I missed Blog for Choice Day, I wanted to say more than I could type in an evening. I am doing a re-do and back-posting this.
On this, the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade, I am more grateful for the decision than I ever have been in the past. Last year, I was still deep in the fog of grief and disbelief and the anniversary passed me by, unnoticed. This year, it deserves my attention.
This decision was and is so important, because it allows choice in a terrible time in a person’s life. Before you’re in that situation, no one would believe that they will be the person that needs an abortion. To each person need is different, but to many, many people a needed abortion is possibility, even if that isn’t acknowledged in the usual abortion discourse. Legal abortion ensures that each woman and couple who are in a situation where they feel they need an abortion can receive one safely. Nothing more and nothing less.
In our hearts and minds, Hub and I needed an abortion. Another person or couple might view an abortion in my situation as unnecessary. They could argue that since the child would die anyway we should wait for that. That person might view a necessary abortion as one done on a viable fetus who would be born into a situation of addiction or violence. Another might view a needed abortion as one of a fetus who was conceived by rape or incest, forcing the mother to live though her trauma for the length of her pregnancy (and beyond). Most would agree that an abortion to save the life and health of a mother is needed- very, very few argue against prescribing medication to initiate an abortion in the case of a tubal pregnancy. All but the most ardent pro-life is actually against abortion in all cases- it is a matter of reminding people that abortions aren’t always un-wed teen moms who still want to fit in their prom dress. Almost any woman could find herself in the situation of need.
There is a saying that goes “The only moral abortion is my abortion”. I think that sentiment is woman shaming and that it needs to stop. There are whole host of reasons why people chose to abort, just as there many, nuanced reasons why people chose to leave school, sever ties with family members and get a divorce. There are whole multitude of other painful, difficult, situations where people feel forced to pick between two awful, no good, very bad options. Rather than saying “I would never do that” it is time to turn to our sisters and feel their pain, support their choices and lift them up.
I understand that there are deep religious and moral reasons for people to be anti-abortion, but being anti-abortion should not mean that you have to be anti-choice. I was anti-abortion in the case of Blue Sunday. I did not want to abort my baby. There is nothing I would not have done to save my baby. I would have fallen to the feet of the Lord, I would have given up my home, my job, all of my worldly possessions for that baby to have been born healthy. This is the greatest tragedy of my life (and I hope that it remains as such). The decision was terrible- have a child born into a life of pain and medical interventions, or abort now and allow a painless passing. Legislation that would have forced me to carry to term would have made an unspeakably bad situation immeasurably worse. It is a huge disservice to me, my child and others like me. I know there are people saying “but you’re an unusual case”. I assure you, I am not. There are hundreds of others like me, there are others who feel just as desperate and just as justified in other situations, like those in the situations I mentioned above and in countless others I can’t imagine, who feel that abortion is their only way out.
Women need to look at the world around them and realize a few key things:
1) Legislation doesn’t your religious code- don’t make this the exception. Abortion can be “morally wrong” and legal just as divorce, working on the Sabbath, not honoring your parents and thousands of other religious tenants.
2) Abortion is not often used as birth control. It is painful, expensive and emotionally taxing. It is far riskier than birth control pills and condoms. I’m not saying it never happens, but this is not a reasonable argument against abortion. It is like outlawing all guns because they can be used to kill people. Outlawing some, 3rd trimester abortions for non-medical reasons- automatic machine guns, makes sense, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater (see what I did there? A baby comment when talking about abortion- ouch).
3) It isn’t okay to tear each other down. Women aren’t the oppressed bunch we used to be, but there is still a long way to go. Women have surpassed men in yearly college attendance rates, we hold CEO positions, elected office and are leaders in the home and work environments. But women still make less than men, on average, we are still held to different moral and physical standards: women who sleep around are called sluts by men and women alike, a beautiful woman in a reveling outfit was “asking for it” if she is raped. A women who had an abortion is an immoral skank who should have kept her legs closed. None of these assumptions are true. None of these actions happen in a vacuum where only bad people have sex, wear reveling clothes or get pregnant in a bad situation. Women have lives and stories to tell- listen to them- just maybe it will change your mind.