November 13, 2023
By Alexis Goodman
This week, the state of Ohio voted to protect abortion rights, and gave it the height of protection when they voted to have that right enshrined in the state’s constitution. Now alongside the celebrated and long-standing inalienable rights such as “those of enjoying and defending life and liberty”, is also the “right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions”. Which, if I may say so, the former is in direct conflict with the latter. But such logical conclusions bear no fruit in the pro-choice world.
In juxtaposition to this overwhelming denial of human life, I gave birth to my first child a little over two weeks ago. It was an incredible and yet exhausting experience. An inspiring and yet daunting change. And one of the easiest yet hardest moments of my life.
To know that women like me are still choosing to give life while other women are fighting for what they deem as their ‘right’ to strip it away, is a spark of light in a shadow that is sweeping the United States currently.
Motherhood is no longer popular and no longer desirable. There is a rising sentiment amongst the female population that to chase the ‘dream’ desk job is to chase true happiness. I myself was caught up in the fable of “motherhood is bad; corporate job is empowering” and muttered the mantra to myself in a cavewoman like way to fight off the overbearing ‘patriarchy’. But the only oppression I was receiving was the oppression I placed on myself by placing limits on what I could do and who I could be as a woman.
While I never supported abortion, I did vehemently dislike the idea of motherhood, especially forced motherhood, just as pro-choice advocates do. In my mind, stepping into that world would be placing a ball and chain on myself, ultimately putting my rights to pursue a career on the back burner. The dichotomy between motherhood and a chosen profession was irreconcilable, and so I decided to choose the latter.
A change was wrought in me though when I decided to look outside myself and see that not everything was so black and white. I re-prioritized my life and found myself desiring marriage and children, a drastic change from my past desires.
And that’s one of two root problems being seen in the United States of today. The priorities of the people are backwards and entirely caught up in the self. We ask ourselves, “How can this benefit me? What are my feelings? How can I indulge in my desires without facing the consequences?”
A paradox of happiness
The second root problem is the continued evasion of responsibility and consequences. You cannot displace consequences like you can displace water in a bathtub. It doesn’t work that way. Merely, you transfer the form the consequence comes in. Instead of an unexpected baby resulting from sexual relations, Ohio’s pro-choice party is simply creating abortive access so that women instead face their consequence in the form of post-abortion trauma.
Motherhood may not be popular anymore, but it is still valuable. And it may no longer be desirable, but it is still needed. This added amendment to the Ohio constitution is not pro-women in any way, shape, or form. Indeed, the very language of the amendment eradicates any mention of the word women—the only human beings able to receive an abortion—in favor of the terms ‘individual’ and ‘pregnant patient’.
As motherhood is erased, so is the very essence of womanhood.