Wednesday, March 08, 2006

the periodic rant (abortion, this time)

This is the I’m-Sick-Of-This-Shit post. Hang on for the ride, or skip to the next happy Duckie-update. Whatever.

There are a lot of things I’m pissed off about these days. We’re still killing people in Iraq. Bill O’Reilly still hasn’t gone to Darfur, even though enough money has been raised to keep him there for a good long time. And somehow there is still a Bush sticker up in the technicians’ area. How they can’t see that the layoff of one of their favorite janitors is directly related to the Bush administration’s mendacious, malicious, malignant incompetence is something I will never understand.

But what’s really been on my mind is Roe v. Wade.

The South Dakota legislature and governor banned abortion this week. They did it because a) they wanted to, and b) they wanted to force the Supreme Court’s hand on deciding (again) the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade.

Last night Brian was watching the “news” about the issue and those fuckers just went on and on and on – abortion this, abortion that, partial birth abortion, with a graphic reminder of what the procedure entails, until I asked him to please turn the channel. He was annoyed (for more reasons than that, granted) and said, “I never get a chance to watch the news!” (And that’s a bad thing?)

I, on the other hand, can’t seem to ignore the news on the internet - maybe it’s because it’s right in front of me, approximately 22 inches away. And maybe because my imagination has no problems filling in the blanks.

Anyway, last night it got to me pretty hard and I had to struggle to regain enough composure to finish making dinner. Luckily those “news” pukes cut to a different story and I could push down my rising nausea, resisting the urge to throw a pan of hot spaghetti sauce into the TV.

Because, for me, the discussion can’t help but be emotional. There’s no safe, logical place to make a stand here – not that I have been able to find yet. As much as I understand how desperately women need to have some control over their reproductive destiny, the concept of abortion, whatever the ways and means, breaks my heart.

What if it were me?

Because I do want to be pregnant now. I do want a second child. At the same time, it would be incredibly irresponsible of my husband and me to just stop using condoms and leave it to nature. I don’t know what effects that my medications will have on a fetus – and neither do my doctors, not really. I don’t know if I could take care a child with severe birth defects. I don’t know what effects a pregnancy (and the accompanying hormonal changes) would have on me. So there are a LOT of questions to ask first. Financial, emotional, logistical, medical, social, the list goes on, and it keeps growing.

Condoms can break. Condoms can leak. Condoms cannot prevent 100% of pregnancies. So if for some reason I became pregnant before I had at least a general idea of the answers to the critical questions about a second child, what would I do? Would I risk it? Because let me tell you, a second child would be a risky proposition for us at the moment.

Some of my friends have had abortions. And it wasn’t because they were raped. (Let me clarify - if they were, I'm not aware of it.) It wasn’t because the fetus wouldn’t survive, or because their pregnancies threatened their lives. It was because they knew that it was not right for them to carry a baby to term and try to take care of it. They were, for whatever reasons, unwilling to take on the lifetime burden of mothering a new life. Some of these ladies already had kids, and questioned the effect that another child would have on their ability to mother the existing children. Some of these ladies had no children, and knew that if they had a child, that child’s life (and hers) would be utterly miserable. Some of these ladies knew that they simply did not have the means (financial, emotional, what-have-you) to bring up a child according to their beliefs as to how a child should be raised.

I don’t think that any one of these women had abortions (in whatever stage of pregnancy) without feeling some degree of sadness and heartbreak. The decision to end a pregnancy was not easy for any of these women. To be able to say in all honesty, “I can’t do this. I can’t mother this child. I can’t choose to carry this child, knowing that I’m unable to be a mother to it. It’s not responsible, and it’s not right.” Can you even imagine how fucking hard that must be?

(And I might be wrong here, really. It’s quite possible that I am projecting my own conceptions of emotional attachment to an embryo onto other women, and that’s as inappropriate as forcing a women to bear a child she doesn’t want. Another gender-based stereotype? Quite possibly.)

I know of one other case where a very young woman was impregnated during a rape. She had decided to have an abortion, her mother supported it, and on the way to the clinic she decided she couldn’t do it after all. Her decision was to bear the child, despite the consequences and difficulties it would cause. In the end that child has been a gift to the world. The forgiveness and mercy she was able to sustain in order to bring this child up has been her gift to the world. Because it was her choice. And that has made all the difference.

