Weekend feature: I am pro-abortion
This one's not quite double-length, more like a matinee, I suppose.
This entry is about abortion. Not any one specific procedure, but the truth of what abortion is, how I support it without question, and my loathing of any one who isn't pro-women, but calls themselves pro-life. It's not terribly ranty, this one, but if you aren't pro-women, and pro-choice without reservations, you might want to skip this one.
I support abortion for any reason, at any time, up to viability (medically thought to be about 24 weeks) or later, if the women's life is at risk, or the foetus is not going to live. Without reservation. It's not my business why a woman would choose that, it's only up to me to include her in my We. We women, not them, not those ones over there. We.
I am pro-abortion. I get so sick of hearing people say, “well, I'm pro-choice, but No One is pro-abortion.” Some of us are! Some of us know that in order to trust, support and leave that choice up to the owner of that uterus, you have to be Pro-Abortion. Sometimes, Pro-Women means Pro-Abortion.
First of all, let's start at the very very beginning and define everything. Abortion is the termination, the stopping, of a pregnancy before delivery of a live, breathing infant. There are two different, distinct uses for the word: spontaneous and therapeutic.
Spontaneous abortions are called “miscarriages” in our vernacular, and refer to the end of an early pregnancy without any medical intervention. These happen most often before a woman even knows she's pregnant; her period will be a little heavier, maybe a day or two late. Some of the numbers I've seen on this one estimate that a quarter of all fertilised eggs don't even implant! So much for “life begins at fertilisation”, huh? I guess that means women of child-bearing age who aren't currently pregnant but who are sexually active are potential mass murderers?
Of course, sometimes she knows she's pregnant, and wanted the pregnancy to continue; when that happens, we are sad with her, for the stoppage of a potential person who was being eagerly awaited. Yes, I'm sure that sounds cold, and I don't mean it that way. I lost a wanted pregnancy; I mourned the idea of that person, but I never felt like a person died. Maybe I'm just an asshole, I don't know.
When this happens later in the pregnancy, often the family and doctors will call it a “still birth”, but it's still, technically, an abortion.
The second definition, the one most often guaranteed to cause a knee-jerk reaction, is the intentional stoppage of that pregnancy, through medical or surgical intervention. This can happen a number of ways, from treating an ectopic pregnancy with medication to stop it and save the life of the woman, to the two-day luminaria-delivery process necessary for a foetus with catastrophic medical problems that are incompatible with life [this sterile phrase usually means the foetus is already dead, won't live, has no brain, no face, no something that is necessary, or if the pregnancy is continued, the foetus will be in severe and horrible pain for the short time it does live after birth. This is unacceptable to most people-- we would never torture our children for our own dogmatic martyrdom.]
The vast majority of therapeutic abortions take place within seven or eight weeks of the first day of the woman's last period. The “gestational age” of the zygote is about five weeks. This means it's this |-| long, and can't be seen as different and distinct from a blot clot without a powerful microscope. Contrary to the anti-women protesters, those photos don't represent abortions at all, but later still births, covered in fake blood, or photo-shopped. The products of an abortion don't look like those itty bitty plastic babies they like to hand out. They look more like a period clot-- if you see anything at all.
Don't tell the anti's that, though. They won't believe you. They'll tell you that Satan has filled your mind with lies, clouded your heart, or something equally horrible sounding! That the "abortionists" (I still don't know what the fuck is up with that word) have lied to you, and that some how the zygote that was fertilised three weeks ago, and just barely implanted, the one that will kill you, the one you don't want because you have kids at home; the one you can't raise because you just can't! That zygote, they'll tell you, is a Baby!!
I have nothing but scorn for anti-women activists. I won't call them pro-lifers. See, if they were pro-life, they'd work to provide contraception to everyone, along with comprehensive sex ed-- rather than picket Planned Parenthoods, they'd be donating time and money to get the word out, handing out condoms and pill packs by the bucket-full instead of holding signs.
If they were really pro-life, they'd work to repair the fraying social safety-net. Food stamps, TANF, ADC, WiC, child support, head start, child care, good health insurance, low cost housing in good neighbourhoods, good schools... oh, wait, we can't have that! Come on, infant, now that you're breathing, you're on your own. Fuck you and your mother 'til you're 18 years old! Then you can join the military, and those so-called pro-lifers will love you again. And don't you dare think you should get some help! You can't have their money supporting you! You're a leech on society, if you think you should get some help.
