Discussion: A Spark of Light & Women’s Reproductive Rights

Let me start by saying that I fully expect that the opinions left on this article will differ. Differ from my own and from some of my friends. That is okay and I encourage it. This is a place to respectfully state your opinion and tell why you believe what you believe. If I see anyone making inappropriate remarks, dishing out personal attacks and acting like a child I will block you. You’ve been warned.


One of the many reasons that I love Jodi Picoult is because she tackles topics that many people try to avoid talking about even though they are unavoidable. I always learn something from her and am always able to use her writing to spark a conversation. I also really respect the amount of research that she does for her books because it proves that authors really can cover any topic properly. Today I will be referencing her most recent work A Spark of Light (don’t worry, I won’t spoil).

Let’s start with birth control.

I personally believe that it was incredibly responsible and mature of Wren to have a conversation about sex with the guy that she planned to sleep with and to seek birth control. This does not happen often among teenagers. Partially because people are too busy trying to force abstinence instead of teaching safe sex. Sure, abstinence is ideal, but it isn’t realistic. Honestly, like with most things, if you tell kids that can’t have or do something it makes them more curious.

I understand that a lot of people have mixed feelings about birth control whether it be pills, patches or whatever. Everyone is different, so these things affect our bodies differently. However, I have an issue with people going around and saying that no woman ever should use birth control. Again, if it’s had troubling effects on your body, please share your experience with the rest of us, but don’t tell us what to do.

First and foremost, contrary to popular belief, birth control is not just used as contraceptive. I started using birth control when I was 20 years old and at that point I was still a virgin and not planning to have sex anytime soon. I started it because my cramps were awful, and I was vomiting every time I got my period which was pretty heavy and sometimes lasted up to 8 days.

*Oh, by the way, if talking about periods is grossing you out…..grow up. A post about normalizing periods will be coming soon!*

Anyway, once I started taking the pills the vomiting stopped and the flow was lighter. Sometimes it even lasted only 3 days!

Yes, now that I am older, part of the reason that I continue to take birth control (aside from the fact that at this point it would be counterproductive) is because I do not want children. If you didn’t already know that, read more about it here. I love other people’s kids, I just don’t want any of my own. I like being on my own, being able to do what I want, when I want. Aside from the addition of a pet, I don’t want that to change. Ever.

Because I attended a Catholic university, I am well aware that some religions do not support the use of birth control. I get that and if you’re a religious person I can respect that to an extent. I fully respect your religion when you are applying it to yourself, not when you are trying to force it on other people.

At the end of the day, the use of birth control should depend on the one taking it. How it affects her, what the pros and cons are, and what she decides. That’s it.

And can we stop with the “well if you don’t want kids then don’t have sex” argument please? By now you should know that the majority of people have sex for other reasons than to produce children. You don’t have to like it but it is what it is.

I’ll also go ahead and let you know that I am a supporter of Planned Parenthood. I think that the work that they do is important. If you hate PP because they perform abortions then I recommend educating yourself because that is a very small percentage of what they do. Women’s reproductive health is about much more than abortions. I wrote an article about reproductive rights in January of 2017 and at that time abortion was only 3% of their services.

As a woman who doesn’t want children I’ve received some very angry comments about how I’m making a huge mistake and that I will regret it later. News flash people: It’s not a mistake and I didn’t ask for your opinions so let it go already.

Not wanting children also plays a role in the reason that I am pro-choice. I’m tired of people trying to make decisions about my body and my life on my behalf. I shouldn’t have to fight or justify my choices because they don’t satisfy someone else. There isn’t a single person on this planet that has the right to tell me that I HAVE to have children. My ex tried to manipulate me into having children despite the fact that he knew I never wanted them. I shouldn’t have had to go through that but because so many people still want to tie a woman’s worth to whether we bear children, that asshole still somehow feels like what he did wasn’t wrong.

Even though I don’t want children, I fully support and am genuinely excited for people who do. I love when my family and friends have children. But I can be happy for them while still wanting something different for myself. It’s not that difficult. I mean, think about it: Just because I’m working towards a career in higher education, doesn’t mean I can’t support friends making different career choices. Other big life choices are no different. We don’t have to agree but I will always support them. Plus, I don’t go around telling other people that they shouldn’t or can’t have children so don’t try to tell me that I have to.

The reason that I am pro-choice is because it’s not fair, moral, or acceptable for one person to dictate what happens to another person’s body. We’re not in the 1920s anymore. We deserve to make our own choices about our own bodies. If a woman has an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, what she chooses to do about it should be up to her and her alone. If she wants to seek council on what she should do great, but she should be able to make the final decision on her own.

