Literal Issues

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Rob calls me “literal girl” because sometime nuance escapes me. I have often wondered if there had been an Autism spectrum when I was a child if I would have been slotted somewhere along it.

I make assumptions about the virtual people I know based on what they post and where they post it. If we are Facebook acquaintances, and your feed is a healthy mix of the personal and self-promotion, I figure that no question is purely rhetorical even at the crossroads of religion and politics.

Apparently, I am wrong about this. One can shamelessly promote causes and career and still feel that status rants are sacrosanct.

A blogging acquaintance roared a bit about the recent abortion scuffle during the almost shutdown of the U.S. government, which I personally feel has little to do with “life” and everything to do with stripping women of the few rights we still possess, and basically called out those of us who believe that women’s healthcare should number abortion among its many faces.

Why not just admit that abortion is about killing children, she asked. I would respect you more if you would simply own that fact.

I thought about it. And responded.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have. The cheering section that followed her bluster was a clear indication that only those who believed as she did would be actually respected, but I responded.

Why? Because she asked for responses and because she’s wrong. Her position, grounded in motherhood and Christianity, presumes that those who support the ability to choose to abort a pregnancy think the fetus is a child or that life begins at conception or that the unborn have rights that supersede the woman’s before they are viable.

“You know it’s murder,” she responded.

But it’s not, in my opinion.

I don’t believe in any of that Christian nonsense.

Life doesn’t begin at conception. Existence does. And just existing doesn’t mean much. My late husband existed for months in a spastic body with a brain scoured clean of dura matter, taking in nothing, processing nothing and responding to nothing. That’s not life. The embryos left over from our 2nd IVF existed in cryo-storage for over three years before I gave permission for them to be discarded. Frozen potential but also not life.

I know the difference between life and existence. That’s the quibble and we are nowhere near ready to admit it or deal with it as a society.

But I also don’t think life is sacred. We are born and ,if the stars align properly, we live, happily or not so much, depending on a lot of circumstances of which a goodly number are not ours to control, and then we die. That which is me – truly me – continues on. Maybe my self is born again or maybe there is another plane of existence. I don’t know. But this one life, while I like it very much, is just a blip on a vast canvas and given what I have seen, read, watched and experienced in my short life, I have yet to be convinced that anything about physical life as we know it is all that special. We certainly don’t treat it as such on the whole if one excludes the moaning over potential life, which seems to attract far more interest than the real live children who suffer within walking distance of almost all of us every single day.

But the bottom line is that someone else’s religious beliefs shouldn’t carry more weight in the eyes of the law than my own where my internal works are concerned and forcing a woman to give birth (or to risk pregnancy because you don’t believe contraception is moral either) is wrong. Woman are more than potential incubators, which is what the pro-life movement reduces them to – slutty incubators with the maternal instincts of magpies. (And just as an aside, since when does using your vagina for sexual purposes automatically translate into allowing the government jurisdiction over anything that results?*)

And I said so. But that wasn’t, actually, where I messed up even though – according to someone who responded later – I was rude to have replied at all.

No, what I did was tread unwisely into the “why don’t women who don’t want their babies simply give them up for adoption because there are a lot of us out here who can’t have kids who could benefit from this.”

The unspoken companion fairy story spins off into the “win-win” weeds of how everyone gets what they want and a poor unwanted baby is loved and cherished.

I really hate it when it’s assumed that I was unwanted or that my birth mother was little more than a brood mare.

Being adopted, however, I take all sorts of issue with the idea that adoption is a panacea without consequences. There are oodles of studies supporting the fact that even newborns know their birth mothers, and how can anyone think that an infant separated from its mother and carted off by strangers doesn’t know it or that marks aren’t left as a result?

There is also the tip-toed about problem that, at its heart, adoption is a legal transaction that comes uncomfortably close to buying and selling a tiny human being, who will someday be an adult that the law still regards as a child where the adoption is concerned.

And finally, almost no one goes into adoption as a first choice. Unless you are Angelina Jolie, maybe, you likely adopted as a back up plan when biology failed you. There is nothing about this that makes you a bad person, but the disingenuous way many adoptive parents approach this obvious truth is insulting to adopted children. We know the truth. We only think less of you when you won’t admit it.

I am not a puppy. Here are my papers, bundle me up and take me home. Woof.

My birth mother was seventeen, Catholic and it was 1963. She had no choice but to put me up for adoption.

My parents were infertile. If they wanted a family, they had no choice but to adopt.

Kudos to my parents for never pretending I wasn’t adopted or that the reason for it wasn’t the fact that they couldn’t have biological children. It never mattered to me. I knew nothing else. I was torqued, however, when I found out as an adult that not only was I not entitled to contact my birth parents for a health history, but that my dad had torched all the papers the agency had given them that might have helped me find out the information I am entitled to.

Dad took that tongue-lashing with an uncharacteristic meekness, I might add.

What was annoying about the responses I received on my take on adoption (one I think I earn by being an adoptee and therefore knowing something of what I speak) is the consensus that I was “wrong” and “need help”.



“Aren’t you glad that your mother cared enough to give birth to you? Wouldn’t you just hate it had you been aborted?”

What kind of backward logic is that?

Being a fetus, or even an infant, is not something I can recall, so if I had been aborted, how could I possibly know or care about it?

And if I had been and being born was important to me, wouldn’t I have simply been born to someone else? Or what if simply being conceived was all I had to do to complete what assignment this go around had me down for? What if my only task had been to blink into existence and then cease to be in a cellular form. providing my birth mother with the opportunity to have an abortion, which was part of her life’s lesson plan?