They would punish women for having sex by forcing us to give birth. These anti's see pregnancy as punishment for being whores, sluts, for thinking for ourselves, and believing we're more than the sum of our reproductive parts. Pregnancy and Motherhood are punishment. Remember that.
They are pro-birth. They are anti-women. They are anti-child. They give less than a shit about any of those zygotes they call “babies!!!” (yes, they always say it in this wailing way that adds at least two exclamation marks to the word). They want to control every single woman out there, to keep us broke, stupid, uneducated and pregnant, making babies for rich, white, Christians to adopt. You notice, these people who protest at PP's or women's clinics, they tend to be waaaaay too old to have kids themselves. [Or, horror of horrors, they bring their children with them! Oh Gods, that ought to be illegal!]
If they were pro-life, they would be anti-war, anti-abortion and anti-death penalty; they would be pro-contraception, pro-education and pro-woman. Rarely, very very rarely will you see them be all three. I can think of one group of nuns in the US who I know are all three. I can't think of their Order name right now, but you hear about them some times in the news, when they get arrested protesting nuclear warheads, and when they protested the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those ladies get arrested all the time! But that's it. Just them.
[Note: I have a thing about the RCC's treatment of women, and find them lacking in even the most basic of human empathy based on their behaviour with regards to the sexual torture of countless children in their charge. My one admiring statement about the church, comes in reference to these women. They actually put themselves, their bodies, where their mouth is. I still think they are dogmatically and theologically bankrupt; however I can respect that they are trying, in their own way, to live the way they think their Jesus would be happy with-- ergo, they're real Christians. Now, if we could just get them out of the RCC and thinking for themselves, just imagine the force they'd be! Oh, well, a girl can dream, can't she? Remember, Senator Frothy, is a Catholic, and considered to be a good one, dogmatically, theologically correct. And yes, I will keep linking that blog every single time I mention his name. He's a vile little shit-stain and I enjoy participating in the Google-bombing.]
Those fuckers at Operation Rescue, or the other Right To Life groups... Let's just say I'm surprised they walk upright. Actually, that's not being fair to monkeys, even though I loathe and despise monkeys (they freak me out, I don't know why)... I don't know if I can make a comparison to anything and not insult that thing. Shit, even little salamanders and newts are kinda cute... and I like snakes and spiders. Hmmm, cockroaches? Leeches? Viruses, like Ebola? I could call them Ebola... they do sorta infect the people around them, after all.
Now, the arguments to support a woman's right to choose what to do with her body, they're super simple, and so really don't need a lot of explanation:
It's her body! She's alive, thinking, sentient, and has autonomy! Therefore she can choose what to do with her body. Period.
I don't care if she goes in every other month to have an abortion. Her choice, her body. I don't know why she would, they're expensive, but if you ask the anti's, every woman who's ever gone into Planned Parenthood, we get abortions every month, and a party, and baby-flavoured doughnuts, and some sacrifice to the gods of “we hate babies, muwahahahaha”. They think every woman is an evil bitch, who just can't wait to get down to PP or the clinic and get her uterus scraped! It's like a mani-pedi, an outing, I guess a fun girls-day out?
I've never been able to get an explanation of exactly what it is that we're supposed to be doing in the PP's. Women who get cancer screenings, our yearly exams, Paps, and breast exams, even mammograms; those of us who get our pills there, our IUD's, implants, patches and rings, shots and information packets, even pre-natal medical care. PP's, Women's clinics, they're free-standing little doctor's offices; you can get just about anything done there, including male sterilisation!
But, of course, according to the anti-women fuckers, we're there for one thing, and one thing only: To sacrifice our Babies!!! on the altar of our egos, in the name of Satan!!!
And that doesn't even get into the bits about how we'll all be so depressed afterwards that we'll kill ourselves. Or how we'll get cancer. Or be sterile. “Take that,” their god says. “Take that, and that, and that! Be punished for beings a slut! You Slutty Sluts, you!!”
I learned the other day that about 77% of all the leaders in the anti-choice movement are men. (Protect Choice, by way of Moveon.org). I knew there were more men, but I didn't realise there were three times more men.
Think about that for a second. Three-quarters of the Leaders of the anti-women activism in the US are men.
These men are physiologically unable, completely incapable, of getting pregnant.
If they are date-raped, they will not risk pregnancy.
If their uncle or grandfather rapes them, they will not risk pregnancy.