Despite what many people believe, pro-choice is not synonymous with pro-abortion. It’s possible for someone who is pro-choice to find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy, keep the child, and still support and understand why someone else may have an abortion. No one ever wakes up and says, “You know what? I’m gonna get myself pregnant so I can get an abortion.” If you seriously think that then I need you to really think about that because it doesn’t even make sense. Abortions – by pill or procedure – take time and money and it takes a toll on your body. Then again, so does pregnancy.

“…..With abortion, there are risks of injury to your bowel, bladder, uterus, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries; and that if you have injury to your uterus, that’s severe enough, we might have to remove your uterus…..But guess what? Those are the exact same risks that you’ll have if you give birth to a baby. In fact, you’re more likely to have those risks giving birth to a child than have an abortion.”

-Dr. Louie Ward, A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

At this point, I’m not sure if I believe that “pro-life” actually exists. I’m not saying that it can’t but I have yet to meet someone who actually cares about saving lives. “Anti-abortion” seems to be a more accurate term. I am 100% open to someone proving me wrong so if you are pro-life I have some questions for you:

  • If you’re against abortions way are you also against birth control? Most pro-life advocates argue that life starts at conception but if there’s no conception then there’s no need for an abortion right?
  • Why not teach safe sex and contraceptives when it’s clear that trying to force abstinence doesn’t really work?
  • If you’re inclined to suggest adoption, are you aware of how flawed the adoption and foster care systems are? Do you know how many children currently are without permanent homes?
  • What about cases where teenage girls are kicked out by their parents after finding out that they’re pregnant and have nowhere to go?
  • What about people are just not financially ready to support a child?
  • What about rape victims?
  • What about those who are already being physically abused but can’t get out? Should they subject their child to that abuse too?
  • What about people who are struggling with addiction?
  • How can you claim to be pro-life if carrying full term could put the mother’s life at risk?
  • Why do you feel that you have the right to control someone else’s life/future?

These questions aren’t meant to start arguments. They are genuine questions because I feel like these are all scenarios that need to be considered. Here’s a question that I pulled from A Spark of Light: If a hospital is burning down and you had to decide between saving a fertilized egg in the IVF lab or a baby in the maternity ward, which would you choose?

How would you answer that question if you believe that life begins at conception?

I will be totally upfront. If I got pregnant today I would probably have an abortion. I would never want to have that procedure, but it would feel like my best option. I’m 25, I live at home, I don’t have the money to take care of a child right now. I have student loans to pay off, way too many women in my family have suffered from multiple miscarriages and again, I just don’t want kids.

You don’t have a agree with that choice but….it’s not yours to make. Not sorry.

That’s my story, but now I want to hear yours.


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About Bookmark Chronicles

Hi! I'm Rae. 25. Avid Reader. Book Blogger. Intersectional Feminist. Gryffinclaw. Coffee & Tea Lover.
This entry was posted in Discussion, Feminism, Health, Life. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Discussion: A Spark of Light & Women’s Reproductive Rights

  1. I’m also pro choice and I have to admit I don’t always understand pro lifers especially since it seems most of the time they’re anti-woman rather than being pro-life. I mean maybe I’m wrong but it seems to me like most pro lifers can be very hypocritical particularly when it comes to birth control, like you dislike the very thing that can help solve the problem you don’t like! The bottom line is, your choice is your choice and it’s no one else’s business.

    I have to admit, I’m a little scared of having an abortion myself because I don’t love being in pain, but if I were to get pregnant now, I definitely would have one because of where I am in life right now and the fact that I don’t want kids. Later in life it would depend on the situation, and if I changed my mind about kids, but I don’t think I will and it would always be an option for me, which is why I want to fight to keep it available for all women!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Exactly! I feel like people who claim to be pro-life aren’t really pro-LIFE. I’m hoping that someone who is comes along and comments though. It’s easy to have this convo with other pro choice people.

      I am terrified of having an abortion. But I couldn’t raise a kid right now. I know I won’t change my mind about kids it’s just not what I want and people need to get over it

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I strive to have a posture of non-interference when it comes to anything with women’s health, including with reproductive rights. It has been a long journey towards this and includes a visit to the Right to Life March, so I used to be a pro lifer.

    Here’s the thing: I am a man. While I do all I can to have deep empathy for all the women in my life, I ultimately do not know what it is like to have a woman’s body. Therefore, I don’t think it is right for me to make decisions about women’s health.

