Posted by Charity on July 31st, 2006

This week I am going to finally do my series of posts about the issues that were in my survey from two weeks ago. The survey is closed, so if you do not know the topics, you will just have to be surprised each day.

Question number one was: What is the “She’s Right” view on abortion?

Answer choices were: She opposes abortion; she supports the right to choose abortion; she thinks abortion should be illegal; she thinks abortion should remain legal; she thinks education and outreach is the key to reducing/eliminating abortion; she supports parental notification. More than one answer could be chosen.

First, parental notification, in my view, is not about abortion, it is about protecting parents’ rights. Seven people rightly said that I support parental notification. You can read more about that on this post from last Wednesday, mostly in the comments of that post.

Now I will address the rest of the questions. Five people said I oppose abortion. Those five people are correct. I think that abortion is tantamount to murder. Not just because I am a right-wing Christian fundamentalist, either. I have ALWAYS thought that. I thought it when I was an atheist; I though that when I was an agnostic; I thought that when I was a Taoist; I thought that when I was a Pagan. I have never thought otherwise.

Two people said I support the right to choose abortion. I do not think abortion is a Constitutional right. I even had a class at UVM, where I minored in Political Science, where we learned about all of the cases leading up to and including Roe v. Wade, so I am not as ignorant as at least half of you are itching to call me in the comments section right this very moment.

It is not any kind of invasion of privacy to outlaw a medical practice when that medical practice involves willfully taking the life of another human being, or human being-to-be.

One person said that I think abortion should be illegal. Despite my two answers above, this person is actually wrong. Though I do not think it is a “right,” I think at this point it would be disastrous for our society to outlaw abortion right now.

Today we have two generations of women for whom abortion has never been illegal. Not only that, but these women were in many ways raised, by either their parents or by society, or both, to just take it as a given that if they were to become pregnant before they wanted, they would just have an abortion, as if it is as easy and inconsequential as having their nails done.

To go from that mind-set to a situation where abortion is no longer an option would have dire consequences, which makes the four people who said I think abortion should remain legal correct.

As five people correctly answered, I think that education and outreach are the keys to reducing or eliminating abortion. That really goes for many of societies problems.

I wish that the amount of money that is spent on lobbyists that fight for the legislative ways to stop abortion could be spent on educating pregnant women as to their options, supporting them throughout their choices to keep their babies or put them up for adoption and, of course, educating women before they get pregnant.

My much younger sister always assumed she would just have an abortion if she ever got pregnant, until my mother explained to her in detail what an abortion involves. Now she takes super careful precautions to not get pregnant to begin with. Kind of makes me wonder how many other women could be prevented from aborting an unwanted pregnancy if only they had the facts before they got pregnant in the first place.

It’s a sorry state when the word abortion is tossed around so much that most women never stop to think about what it really means. So much careful attention is paid to the wording of language used when talking about “the right to control our own bodies and our own healthcare decisions,” that people conveniently forget what actually happens during “the procedure.”

Another sorry state is that so-called “women’s groups” are so caught up in protecting a woman’s right to have an abortion, that they have little-to-no interest in helping prevent women from getting into situations where they feel that they have to undergo a procedure that often leaves them emotionally scared for the rest of their lives.

It is a sad commentary on our society when over one million babies a year, and almost as many women, are sacrificed to the political agendas of two opposing groups battling over a 30-year-old court decision. If we could just drop the fight to make abortion illegal and work on educating more women about pregnancy prevention and the reality of abortion, and reverse this trend of raising young women to view abortion as the only right choice when faced with an unwanted pregnancy, I think we would accomplish so much more.

8 Responses to “She’s Right on Abortion”

  1. I think it’s admirable that you don’t call for a blanket ban on abortion even though you oppose it. Personally, I find many of your arguments flawed, although I do accept that money should be funnelled away from the pro life lobby to criminalise the act and into education programs for young women. However, as an educated young woman who recently had an abortion, I can say that not only do I feel no emotional scars from the event but I take umbridge at the suggestion that I ‘didn’t have all the facts’ before I made my decision. I made the decision to have an abortion very quickly, but I was well versed in what was involved with the procedure. I found my doctors to be wonderfully supportive and all measures were taken to make the procedure as problem free as possible.

    I don’t believe it’s murder to rid the body of an organism that essentially acts as a parasite to the mother. There are some women who do not have the inclination to have children, and the idea of carrying a baby is to them more emotionally damaging than having an abortion.

    I think it’s patronising to suggest that women who choose to abort have been taken in by the idea that it is the only option. I also am really offended by your statement that having an abortion is as easy as ‘having your nails done’. While I found the decision, as I said, to be a very easy one to make, it wasn’t equal to a day at the salon. My body was in physical discomfort due to being pregnant and the hormonal imbalance I felt was anything but pleasant. Having to wait to have the termination was also emotionally draining. Unless you’ve made the decision yourself, I would be very careful about making such sweeping generalisations.

    You may be interested in reading the piece I wrote about my own abortion. It’s not graphic, but it does explain a lot of my own feelings at the time. I warn you though, it is a piece that refuses to apologise or feel guilt for the decision that I made. If you feel that this will offend you, you may choose not to read it.

    You can find it here.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I will read your post a little later when I have more time. I just wanted to reply quickly to your comments.

    I was not trying to say that all women who have abortions are not educated about it, only that a lot of times that happens and it should not. Every woman should know about pregnancy prevention, what an abortion involves, and the other options available.

    I do not think that no woman ever will want one even when everyone has been educated, but I do think it will reduce them dramatically.