They can take Plan B the “morning after” and never risk pregnancy.
If their condom breaks, or their body reacts in such a way as to ignore the Pill*, they will not risk getting pregnant.
If their partner is abusive, and refuses to use contraception, these men will not risk pregnancy.
You notice I'm using the word risk...
Being pregnant is risky for women. It can kill us. And if carrying the pregnancy to term doesn't, we can still die delivering. Yes, die! We can be permanently injured, in a coma, paralysed, dead.
We can lose our health, our teeth, our hair. Our bone mass goes down and our bones soften, and we can have trouble with our bowels and abdominal wall muscles for the rest of our life. Our blood pressure goes up, and we can get diabetes. Being pregnant isn't anything like you see in the movies. It's a dangerous thing-- for women who were perfectly healthy before hand. I'm not even taking into account women who have Type 1 or 2 diabetes before they're pregnant; women who have heart problems, who have liver disease, who have HIV/AIDS, or any other transmittable disease.
But these men, they tell us we have to be pregnant; we can't avoid it by using contraception, and we can't get abortions when that contraception doesn't work.
Because they said so! Their god told them! Besides, they can help you! With a pack of diapers, and maybe some baby clothes! Because everyone knows babies only need a couple diapers and some onesies and they're set til they're 18 years old... [My sarcasm is killing me here. I want to laugh at the stupid, but cry at the same time.]
And you should just give it up for adoption anyway. If you're white, relatively pretty, and young, that is. They can help you give the resulting baby away to the best white, well-off, Christian couple they can find...
Right, the adoption part
I will say right now, that adoption is the single most self-less act a woman can do. Forget dying for someone, she's choosing to place the infant she carried in her own body, with some other family. That's a big fucking deal, and anyone who pretends it's as easy as giving away a goldfish deserves to have his testicles cut off/ovaries cut out, with a spoon.
It's a big deal to willingly choose to give your child to someone else to raise, knowing that person will love that child completely. It's completely unselfish and, in my opinion, the ultimate act of love, to place your infant with someone who can give them the care that you can't.
Any woman who does that, is a fucking hero! And fuck you to anyone who says she's anything less than that.
And to the RCC, and other churches who took the babies from women without their consent, or permission. The ones who tormented the “girls who went away”, the ones who threatened and in some places out-right kidnapped those infants: Fuck you, you pricks! Fuck you all to hell! And take your dogma with you!
That being said, not everyone can do that. Some of us might be able to, but we aren't sure. Some of us know damned well we can't. And some women, that's their first thought. And that is absolutely OK.
That's why we have this little thing, it's called choice...Really, that's what choice is. Knowing you can terminate the pregnancy, knowing you can place the infant for adoption, knowing you can keep and raise it yourself. These are the choices. They are huge, really, these choices. Fucking Gigantic! Every one can be a complete life-changer.
Choosing to have an abortion is most often made as an act of love, believe it or not. Women who already have kids and who know we can't take care of another one, choose to love our living kids with everything we have, and have an abortion. Yes, that was a potential person. Potentially. If it grew, and matured, and in my opinion, breathed. But, we have these kids who are right there in front of us, who need us, who need to be fed and clothed and cared for-- and another one, we just couldn't do that.
For some women, choosing to have an abortion is the best thing we can choose. It's best for us, for our lives, for our health, and for our kids.
Sometimes it's easy.
Sometimes, it's hard.
Sometimes we think about it for days, and other time, we know right away what we need to do.
We choose to abort because our lives demand action from us; we are escaping a violent relationship; we are dealing with the after affects of partner-rape; we know the zygote will have a disease like MD, or sickle-cell anaemia or Tay-sacks. We know the medication we're on will cause catastrophic and horrific birth defects, and the contraception we were so careful about didn't work. We know we can't stop taking our medication because we have cancer, or depression, or a heart problem, but taking it will do awful things to the foetus. We know that we can't feed another mouth on our income; or that we will lose our income completely. We know we will die.
So we make the choice that's best for us. The choice, no matter what is is, that is right for us. The choice that we often wish we weren't asked to make. The choice we tried so fucking hard not to be in the position to have to decide. The choice that we took the pill, wore a patch, used condoms and spermicide, wore an IUD, even avoided sex altogether, in order not to have to make.
But we make that choice. Every day. And it affects us, even if we don't share it with you. We are thankful, relieved, elated, excited, happy, sad, regretful, down on ourselves. We are all of these things, and none of them, no matter what we choose.**
We are here.
