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Monday, April 2, 2012

She graduated high school in 1937, raised in poverty by her mother and much older step-father.  She was told to get out and find a man to take care of her; the Choice of necessity.  She weighed less than 100 pounds with rotting teeth, and struggling as a waitress for 10 cents an hour, trying to go to secretarial school.  She was hungry and poor, with no economic security (remember, no social security, no unemployment checks, and no loans to poor single women). 

Selling her body allowed her to eat; the Choice of circumstance.  She was very fertile and abortions, back alley or legitimate, cost money.  She married a guy and within 5 years had 4 children and a few bruises.  At 24, her husband decided She wasn't his choice, so he dumped her as an unfit mother, bringing up her past in court, and took the children, the youngest just weeks old, leaving her alone; the Choice of rejection. 

She returned home, to a mother and step-father too poor and sick to help or feed her.  To survive, She found another abusive man who, when finding She was pregnant with his child, departed for another state and with another name;  the Choice of opportunity.  She delivered a dead baby, burying the child and the grief in potters' field;  the Choice of sadness.

Returning to waitressing, and prostitution, She met another man in 1949 who promised to take care of her.  Her Choice was marriage, a husband's steady job that paid $300 a month, heathcare that got her teeth pulled but didn't pay for dentures, and by 1955, She had 4 more children.  Since the Choice of birth control pills wasn't available and condoms were not in the budget, She exercised her only socially acceptable and available Choice...stop having sex.  This was apparently not a mutual decision.

By the 1970's, the last 4 children had no idea why they lived in an abusive atmosphere.  His temper soared with each passing year of abstinence.  He never strayed to find satisfaction and She never believed sex was for anything other than having babies, so She didn't miss it.  Both of them never believed that what happened in the past was anybody's business but between the tension of abstinence by Choice and the emotional pain of secrecy and lost children, this passed as a normal Choice for society at large.

Choices haven't changed much over the years.  We have an inalienable right to make choices, and all require as much knowlege and information we can pour into our brains.  Most Choices are easy, many more are frought with pain, sadness, and guilt. 

The Choice of controlling our repoductive freedom is a fundamental, Constiutionally protected Choice and in 2012 that Choice is under seige.  Living without this Choice, back in the last century, is not a place She would want to revisit.  While we cannot control some choices based on poverty, culture, and health, the religious interpretations of individuals hell-bent on taking us all back to the last century, to back alleys and abusive marriages, should never be factor in the Choices we make today. 

She bore children because She had to, not because She wanted to.  She lived in free country but was never free to control her reproductive health. 

We are free to do that now. 
Don't let anyone take that Choice away again.  Defend it, because She can't.  Be her voice for Choice in 2012, because back alleys are no choice at all.     

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