    Instead of being insulted at what I said because you did not have emotional scars, you should be thankful. I knew over a half-dozen close friends of mine who had abortions when I was in college. They were all scarred. One couldn’t even bring herself to see me after I had my child because it was too painful, as she told me later.

    Also, I have to note that I did not mean to say that it is as easy as getting your nails done, but that many women perceive it that way (before going through it) because of how we talk about it.

    I do have to ask though, if being pregnant was so hard on you, why did you not prevent it? (Sorry if that is addressed in your post.)

    You and I will never agree on this issue, simply because I do not view a fetus as a parasite, but as a child. This is one area that will not be reconciled.

    I do not think that yours is the prevailing view in this country though. Most women (and men) think abortion should only be used in the cases of rape and incest, or if the health or life of the mother is in danger. Most Americans do not think it should be used as birth control and I am convinced that education would help put an end to those abortions (which are the majority).

    Another point, I heard recently (from a feminist, no less) that most abortions happen because the woman felt she had no other choice. That breaks my heart. That is what I want to see an end to. No woman should ever be in that position.

  3. Well, I read your post and I really have nothing to add, except that being pregnant is really horrible. I agree with you on that one.

  4. I used to consider myself “pro-choice.” That is – until I had my first child. Then I got it.

    My “choice” was engaging in the activity (having sex) that led to conceiving my child. My “choice” is not killing off another human being – simply because it’s inconvenient at the time or I find being pregnant uncomfortable or “yucky”. Or even that I don’t want children.

    I worry that human life has become viewed as disposable in today’s society. And that many times abortion is used to correct an “oops!” – or a way to escape personal responsiblity for one’s actions.

    If becoming pregnant is that emotionally damaging to one’s pysche, then perhaps one ought not to engage in any action that may lead to the unwanted result.

    I would be interested in Charity’s thoughts on the concept that miscarriage and not conceiving when having intercourse is akin to abortion. There have been recent letters in the Concord Monitor (NH) on that very topic. See : http://www.concordmonitor.com – select letters under opinion.

  5. I don’t think women use abortion as a form of birth control. I certainly didn’t. In answer to your question, my pregnancy was just one of those unfortunate things that happened. The contraception failed. I don’t believe that I would make a good mother right now as I am fresh out of college, unemployed and looking and unable to provide a LIFE for a child. Further, I don’t want one right now. I understand that that might seem selfish to both you and Susan, but that’s my personal position.

    I hope you didn’t think I was being rude with my comment. It’s an emotive issue of course, but I was just giving my perspective on it. Obviously I would never force someone to abort a baby because economically I thought it was the right thing to do.

    And I certainly agree that less abortions would be a good thing. I think a lot of the problem there seems to be the approach to sex education in your country. It’s very different here in Australia and i think abstinence only education is just about the most damaging way you can approach it. Kids are going to have sex with each other. That, like abortion, will never change.

    Susan, I don’t consider foetuses to be human beings. I think that’s a fundamental difference we’ll never agree on. And I don’t think that the primary reason for having sex is to procreate. Perhaps it is biologically, but humans are emotional creatures also and thus engage in sex for many different reasons. Procreation is, for me, certainly not the primary one.

    I do agree that human life is viewed as disposable, but I suppose I see more evidence of that in the way we wilfully march off to war or discount the thousands of lives that are lost in natural disasters throughout Asia. Generally speaking I think we in the west don’t care much about these lost lives. For the record, I consider established lives to be of more importance than potential lives so it’s interesting that more people don’t rally against these unfair deaths.

    As Christians (which I am not) I’m interested in your opinion on miscarriage too. Is this God taking a child’s life or nature? What’s the difference?

  6. Audrey, I did not think you were being rude at all. I welcome the discussion.

    One of the things you said was that you could not provide a life for your child. In your case, you do not seem to be bothered by your abortion, so what I am about to say really doesn’t apply to you.

    There are a lot of women who are really upset about having had an abortion, but they felt they had to because they couldn’t provide a life for their child. I became pregnant when I was single, still in college, and I was only 20. I certainly was in no position to provide a life for my child. But, somehow I did.

    It is common for the pro-choice side to come out with rhetoric about how bad it would be for women to have to have children when they are not financially ready and the result is that most people think you cannot have a child unless you are financially ready. This is not true. As a result, many women feel like they have no other choice, which is sad.

    Susan (and Audrey), I have heard that before, too, that an abortion is not killing because so many fetuses are spontaneously aborted, or miscarried. That would be like me saying, if I killed someone, “Well, people die of natural causes all of the time.” It’s just not logical.

    Sometimes people die at a young age of heart attacks, aneurisms, or other freak things. Sometimes fetuses die of natural causes, too. It just happens. I don’t think God is doing it, or if He is, I am sure He has a reason. Either way, we do not have the right to end a life, regardless of how many are ended naturally.

    At the same time, Audrey, I want you to know that I do not think badly of you or think you are a bad person.

  7. Yeah, that’s true that a lot of women aren’t sure of their options. It would be terrible indeed to abort when you didn’t really want to but didn’t feel you had another option. However, to counteract that there do need to be more systems of support for young and single mothers (who are the ones affected). In Australia, we have a baby bonus of $3000 for every baby born. That’s crap though, because it doesn’t provide a social network or education program. Really, it’s just a way for our deeply Catholic Health Minister to fight abortion.

    I welcome the discussion too :)

    Out of interest, what’s your opinion on the morning after pill?

  8. I basically view the morning after pill the same as hormonal contraceptives. I have no problem with either of them. A fertilized egg does not have a heartbeat of its own the way a fetus does.

    I do personally oppose using hormones because of the health effects.