Political discussion has become an unavoidable topic in my home since the election of President Donald J. Trump – especially since I am a liberal Democrat and my father a conservative Republican.
This past Sunday’s Super Bowl celebration was no exception.
Almost immediately after the Atlanta Falcons punted the football to begin the first quarter, I thought we had deftly avoided all political talk, but I was wrong. My mother’s friend mentioned Trump and his position regarding women’s rights and his stance on abortion, which got my father going. (A wonderful start to the game, right?)
To sum up what unfortunately became a 20-minute debate – despite my mother’s constant shouts for us to stop arguing on Super Bowl Sunday – my father established that he believes abortion is murder.
“Dad, if I were to get pregnant right now, would you want me to keep it?” I, a 20-year-old college student who is still financially dependent on my parents, asked.
He pursed his lips, sighed and replied, “Don’t get pregnant.”
“Sometimes you just can’t control those things,” I replied. “It just happens.”
“Oh, yes you can control that,” my father said. “You control it by putting a dime between your legs and never letting it hit the floor.”
Like almost every other college-aged female on Earth, I was not prepared to discuss my sex life with my father any further. So, I walked away. However, what he said really hit me.
I love my father and I know he loves me just as much – but I do not agree with him politically. Despite him playing a great role in my creation, he has absolutely no say in what I do with my body.
This column does not focus on whether I think abortion is right or wrong. It solely focuses on the fact that absolutely no man has the right to tell a woman what to do with her uterus.
Listen up, dad.
Act 45, the “Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act,” is a bill recently passed in Arkansas which prevents women from having abortions after 14 weeks of pregnancy. It also allows a spouse, parent or legal guardian to sue the abortion provider. If you guessed that a man signed this bill into law then you guessed correctly! Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson decided that men can tell a woman what to do with her body (or at least postpone the abortion until it’s too late for her to make her own choice).
Now dad, I know you said that you believe there should be exceptions to allow women to get abortions if they were raped or if there is a threat to the mother’s life. I 100 percent agree with that, but why does a woman need to be raped or in danger of dying to take control of her own reproductive rights?
You said that women have the right to control their reproductive system by tying their tubes or taking birth control, but once a fetus is in the picture, the woman just has to deal. But it’s not that easy.
I am not ready to tie my tubes. Birth control is only 91 to 99 percent effective, according to HealthyWomen.org. And no, I am not willing to hold a dime in between my legs. No man owns me. I belong to myself – and I’ll be damned if anyone tries to tell me otherwise.
Even you, dad.
Ashley Turner is a journalism major from Jamesburg, N.J. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.