Abortion


Oocyte viewed with HMC

Image via Wikipedia

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”.

Seriously?

Really?

“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.


Suffragettes on way to Boston (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

A record number of anti-abortion bills emerged this legislative season at the state level with South Dakota, predictably, leading the vindictive pack with a bill that essentially made it legal to murder doctors who performed abortion or women seeking them under the guise of a “self-defense” law.

And while I am still waiting for the inevitable day when right leaning legislatures seek to impose a dress code and assign us seats at the back of all public transit, the Florida State Legislature takes top prize for the sheer number of assaults on female reproductive autonomy with a record 18 bills struggling to meander the process and land on the new GOP governor’s desk.

While some could claim that this is not about women’s rights at all but protecting human life, the proof against this tired clichéd defense is a bit too overwhelming because it’s not just our plumbing that concerns the GOP. Reducing women to 1950’s standards at every level appears to be the goal.

Wisconsin’s union busting tactics are aimed point-blank at female dominated professions, and the dismantling of higher education largely affects young women who are now the majority of students and are graduating in greater numbers than their male peers.

While the feministing 20 and 30 somethings were angsting over non-issues like whether to change their name or not when they married or how to ensure that men carried their share of the household and child-rearing chores, those who prefer women barefoot and pregnant have been making steady progress in their hamstringing of Roe V.Wade and limiting women’s access to birth control, emergency contraception and even basic reproductive health care.

We fiddled and Rome caught fire. The question is – will it burn down around us or can we roll back the lash the right is using to back slap us?

Let’s make a few things clear. This is not about the right to life or babies.

The people so intent on forcing women to carry children to term have no interest in those children once they are born. They are the same people who flushed Headstart down the toilet and are defunding state health care plans for children at every opportunity. They are crippling public education through budget cuts and unrealistic measuring standards. The goal is – and always has been – about using children as a means to cripple women and tie them to home and hearth, ensuring their dependence and subservience.

What is going on is no less an attempt to prevent equality than forcing women to bind their feet, be circumcised or swaddle themselves when out in public.

Whenever God or sanctity or family values are invoked, the end result is never good for women.

American men hate women just as much as their counterparts in the Third World and just as much as Muslim fundamentalists and just as much as those who tried to smother the early suffragettes by jailing and force feeding them did.

Every man who professes a “right to life” is proclaiming his belief that women are chattel to be possessed, ordered about and controlled.

And women take it.

Do we hate ourselves as much as we are hated?

We dress like whores and desperately maintain weights that damage our health while flocking to every beauty product and medical intervention that promise to freeze-frame us in a manner acceptable to men and societal standards set by men.

We work at the expense of our sanity, health and children because men expect us to pull half their load and all of ours too. Women have known since the get-go that “having it all” is a myth but it’s one that men still whole-heartedly support and push down our throats – with our help.

I have daughters. There are wonderful – witty and smart – but their lives will never be as easy as the boys they grew up with because it is still an XY world and with males now the making up more than half the population, how can things get better?

Margaret Wente at The Globe and Mail wrote an idiotic diatribe for International Women’s Day that stated the misguided opinion of too many women in the industrialized world. She wrote that we (women) have won the fight for inequality so shut up about it already.

It’s that attitude that has allowed the legal assault on women to ratchet up this year. Complacency and a preoccupation with crap that is distraction more than substance.

Men have been the dominant race since the beginning of time. They have no reason to share power and have done so only when forced and only reluctantly.

Wake the fuck up, Ladies.


An interesting twist on the point, don’t you think?

The Pro-Life people argue for the body as though the soul is somehow affected. It isn’t. Our souls are eternal. They can’t be destroyed. And ephemeral existence isn’t the point of our being anyway.

As my husband is fond of pointing out, the idea of the sanctity of human life is a myth. If it weren’t a myth, then, for example, we wouldn’t be capitalists. The free market would be rightly called out for catering to the destruction of the many for the good of the very, very few. Where is life held sacred in homelessness, hunger and the inability to access health care for those without better than average means?

If life were sacred, share and share alike would be the norm because every life would have a minimum standard of maintenance that we’d all agree on and would strive to make sure was fairly distributed.

Life teaches us to be fearful and to cling to the trappings that separate us – ultimately – from the thing that we are. A soul.

So, if I am a soul, does it matter if I am born or not? Conception of a physical warehouse doesn’t make me more than who I am and who I am is not my body.

Think about it.