    Liked by 4 people

    • That’s the problem, most pro lifers are men.

      Since you used to be pro life, how did you answer those questions listed near the end of the post?

      Liked by 3 people

      • I know. That is the problem.

        Here are the ways I used to answer your questions (with the thing(s) I learned that changed my thoughts on your question(s) in parentheses):

        If you’re against abortions way are you also against birth control? Most pro-life advocates argue that life starts at conception but if there’s no conception then there’s no need for an abortion right? I believed that it was morally wrong to really put limitations through “unnatural” means on pregnancy/childbirth (in other words, abstaining/natural family planning). (I learned that certain forms of birth control are actually really important with public health; for example, condoms can and have been effective in preventing the spread of HIV. Learning that in my college years REALLY changed my mind on birth control.)

        Why not teach safe sex and contraceptives when it’s clear that trying to force abstinence doesn’t really work? I thought abstinence/natural family planning worked. (Now I realize that it doesn’t.)

        What about cases where teenage girls are kicked out by their parents after finding out that they’re pregnant and have nowhere to go? I didn’t think about that question. (Now I do.)

        What about people are just not financially ready to support a child? In such cases, I believed that having another family adopt was the best thing to do. (For some people, I now know that giving a child to someone else is WAY harder, mentally and emotionally, than having an abortion.)

        What about rape victims? Once again, I thought adoption was the best option there. (I also didn’t quite appreciate the amount of trauma rape victims go through, and that carrying through with a pregnancy may cause more trauma than having an abortion.)

        What about those who are already being physically abused but can’t get out? Should they subject their child to that abuse too? I didn’t think about this before. (Now I’m aware such situations exist; of course children shouldn’t be subject to that abuse!)

        What about people who are struggling with addiction? I didn’t think about that question either in the past. (I have lots of feelings about this because I know family who struggled with alcohol addiction.)

        How can you claim to be pro-life if carrying full term could put the mother’s life at risk? This question addresses the one case where I thought abortions were permissible. I believed in saving as many lives as possible.

        Why do you feel that you have the right to control someone else’s life/future? I was told of stories of abortions haunting the lives of potential mothers…forever. (It varies from person to person.)

        If a hospital is burning down and you had to decide between saving a fertilized egg in the IVF lab or a baby in the maternity ward, which would you choose? I didn’t think about that question. (I’d save the baby.)

        Liked by 3 people

      • Interesting. Actually, you reminded me of a question that I wanted to put in (I’ll have to go back and edit). A lot of time people say put the baby up for adoption instead, what if the kid never gets adopted and is just bounced from home to home? What if they land in an abusive home? There are about 438,000 foster children in the US. How does increasing that number help anyone?

        I just really feel like “anti abortion” is a much better term because somehow these factors keep getting left out

        Liked by 2 people

      • Oh! I will need to see which question it was.

        Yes, you’re right. I used to say “put the baby up for adoption.” But back then, I also didn’t quite realize just how problematic the foster care/adoption system really is. Lots of people don’t find a forever home, and the system is deeply flawed.

        I would agree that “anti-abortion” is a better term than “pro-life.” I knew that even when I considered myself pro-life. The one time I went to the Right to Life March, I carried a home-made sign that was anti-abortion AND anti-death penalty–it got some negative reactions. From that moment on, I know that many pro-lifers were just anti-abortion.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ariel Lynn says:

    As a woman who doesn’t want children I’ve received some very angry comments about how I’m making a huge mistake and that I will regret it later. News flash people: It’s not a mistake and I didn’t ask for your opinions so let it go already.

    Oh my. Send some of these “lovely” people my way any time you feel the urge. I have some very strong words of my own I’d love to share.

    Mostly about how they make their own a–es look lovely by wearing them as hats. Very bold style choice. 🙄 😏

    Plus, I don’t go around telling other people that they shouldn’t or can’t have children so don’t try to tell me that I have to.

    OMG, can you imagine if we did that to people – “Hey, you shouldn’t have kids. Like, I know you want them, & you’d love them, but the world’s over-populated, your genes aren’t great, & you would regret it. Trust me, I know these things because I also have an uterus, so I must be linked into the single brain all women use.”

    “In fact, you’re more likely to have those risks giving birth to a child than have an abortion.”

    Considering the state of maternal mortality in the U.S., you’re much more likely to have all those risks giving birth. Plus, y’know, death.

    If I got pregnant today I would probably have an abortion.

    I would love to see a day where this is all you had to put. No explanations, no reasons, just your choice – end of sentence, end of story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love you, Ariel!

