Some uncomfortable thoughts regarding abortion

Or rather, illegalizing abortion.

I’ve written before about how I see myself on both sides of this proverbial fence. My boyfriend gave me the term “pro-choice anti-abortionist” and I think that fits quite nicely. There is no need to argue with me over the belief that life begins at conception. I already feel that way. I’ve always felt that way, but I especially felt that way after becoming pregnant with my daughter. I knew I was pregnant before I missed a period, and no, we weren’t trying. I took one of those “five days before you skip a period” tests because I just *knew*.

The right-wing leap from that stance is that abortion should be illegal because they equate it to murder. The right-wing belief is that all the rights granted to a person after birth should be granted to a person before birth. And that right there is what terrifies me.

It is a very slippery slope that I don’t think a lot of people think about. While there are no exact statistics available, it’s estimated that miscarriages occur in up to 25% of pregnancies. Of course, this doesn’t account for miscarriages that occur before a woman even knows she’s pregnant.

At least one state representative has already tried to make miscarriage a crime. It won’t be that far of a leap if a law is ever passed granting equal rights to fetuses.

Several things can cause a miscarriage. Sometimes it’s related to the lifestyle or health of the mother. Sometimes it’s something completely out of anyone’s control. If a pregnant woman smokes, even if it’s during the first two weeks (which are actually considered the first 4 weeks by a pregnancy calendar – remember that medically you are considered pregnant from the date of your last period) when she doesn’t know she’s pregnant, and she later miscarries, what is to stop someone from going after her for manslaughter? Or even murder? What about a woman who is obese when she gets pregnant? Should she be investigated if she miscarries?

The solution, of course, is that women don’t have sex unless they intend to get pregnant. Remember that . . . even if you’re married. Don’t have sex unless you intend to get pregnant. Of course, if you are trying to get pregnant, you can’t go to work. What if something at work causes you to miscarry? Authorities would have to investigate because the baby you’re carrying has all the same legal rights as anyone else.

Since women will have to be so extra careful as to make sure they don’t do the slightest thing to cause a miscarriage, the next logical step would be to not allow women to work at all. Or to go out. Hell, let’s just go back to when women were seen and not heard and their only job was to keep house and raise babies.

Absurd? Well, yeah. But extremely possible if we start down that road, and I will fight with every fiber of my being to not go anywhere near it.

The thing is, there is a reasonable, effective, and affordable resolution to all of this. If you really want to reduce the number of abortions (and by the way, there is no significant difference in the abortion rates between countries where abortion is legal and where it is illegal), prevent the unwanted pregnancies from occurring in the first place. And there are two ways that you can do that – sex education and easily accessible and affordable birth control. Because, I’m sorry, but if abstinence education worked, there would be no need for maternity uniforms in Catholic schools.

So, the question is – do you really want to lower the rates of abortion or do just want to proselytize your religious and philosophical beliefs? Is it okay if just as many unborn babies die as long you win your position?

***I know that I have not been writing much lately, but anyone who has read a few of my posts knows that I welcome debate. There has, however, been at least one who chose not to confront me here. So be it. But I would like to add a couple of things.

1 – Just because *I* feel that life begins at conception, does not mean that everyone does and I will not, ever, judge another woman for her choices in this. I can’t know the specifics of what she is or was going through. That point is irrelevant to the argument in this post, but apparently, it needed to be stated.

2 – If you think I am being too absurd, just consider some of the things that the republican candidates have been saying lately. Real live people believe absurdities like this and all it takes is one charismatic leader to warp the minds of millions. Just look at Nazi Germany.

3 – “Illegalize” is a word. Check Webster if you don’t believe me. :)

Thank you.***

14 responses to this post.

  1. I have always considered myself pro-life, but I find myself agreeing with you as well. It’s a hard topic to discuss and an even harder one to try and regulate. But I COMPLETELY agree that birth control should be available, and sex education should be taught. I would prefer that young teens stay away from sex, but my preference isn’t going to change the world.

    And hey, maybe these sexist, old-fashioned GOP men should think about what they are pushing for. Because they are going to piss off just enough women that yes, it will become mandatory for women to stay home while pregnant. And THEY will have to pay for it with their tax dollars. We have a right to protect humanity either way. . .you can do it the easy way and provide birth control, or the hard way and start taking care of our over-populated planet, one child and one mother at a time.

    Reply

    • Thank you so much for your thoughts, Jen!

      I was once fully in support for making abortion illegal. It was something I was extremely passionate about. But the more I listened to friends tell their stories, I just couldn’t support it anymore.

      In a debate with a friend, I once said that I did think abortion should be allowed if the health of the mother was at risk. She said, “What about a mother who suffers from depression and a pregnancy would be detrimental to her mental health?” I squirmed. But it sunk it. There are too many “what ifs” for me. So, my fight has been redirected towards education and accessible birth control. *That* has no downside to me. There are no “what ifs”.

      “And THEY will have to pay for it with their tax dollars.”

      Sadly, those sexist, old-fashioned GOP men just don’t get that or refuse to even look at that argument. For them, it is as simple as “just don’t have sex”. Though I’d be willing to bet money that the vast majority of them did not wait until marriage!