Of course, I had a more active curriculum to complete and to help others with this time. Being adopted was part of that though I still feel it is just a slightly harder to justify form of the whole ownership thing we pretend doesn’t exist where our children are concerned anyway.

It’s too bad, I suppose, that abortions have to occur. They are no picnic for the women getting them either, and it’s incorrect to assume why women have abortions by stereotyping them in the same category as those who take established lives.  But life is hard. Choices can be hard, and abortion is one of the hardest and making it harder, or impossible, might make you feel like a good person but it doesn’t solve the issues that bring women to choose it now, does it?

*Ah ha, I hear the righteous squeal, then why do my tax dollars have to pay for STD and PG checks via Planned Parenthood? If you want privacy, take care of your own damn health. To which I reply, good point. And let’s add getting old to that because my tax dollars shouldn’t have to replace a knee or hip you didn’t take care of when you were young because you were too lazy to exercise, right? Or that heart by-pass or the diabetes you developed eating nothing but processed food. Or the cancer you have because you couldn’t suck it up for the hot flashes and took hormones for too long.

And while we are at it, shouldn’t you have to fund your own retirement? It’s not my problem you thought your house was an ATM or that your children need five star summer vacations, is it?

There are a lot of things that tax dollars cover. Bank bailouts. Sketchy military actions. Corporate welfare. The list of waste is long and shifts depending on your politics, faith system and socio-economic status.

Lighten up.

4 thoughts on “Literal Issues

  1. I really enjoyed what you wrote. You have a very excellent way of breaking things down from a very logical perspective.

    Many others are not able to dissect and separate their feelings from the basic facts that surround both these topics. These topics are just highly influenced by many even GREATER topics (women’s rights, religious aspects, emotional ties, etc.) and you, not being the typical person influenced by these in regards to these 2 topics, are bound to always open up a can of worms when your opinion is stated.

    I would like to say that I agree with what you have written. That’s all I have 🙂 I too could spout about my right to my body, how my taxes are used, or as always, pull my religious beliefs into justifying why I believe what I believe but it’s just not a battle I chose to fight sometimes. When I do chose to fight and express my opinion, it usually comes with the same lashings, and I have learned to just walk away when I can’t speak on a common sense level with others.

    I do have one small thought though… I find it a truly sad state when those lobbying for abortion think they can have an opinion based on their religious beliefs, yet when someone somewhere wants to reply against said RELIGIOUS beliefs, it’s “no-no” and “don’t talk about it”…. why is ok to bash abortion and not bash religion at the same time? Why is religion such a “hush hush” topic? After all, it is the primary cause of most hateful and harmful actions against human beings and how we exist today.

    I was told I’m a “Stoic” person the other day…. and I actually had to look it up to refresh my memory… and I suppose it is correct. I suppose I am just “stoic” in regards to issues like abortion and adoption, as well as I am stoic about other traumatic events and happenings. I am bashed for this all the time… I prefer to just simplify it that I am just logical. My brain just functions a little differently then others sometimes… sure, I have emotion but I chose to be stoic, and yes, this too gets me bashed.

    Hope your day is well 🙂

    1. I think the “stoicism” is right on. People expect you to argue back from a place that is really highly charged emotionally rather than wanting to break things down and discuss.

  2. You must have an opener specifically designed for opening cans of worms!

    Knee jerk reactions abound, and generally on the hot topics, no one is allowed to have a dissenting opinion. Rational debate is to be avoided always, it seems.

    I find myself out of step with most camps on the abortion issue. Abortion should not be a major issue. It should not be a form of birth control. It should be a very uncommon procedure needed in a handful of desperate cases with complicated histories. We have safe, accessible, cheap methods of birth control. Why aren’t these methods being used in such a way that unwanted pregnancy is not necessary? Why are we not using “morning after” pill therapy for accidents/trauma? I just don’t understand why abortion is still so prevalent that it has the power to be a political issue. I must be missing something.

    I am also uneasy with calling abortion an issue of women’s reproductive health and women’s bodies. I’m fairly sure that a precursor to abortion involves a man at some point, somehow. And for me, that little spot of tissue, made up of something that did not start off entirely in my body, is something which should be excised from my body with more concern than say a genital wart.

    I am not implying that abortion is approached by individual women with the attitude of ridding themselves of a troublesome cosmetic (or medical) blight, but sometimes the pro-choice slogans make it sound as though the procedure is as inconsequential as that.

    All that said, I would never, never, ever judge a woman for choosing abortion. I would not criticize her, or think less of her. It is absolutely her decision to make, as she sees fit. I would never presume to tell her what is right or wrong for her. How could I possibly know? I might wonder how the heck she got herself into a position of needing an abortion, but it really isn’t my business.

    I don’t like abortion as a concept. I am glad that the option for it exists. I wish that it was an uncommon, seldom-needed medical procedure. I would hold the hand of my friend or neighbour or co-worker as she went for an abortion, and I would stroke her forehead and feed her soup afterwards. I would defend her decision against any criticism. And I don’t find that all those points of view are contradictory.

    As for adoption, I cannot possibly hope to be in a position to have a considered opinion on the topic. I have not adopted nor been adopted. Seems to me that your point of view has a great deal of validity and weight, on all the topics you addressed in that thread. I may never understand why people are so reactive and vitriolic about contrary opinions; I’m pretty certain, though, that wherever you write, that can of worms is likely to appear.

    With affection, m’dear…

    1. Ah yes, worms and me.

      I can’t recall specifics about the blogger but I get the feeling that the drama is bound up somehow in infertility, which I also know a bit about firsthand, but I don’t think one situation should influence feelings about the other from a common sense standpoint.

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