This post is part of Blog for Choice 2013, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice.
Somehow, my medical school curriculum has timed out perfectly that right now we are studying female reproduction. So far it has been mostly my own independent study, preparing for upcoming lectures, so I can first read it all in my objective terms of zona pellucidas and acrosomes, blastocysts and syncytiotrophoblasts, implantation and the corpus luteum, before the inevitable retelling of the story of the “Mother” and the “Baby.” It is an understandable interpretation- most of my professors are mothers or fathers, I too want to be a mother someday, and what is more humbling and tremendous to a parent than the gift of life? But in my reading of the process, in my study of this insanely complicated chromosomal dance, it is impossible for me to believe that the acts of fusion and implantation are the sudden catalysts that would so automatically catapult one from “Woman” to “Mother.” I have had an informal independent study of motherhood during my life: watching my school refuse to teach us sexual education and then stigmatizing the many teen mothers who had relied on high school myths for contraception, fighting the rising panic during my own scares, even when I was careful, celebrating babies as friends joyfully welcomed them into the world. Now, I know that not every single pregnancy can be planned down to the last detail, and unplanned is not always synonymous with unwanted- but sometimes it is. Sometimes the glorious danger of just being in this world translates into uninformed decisions, mistakes, and things out of our control happening to us. But that should not then force us to transition so indelicately into the role of Mother. Keeping Choice within the world of Women does not guarantee perfect Mothers every time, but it does give us the agency to make the decision to attempt to be one. On this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I recognize that there is still a million miles of a march ahead in reaching the right we as Women deserve, and it terrifies me that we have let the conversation surrounding Choice to become so convoluted and detached that it seems impossible at times. But the choice of America to uphold this decision 40 years ago, that was a choice to look at Women as whole, stunning beings and move toward the respect Women certainly deserve. It was vote of confidence that makes it possible for me, as a Woman 40 years later, to keep fighting the fight for Choice.