      Reply

  2. Posted by Anne Katherine on March 6, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    All my children have been unplanned. My first at age 22, my last at age 38. I personally could never have an abortion. And I believe strongly in the sanctity of life.
    My mother was adopted – my grandmother as well. I probably would not exist if abortion had been an option in the 1940′s.
    As you state though, “it is a very slippery slope.” One of the most slippery. I just don’t think it should be a political issue at all, though. Government should stay out of it.
    One thing I hate about this subject is how men are off the hook and a woman who has an abortion is looked at on her own as someone making a choice all on her own. In my mind the man is 50% morally culpable. They are responsible for where they deposit their sperm and the only time I would let them off the hook is if a woman hides her pregnancy from him. But that, I know, is a complicated subject. My only point being is that any anger about this subject should be at the feet of the men as well.
    I agree wholeheartedly with you that the key is prevention and knowledge. Kids in high schools, if my kids’ reports are valid, are having sex as much if not more than ever these days. Birth control is the answer…so women don’t have to make the difficult choice. And we don’t have to worry about that slipper slope as much.
    Great post on a very difficult subject!
    Oh, and that miscarriage stuff is complete nonsense!

    Reply

    • Thank you for your thoughts, Anne!

      I think most women have, do, and will make the same choices regardless of legality. My grandfather wanted me aborted. My mom was 17, my father was 18, and abortion was legal. My grandfather told my dad that he couldn’t be certain that I was even his and that he should talk my mom into an abortion.

      I agree with you 100% about men being let off the hook. With all the debates recently about contraception, we’ve heard a lot of people spouting off about how women should just keep their legs closed. I have not heard one person say that men should keep their zippers up!

      Reply

  3. “At least one state representative has already tried to make miscarriage a crime.” I really don’t understand how stupid some people can be!

    I am anti-abortion, and I agree with you that life begins at conception. But… I can understand why a woman might choose abortion had she been raped, or 14 year-old girl choosing it because she doesn’t feel she could face it. It situations like these, people are facing hard decisions either way that they go, and no matter what anyone feels about right and wrong, it’s their choice to make.

    However, I am 100% against abortion as birth control, and I will be unapologetically judgmental about it. At some point, we all have to grow up and take responsibility for our actions.

    Reply

    • Thank you for adding your thoughts, Paula!

      Honestly, I try to avoid the discussion of abortion from an ethical or moral point-of-view. Everyone is going to have their opinions on it and I think it’s futile try to change that. I knew a girl many years ago who had had 4 or 5 abortions. I overheard a woman on the bus once talking about how she was going to keep her kid because she already had 2 abortions and was going to save her 3rd one for the next time. It makes me sick. But I also knew a 12-year-old who got pregnant and whose mom pretty much forced her to get an abortion because her body was too small to survive the pregnancy. Life just sucks sometimes!

      I take a stand on the legality of abortion, but I remain uncomfortable with the rest.

      On an unrelated and much lighter note – I’m up to season 3 of Supernatural :-D

      Reply

      • I guess it’s my Christian upbringing that make me comfortable with being judgmental on the moral issues. :) It’s just how we are, though I think/hope I’m less judgmental than most.

        Season three has some of my favorite episodes – Bad Day at Black Rock and Mystery Spot! Enjoy!

        Reply

        • “I guess it’s my Christian upbringing that make me comfortable with being judgmental on the moral issues. It’s just how we are, though I think/hope I’m less judgmental than most.”

          I think the fact that you made that comment at all is a testament to the fact that you’re less judgmental! :P

          I was on a crazy Supernatural marathon this past weekend and into this week . . . I’m up to 3rd episode of season 5! I LOVED the whole book series/prophet thing, by the way :)

  4. Season four is my favorite, mostly because of the “book series/prophet thing.” :) Season 5 is pretty great too. :)

    Reply

    • I finished season 6 and now I’m really annoyed because I can’t get the first half of season 7 anywhere and I refuse to watch the new episodes until I watch the ones before it!

      Reply

  5. I totally agree that we should try to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place with education and birth control.
    I’ve been brought up against abortion and I still hate the idea of it, but I also find my self really agreeing with your viewpoint on things. I hate to hear anyone aborting for any reason, but at the same time, I can’t force everyone to live their lives the way I choose to or believe the way I do. When it comes to my body, I think I am probably pretty extreme, because I have always told everyone in my family that if I was told by a doctor, either you die or the baby dies, I would personally say “save the baby and let me go” because I feel strongly that the baby should have a chance at leaving as long as I have…and I think this is all a part of my upbringing. I have a family, that for the most part, would do the same thing. BUT when I imagine forcing someone else to make that same choice…I could never do that and feel right about it. Their life is NOT mine and they have the right to their own choice just as I did. I realize what i would do in the situation is pretty extreme and I can’t expect everyone else to see it that way.

    I have had to come to the realization that there ARE situations where things are tough and it’s not MY place to make another woman’s choice……I just wish that abortion could be reduced so greatly that it becomes basically just used to save the mother’s life, rape, incest, etc. and NOT as a way to just deal with pregnancy rather than using birth control in the first place.

    Reply

    • *living, not leaving

      Reply

    • I used to feel exactly like you do – that I could never have an abortion for any reason whatsoever. And I still believe that . . . for the most part. 8 years ago, if it had come down to my life or my child’s, I’d have told them to save my child’s. Now, if I were to get pregnant again, I would abort in that situation because I need to be here for my daughter. Having lost my mom at young age, I just couldn’t do that to Abby if I had a choice.

      “BUT when I imagine forcing someone else to make that same choice”

      And that’s really what it comes down to. The thing is even if someone is the same kind of position I’m in and I might make one choice, I can’t make theirs, because NO situations are exactly the same. I don’t know if someone has family to help them. I don’t know if someone is not psychologically capable of raising a child. I just don’t know. And in general, as a society, we need to stop passing judgement on people because we can’t possibly ever know what it is like to be someone else. (Not to say I never pass judgement, but I do work very hard at catching myself when I start to.)

      Reply

      • That’s a good point that you made…It WOULD be hard to choose the baby’s life over your own when you have a child already…In that situation, I’m not sure if I could make the same choice as I would if I didn’t have a kid already.
        I guess this again is another situation where you just can’t really say what you would do unless you were put in it…

        Reply

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