      Seriously, people would say we were awful if we went around telling them they can’t have kids even though they want to.

      Yeah, the risk of childbirth (in my opinion) isn’t worth it. Not sorry. Even Beyonce and Serena Williams have talked about the complications they had during pregnancy and they almost DIED and people are still like “how can you not want children????”

      Easy. It’s easy. I also don’t want to die ya know?

      I would love to see that day too but don’t think I will

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ariel Lynn says:

        I love you too!!! Happy New Year! I hope you keep kicking a– & taking names in 2019.

        I may try telling people who try to tell me it’s “not natural” to want to be kid-free that it’s unnatural to want to have kids. When they argue with me, using “biological imperative” &, as they usually do, “well, I feel it so it must be natural” (not gonna get into the fact that I’m sure pedophiles have those same “natural feelings”), I’ll tell them – “I don’t have those feelings. Therefore, it must be unnatural.”

        I will never understand why so many people insist that other people’s private matters are somehow their business. The decisions other people make don’t affect me, so why should I care? It’s their conscience, their relationship/non-relationship with G-d, their friends & family, their d—ed business.

        Geez. & you have to think that Serena Williams & Beyonce had the very best medical care, considering their status & wealth. Unfortunately, the most recent statistics I read (which, to be honest, was a while ago, but it’s possible they’re still accurate) said that African-American women were much more likely to suffer maternal death in the U.S. than other women. 😥

        Like

      • At this point, im not even willing to be cheeky anymore. Honestly, they’ll just get a fuck you. And that will be all of it.

        Yup that is still accurate and no I am not willing to risk my life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ariel Lynn says:

        It definitely does get tiring. Rather quickly too. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ariel Lynn says:

    Reblogged this on Writing Radiation and commented:
    Some brilliant thoughts & great questions posed to those who claim to be “pro-life” & not “anti-abortion.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. thingscarlaloves says:

    Reblogged this on Things Carla Loves and commented:
    Also, Brendan from Blind Justice actually answered a lot of Rae’s questions, so please definitely check them out in the comments section! I found them incredibly enlightening and interesting!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. thingscarlaloves says:

    Okay, so I have a major concussion – I fell down the stairs again and my head went through the wall, and to say it was bad is an understatement and I’m currently writing this at my most clearest I have been so hoping it makes sense because lots of stuff I’ve said since I fell yesterday doesn’t come quite right out, but this was just the best ❤

    Liked by 2 people

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  9. Laura Beth says:

    I need to read this book. I’ve started to hear good things about it – A few people I knew received it for Christmas.

    I wrote a blog post about Planned Parenthood in January 2016. Can’t believe that was almost three years ago! I read a magazine article about Cecile Richards, which inspired me to research, and research some more, and then write the post.

    https://hotshotheadlines.wordpress.com/2016/01/23/hot-topic-12-planned-parenthood/

    I’m definitely at high risk for miscarriages, due to my mom’s mom having seven of them, having my uncle and mom prematurely, and then my mom having three of them before I came into the world at 25 weeks. Do I want to have kids? Yes, absolutely. I want to certainly try with my husband. Knowing my family history makes me uneasy, but my mom has had confidence for years that I will be successful. Being an only child, I’ve felt the pressure to get married and have kids. It’s been incredibly annoying that people still ask, three years into our marriage, if we’re planning on having kids, and “to not wait too long.”

    My canned response: “We want to, but on our own time.”

    What I want to say: “Go fuck yourself. What my husband and I do in our bedroom, and when, is none of your goddamn business.”

    Thank you for continuing the conversation. I started on the Pill when I was 11 or 12 – I was absolutely miserable, and turned into a completely different person, when my periods began. It was ridiculous. Never mind that one of the cheerleaders, Kirstin, called me out in front of the entire seventh grade right before winter break. She thought I was pregnant because I was on birth control. It was absolutely ridiculous and uninformed, but I wanted to melt into the floor. After that day, I wisely chose a select few friends where we shared the innermost secrets and struggles in our lives. Now, I’m on the ring, have been for several years, and my life is so much better because of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for 1. Linking your article about PP and 2. Sharing your story about birth control. Im so glad to hear the ring is working for you! Ooh im working on a post about periods that will probably go up by the end of the week!

      Please do get this book if you can. It’s so worth it!

      Same about the miscarriages. Every woman in my family has had at least one. When you decide to have kids though, I wish you the best of luck. The thing is though, no one seems to know that 1 in 4 women have miscarriages, thats really freaking common and no one talks about it.

      Liked by 1 person

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