We are alive. Full of thoughts, and dreams, and plans.
We are women, and it's our choice. Our bodies carry the scars of giving birth, not men's.
If you don't have a uterus, there is really only one thing you can do. I'll tell you, trust me, it's the best choice for you. Write it down, and carry it with you.
Gotcher pen and paper? Ready?
You say, “It's not my body. It's your body. What do you choose? Whatever choice you make, I will be there for you, and hold your hand. I will help with money, and time, and myself. No matter what you choose.”
You stand with us, supporting out choices, even if you don't like them.
You use a condom every time you have sex if you're not in a relationship where you're both happily and actively trying to have children.
You remember that those men who yell at us, calling us whores because we use the Pill, those men, if they could get pregnant, would make sure that abortions were freely dispensed at every 7-11! But because only women get pregnant, they will do all they can to make sure abortions are as hard to get as possible. They will kill us, kill our doctors, shut down our medical clinics, call us names and attack us. They will take our contraception from us, prevent us from using Plan B, fire bomb out clinics, make up Wanted posters, and stalk doctors and nurses.
Stand with us. We need you with us, just like we need to stand together.
Women who aren't pro-choice. If it's your religion, take ten minutes and find me where abortion is prohibited in the Bible. I'll wait.
Before you pull out that Psalm, remember that the singer was writing words into the mouth of your God. He was singing and giving thanks, to his god, back when humans had no idea how procreation worked, and thought sperm planted little people inside women's bellies to grow like corn.
Find anything? No? Nothing?
You're right, actually. The closest thing you'll find is Numbers 5:11-31, often called the adultery test. Basically if your husband gets jealous and thinks you're fucking around on him, he can drag you to the priest. The priest will make up a magical potion, and if you've slept around, will cause you to have an abortion. If not, well, then the magical potion won't curse you.
Huh... isn't that something. The Bible tells us husbands can basically force a woman to have an abortion if he get jealous. Even today most men wouldn't dream of doing such a horrible thing! I mean, fuck, how barbaric!
Doesn't say anything about not having one. Doesn't say foetuses are human, either. They aren't considered human and alive until they had been named, about 30-45 days after their birth, during the sacrifice of cleansing, and purifying them and their mother. God didn't give them a spirit until they breathed. If a pregnant woman is hurt and the foetus dies, the father of the foetus gets a property replacement price, not a blood price. (That means the foetus was worth say, as much as a chair, rather than a person demanding life for life).
So, stop being so sanctimonious and stand with us. Or get a new religion... one that expressly prohibits abortion, because, not even Roman Catholicism was anti-abortion at first. That started later, as backlash against liberalisation (isn't that always the way. Supposedly it's due to liberalisation that priests raped the shit out of thousands, possibly millions of children, too. Just ask Senator Frothy and the Pope!)
I don't care if you disagree. I'm OK with that.
I'm OK if you think abortion is the worst thing eveh! If so, what are you going to do about it? Stand there, calling me a murderer? Shoving bloody foetus photos in my face? Screaming obscenities at innocent women?
Or working to educate women, inform girls, provide contraception and opportunities?
Or working to educate women, inform girls, provide contraception and opportunities?
Until these anti-choicers, anti-women, anti-life people start working to reduce abortions though education and contraception, they are the murderers. They are murdering women and girls every time one of us dies due to abortion-complications. Every time one of us dies in a dirty room, in a back ally, in a kitchen, on a floor. Every time one of us dies, is maimed, hurt, harmed and broken, it's their fault.
*Yes, some women have the unique ability to take the Pill every single day, at exactly the same time, so-called perfect use, and still get pregnant. We don't know why, it just happens. The same way that the Morning after pill only works 87% of the time, the Pill doesn't work for everyone, and often you don't know, until you're pregnant. Congratulations!?
** There are some persons who claim having an abortion causes regret, depression and ill mental health; however most women experience relief when they have an abortion. We're more likely to regret carrying the pregnancy (maybe we should have placed them for adoption, someone out there has to be better at raising them than we are! Right?) due to lost opportunities, or feeling like we're lousy parents, than to regret an abortion. It's just not considered OK to admit that sometimes, we wish we weren't mothers. Sometimes we don't regret anything.
There is no catch-all sad emotion you can pin on a woman who chooses to terminate a pregnancy, just like you can't pin any one happy one on a woman who carries it to term and chooses to raise the resulting child.