by Erin Arizzi
Imagine what we could do if we didn’t have to worry about keeping abortion legal? Seriously. Here are some of the things I would be doing if I wasn’t losing sleep over the anti-choice legislation the NC Legislature is likely to try to pass this session.
- Sex Education: Let’s decrease the need for abortions. I have been teaching UNC undergrads for six years and I can tell you, abstinence-only education leaves a lot to be desired! My students are shockingly under-educated when it comes to birth control. They could do with an old-fashioned put the condom on the banana tutorial.
- Gender-Pay Gap: Women still make about 70 cents to the man’s dollar. This is exacerbated by issues of race and class. But the fact remains, women make less money than men. It’s a really complicated situation that I would love to wax on about, but alas, I’ve got other things on my mind at the moment.
- Paid Maternity Leave: I would LOVE to see our government enact legislation that helps support working parents by giving them paid maternity and paternity leave. Wouldn’t that be awesome? While we are at it, why not talk about child-care in the workplace?
- Gun Control: Don’t even get me started about this one. Someone needs to stand up to the NRA, why not feminists?
- Living Wage: Women are vastly overrepresented in the service industry, and I think that’s maybe why Wal-Mart gets away with blatant sex-discrimination. I would like to see America’s retail and food service workers get paid enough money to live. Call me crazy, call me a Marxist, but that just seems reasonable.
I could literally go on all day. But I won’t, because the fact is, my right to choose is being threatened. And even though this is personal, it’s not just about me. I’m a highly-educated woman in my late-twenties, with a car that works, and access to cheap birth control through my health insurance plan. I’m not likely to find myself in the situation where I need an abortion, but if I did, as a triangle resident, I would not have to drive far to find an abortion provider. I’m concerned about the 86% of North Carolina women who live in a county where there is no abortion provider. I’m concerned about the presence of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (which outnumber abortion-providers 8/1 in our state) which have been proven to give vulnerable women misinformation about abortion, pregnancy, and women’s health. And more than all of that, I’m concerned that the NC Legislature is going to enact more anti-choice legislation this session.
So, I guess all the other issues will have to wait until a time when a woman’s legal right to abortion is no longer under attack.
What would you be doing if you weren’t worrying about keeping abortion legal? Leave a comment and let us know.
Erin Arizzi is the Communications Intern at NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina. She is also a PhD student and teaching fellow in Communication Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has a Masters Degree in Rhetoric from UNC-CH, and a BA in English from Villanova University in Pennsylvania.