The other week we were flying back from a weekend vacation (a whole weekend of uninterrupted sleep and adult time with my husband) - and I did not have alot of reading material on my iPad and I was tired of scrabble, so I was reading the case law I had pulled sometime ago in support of my case. I was reading the Morgentaler decision - the decision that struck down Canada's abortion law in 1988 - there are so many striking parallels between a woman's access to abortion and a woman's access to planned cesarean. I was thinking how sad it is - how clear the law seems to be on the issues, yet at the same time - how insurmountable the challenge ahead is seeming. I was also thinking about how my experience changed me and mourning the loss of the wife and mother my husband and kids deserved to have - the woman who, had things unfolded differently, would be thinking and doing so many other things - a woman who would not be burdened by a cause.
Having a cause is a lot like having a chronic illness. A cause isn't something you give passing attention to - nor is it something you fully choose - it is the choice you make when the alternative is for whatever reason, unacceptable. It is what is done, when nothing else can be done and doing nothing is reprehensive.
The cause is also a life-preserver - a coping mechanism...it holds out hope that change is possible. That what is and what was, doesn't have to be what will be. Remaining committed to it, means that hope has not yet departed. It means that what happened to me does not have to happen to other women.
I have no doubt with respect to the right of women to expect the same rights as other patients with respect to their healthcare and their abilities to make medical decisions for themselves. There are tremendous barriers to exercising those rights and asserting those rights when they are violated - and those barriers need to be eliminated. That's not a small task - and it will require many who are committed to the changes that matter - mothers, doctors, OBGYN's, midwives, nurses, lawyers, judges and administrators. It will require a certain bravery and tenacity - and those who see the value beyond their own individual experience. It will require research and awareness. It will require resources and organizational capacity.
But none of these things should be seen as unattainable for far more has been found for things that matter far less.