision to have sex before marriage. I make sure my daughter knows that their is a tremendous amount of risk in taking that action.And she has seen the heartbreak of her friends who are having sex first hand. I don't think it makes me a prude. I think it makes me truthful.
Rosemary B January 31, 2013 at 05:32 PM
And that, Joe, is the issue that is never talked about. The lasting guilt...And the fact that many people who are Pro-Choice now once had abortions and know about all sides fro first hand experience. It is an easy and legal way out with lasting consequences that are never talked about. ...
Jenni Levy January 31, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Rosemary and Joe, you are wrong. The "lasting consequences" are talked about far too much given that they don't exist for most women. Abortion does not cause breast cancer and it does not cause overwhelming guilt. There are good studies that prove this, despite your anecdotal evidence to the contrary. I don't argue that some women feel guilty, but most feel relieved. Most women who have abortions in the US are already mothers, and are quite aware of the consequences of their decision. I trust, given your strong feelings and your desire to prevent abortion, that you are both in support of low-cost or free birth control, good sex education in schools, and funding to provide housing, medical care and food for low-income women and children. Those are the programs that have been shown - again, in well-conducted scientific studies - to lower the rate of abortion. If you're not supporting those programs, you are more interested in controlling women's behavior than you are in preventing abortion.

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