Melissa Harris-Perry on the Choice of Motherhood
March 4, 2012 2 Comments
The most recent push by the right-wing to limit birth control and to force unwanted medical procedures on women seeking abortions reminds me of how much I dislike the term “pro-life”, because most of the people in that movement are not. They presume that life begins at conception, but their commitment is selective, fading quickly when it comes to anything other than preventing women from making decisions about whether or not to bear children.
Rather than focusing on taking money away from birth control, how about adding some money for universal public pre-natal health care? (And why aren’t Democrats proposing that in the name of pro-life?) How about providing Medicare for every child under the age of eighteen? (And why aren’t Democrats proposing that in the name of pro-life?) And how about funding decent quality education for all children in this country? (And why aren’t Democrats proposing that in the name of pro-life?)
On her television show yesterday, Melissa Harris-Perry segued from a discussion centered on education to one on motherhood using the heartbreaking story of Tanya McDowell, a homeless mother who has been sentenced to five years in prison for sending her child to the “wrong” kindergarten in Norwalk, Connecticut, rather than in Bridgeport, which was the site of her last known permanent address.
Harris-Perry points out that this woman is also being jailed on drug-related charges while magazines like Redbook write articles about more affluent moms who smoke weed. Spoiler alert: these moms are not going to jail. McDowell’s story is one of those which reminds us that we live in a country that punishes the poor, and then punishes them again for being poor.
Harris-Perry and her guests go on to have a conversation about motherhood, which is common enough for television, but they break through the surface pablum to investigate the deeper issues and complexities. I appreciated Harris-Perry mentioning the importance of the choice of motherhood, and how taking it away will lead to more desperate mothers in desperate circumstances. It’s a refreshingly intelligent discussion in the middle of a time of Republican men trying to take that choice away from women.