It could have been written yesterday... and I couldn't have said it any better myself, so I won't even try. I feel strongly that it needed to be aired out for another read.
November 1992 Spin Magazine
by Eddie Vedder
Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder explains why a woman's right to choose is more than just a women's issue.
Glasgow, Scotland. It's cold outside. I'm thinking about a problem. One group of people trying to force their beliefs on others, based on religion. And it seems as though we're regressing.
Above, a helicopter flies by. If it continues on its course, it will shortly be over Ireland, where as of this writing, the powers that be are deciding if a 14-year-old girl who was raped by the father of one of her friends should be allowed to leave for Britain to obtain an abortion. She's been ordered not to leave the country for nine months. Fourteen years old. Raped. The issue of an unborn fetus takes on more importance than the fact that the rapist walks free.
Extreme, but this is a place where the church influences the government. And when I think of the movements concerning abortion in the United States, it definitely seems as though we're regressing.
"My body's nobody's body but mine...
You run your own body, let me run mine."
At the University of San Diego a few years ago, pro-lifers gathered, while pro-choicers chanted the above. Sides clashed and tension ran high. A banner equating pro-choice ideology with Nazism and Hitler was displayed. "Baby Killers," a little red stop sign said -- a sign held by a well-dressed 3-year-old who sat atop the shoulders of his upper-middle class father. The kid looked confused and frightened. The ominous presence of armed police on horseback would be enough to upset anyone.
And I wondered how this child got pulled into this? I wondered how any of us got pulled into this. The fact is that those people handing down decisions on the abortion issue are not the ones who will have to live or die by it.
Ten years old. That's the age my child would have been. And I would not be here in Glasgow. I wouldn't be in this band or traveling. And I wouldn't have seen the liberal ways in which other countries we have visited deal with this issue. I wouldn't have been asked to write this piece. The fact that I've been through it on all levels is the only reason I accepted.
Perhaps I'll have a child in the future, when I can provide properly. Who knows. But as individuals in this "free" country, we must have the right to choose when that time is right. A couple -- perhaps 15 or 16 years old, maybe 10 years older -- is faced with an unwanted pregnancy; it makes no difference if there is no means of support. They're questioning whether they can provide a proper climate in which to raise a child. A healthy question for both them and society itself. Yeah, there are programs to assist. Welfare and health programs that are constant victims of cutbacks. The child can sit in severely overcrowded classrooms and be taught by underpaid teachers.
A right to a healthy future should be the consideration.
Operation Rescue? The point being the rescue of a nonentity, a zygote. Perhaps the rescue of a young woman in crisis would be more in order. Instead, combat lines are drawn at clinics, and women must be escorted through trenches, which only adds to their trauma. This is not a game. This is not a religious pep rally. This is a woman's future. Roe vs. Wade was decided 19 years ago and the fact that a well-organized group has come close to overturning it is raw proof that we do live in a democracy. But also the reason that any opposition must be equally as vocal. You go to school in Normal, Illinois? Collegetown, U.S.A.? Shout it out. There are people wary of the strength that young voters possess. Prove them right. Decide on the issues and vote -- male or female -- for this is not just a women's issue. It's human rights. If it were a man's body and it was his destiny we were deciding there would be no issue. Not in today's male dominated society.
NO NO NONO NO!ReplyDelete
THIS is what I believe, therefore you must adhere to MY rules!
"Because I say so" didn't work for my dad when I was a kid, so why should it ever work for politicians or lobbyists?
I personally am Pro Life. However, I'm not going to force my ideas on another. It's not my place to make your decisions for you.
Go Eddie go!
I don't believe in Abortion as a mere form of birth control, but I think that it's a woman's right to know whether she is equipped (mentally, physically or even economically) to carry a child to term and bear that responsibility.ReplyDelete
When Eddie finishes with, "If it were a man's body and it was his destiny we were deciding there would be no issue." Holy shit, ain't that the truth?!
I'm so pro choice. I saw a status update from someone on FB a few weeks back saying that someone was going to go through with an abortion and was praying they didn't kill the baby blah blah and then the 'baby killer' comments came. I soooo had to stop myself from getting involved.ReplyDelete
There's a lot of talk here at the moment about stopping terminations because some people are choosing to terminate children who are not of the 'right' sex. Now that's disgusting - I don't agree one bit with that. But if a mother or father aren't emotionally or financially stable enough to provide the care a child needs (and deserves!) then sobeit.
I think I still have that magazine stuffed in a box in my closet. I could rant about this for hours, but I'll spare everyone my soapbox, for now. My mom & I were even discussing it the other night. She was nearly shaking, she was so angry that her generation worked so hard to secure a woman's right to choose, a right to contraception, and somehow we are allowing our rights to be stripped. I just don't understand how people can be so ignorant and ambivalent.ReplyDelete
... and they say we've evolved. Pssfftt.
I now have that much more respect for Pearl Jam. :DReplyDelete
I was just discussing this yesterday with some friends because my state voted for Santorum. The man frightens me beyond words. He is pro-life, anti birth control, and pretty much anti anything that isn't good Catholic American traditional family life. I also just read an article about post-birth abortions that made me physically ill. I am absolutely pro-choice, but some things are going beyond that.ReplyDelete
These are truly scary times, when the relgious zealots have managed to become the face of an issue, of so many issues. What I find most interesting is that these same people look at other countries run by religious zealots in horror, denouncing them and talk of overturning them.ReplyDelete
I am very much pro-choice. This is my body and no one has the right to tell me what I can and can NOT do with my body . . . but I feel this even more intensely when the reasons behind telling me I cannot do something are based on flawed understanding of religious texts.
Thanks for this - it's an embarrassment that this keeps getting played out again and again.ReplyDelete
PS I love Eddie Vedder so fucking much. Also, you.
The people running for office are unbelievably scary to me. I am sad, and honestly scared- and I shouldn't feel that way. I wish I could be 100% proud to be an American. Blah!ReplyDelete
Excellent post and I am pro choice everything.. Every person has the right to choose.. Knowing full well that there are consequences with every choice..ReplyDelete
Thank you for posting this. Thank you for bringing awareness and speaking out.ReplyDelete
I love you for who you are.
So so so true. This is why I have such issues with organized religion. I do not like others deciding what I must think, what I must feel, what I must do. I have a brain, let me decide for myself......And so do many, many, many others. Let them decide what is best for them....we cannot force our views of life onto someone else-- just as we cannot force anyone to learn from out mistakes....they can only learn from their own...ReplyDelete