Friday, October 17, 2008

For Amelia

The beginning of the year promised an amazing time to have a daughter. Can you imagine having a girl in the year when the first female President was elected? To know that she would never have known a time when it wasn't possible for a (qualified, strong, intelligent) woman to run the country? That women would always be on the ballot when Amelia casted a vote, rather than my tear-jerking experience of seeing it for the first time after 30? The possibilities seemed endless for my little girl and I felt confident that she would never see the barriers faced by so many before her . . .

And now I find myself fighting to keep her existing rights in tact rather than extending them. Worried that new doors are closing in celebration of her birth than opening.

It's for Amelia, my daughter, my friend, my soul that I am voting against Propositions 4 & 8. To think that we are in 2008 and still discussing whether or not the State has a right to exhibit ownership over a woman's body is shamefully shocking. To think that a law could force her future through a narrow hallway with few windows and no doors makes me shudder and cling to her childhood in desperation. While I will do everything possible to foster an open conversation with my daughter about her choices, her body, her future, I cannot guarantee that she will come to me if in trouble. . . and if she needs another outlet, I can only cross my fingers and cast my vote so that she will have a safe place to end an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy. Certainly requiring a parental signature will not stop Amelia and her friends/sisters from seeking abortions if necessary. It will, however, lead some of them to desperate acts of violence, suicide, running away, or dangerously illegal procedures. I can't even imagine the consequences of this for Amelia's generation.

How is it possible that we are back to this topic? That suddenly women no longer own their bodies, their futures, their lives? That my daughter may have this door shut for her when I have had it open throughout my life? That Amelia may have fewer freedoms than I've had??

And while I can hope with all my might that Amelia finds true love in her life, I cannot predict or control or care with whom she will find her happiness. I cannot assume that she will want to marry (she is my daughter after all), but if she does, my heavens, I hope that she will have that right--regardless of her choice of spouse. I can't imagine her growing up in a time and place when she could be criticized or discriminated against for falling in love and expecting equality in her choice to marry because of others' issues with her choice. Don't all parents just want their kids to be happy?! Do we really want to put conditions on their happiness? Do we still want to raise children in a state that discriminates and withholds rights based on a religious misnomer or a quibble over a couple words ("I just don't want them to call it marriage!")? I want my daughter and her generation to know love in all forms, to not judge the love of others, and most importantly, to feel safe, confident, and equal in their choices of love. Heaven knows it's hard enough to find love and stay married as it is. Why make it harder? Why not allow all the right? It does not affect your life who others marry. Why not allow this new innocent generation to make personal choices without the threat of violence, hatred, and discrimination? Why not allow Amelia a childhood and future that actually lives up to the country's promises made in 1776 of freedom and equality? Why don't we finally offer these promises without conditions?!

It's for my daughter that these issues are so important to me. It's for all daughters and sons. They deserve to have parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers, and sisters who will think about their rights in the polling places in November!!

Can Amelia count on you to protect her?

1 comment:

joni said...

amen! i love you, gena.

: )