You simply cannot force that kind of selflessness on a person – it flies against all the notions of self-will that our “democracy” is based on.

Granted, there are women who are able to walk in and walk out without being affected at all emotionally. A course of antibiotics and maybe a day with their feet up and they’re back to their lives without a second thought, and without bothering to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

But I really think that’s the exception to the rule. Even if one of my friends didn’t have an emotional attachment to a fetus growing inside her, the process of abortion was not inconsequential to their lives.

And honestly, in this bullshit “Culture of Life” that is being foisted on the country right now, it doesn’t fucking matter. Budget cuts are targeting social programs and being thinly disguised as "streamlining" adminstrations, and the GOP wants to make tax cuts for high incomes permanent.

Culture of life, my ass. Put up or shut up, motherfuckers.

Oh and by the way, if this crap continues, why wouldn’t we see women who miscarry or who have stillbirths jailed for negligence or murder? I mean, who’s to say these women didn’t take drugs to induce miscarriage? After all, any woman who would consider teminating a pregnancy is just a murdering whore, right?

This is just another step on the road to Morality Hell.

What I know is that I am not qualified to make a decision like this for another person. And I sure as hell don’t trust the government – any government – to make it, either.

The media is using this as yet another opportunity to up their ratings, completely ignoring any ethical obligation to treat the subject with the sensitivity and depth that it deserves. Fair and balanced, my ass.

It was so hard to hear the coverage of the South Dakota abortion ban last night, watching my sweet, gorgeous daughter on her daddy’s lap, happily adorning herself with stickers. I am lucky and blessed to have the support and resources to raise her – to give her what she needs to be healthy and happy. Not every pregnant woman has those resources. And I wonder, will my daughter grow up with a choice?

Well, I’m her mother. And I will see that she does, one way or another.

So let’s talk options. Talk about adoption – pro’s and cons. Talk about contraception. Talk about abstinence (yeah, right.) Talk. Leave comments. This isn’t a simple issue for me. I could use some help here, folks.

Because right now my heart is breaking for the women in South Dakota who no longer have a choice.

But hey, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe having an abortion really does mean you'll burn in hell for murdering an innocent fetus/embryo/child. Maybe the Plan B contraceptive really does constitute the murder of a potential fetus. Maybe we shouldn't even be having sex for purely recreational reasons.

Oh, who the fuck am I kidding? I don't believe any of that. But I would never in this lifetime force someone to have an abortion. And I am continually stunned that there are people who would make it impossible for a woman to have one if she needs it.


SB Gypsy said...

Granted, there are women who are able to walk in and walk out without being affected at all emotionally. A course of antibiotics and maybe a day with their feet up and they’re back to their lives without a second thought, and without bothering to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

These are the very women who should never, never, never give birth! What was that line in Pearl Jam's "Jeremy"

...because he was something
Mommy couldn't wear...

james said...

I feel that abortion is a "necessary evil." No on is pro-abortion. No one wants to see more abortions but it is a much needed choice for women to have. It helps them, the child that would feel neglected and the general society that would have to pay more for being (most likely) in the adoption and foster care system.

If these conservatives are pro-war and pro-death penalty then why are they so opposed to abortion?

SB Gypsy said...

Because this is the "Long War", and they need fodder for the war machine - heaven forbid they run out of pauper kids, and have to send their own!

andi said...

it's worth saying again:

culture of life, my ass.

oldwhitelady said...

I, on the other hand, can’t seem to ignore the news on the internet - maybe it’s because it’s right in front of me, approximately 22 inches away. And maybe because my imagination has no problems filling in the blanks.

We also have time to read it at our own speed. We can re-read it, too, to make sure we understand.

Abortion rights seem to be about power, not religion. These anti abortion folk love to force their ideals onto other people.

I think the option to have an abortion should always be available. If the country didn't have so many throw-away children, then I could halfway understand the anti abortionist rhetoric. However, we have lots of people in this country. We are deforesting our country every which way to make homes, apartments, etc.

I guess it also has something to do with money. Baby doctoring makes a lot of money. Churches need people to pay tithes. Every person born will be a consumer. Consumerism makes lots of money. I guess there are lots of reasons to make women carry their fetuses to term.

I doubt many of them are really very religious reasons, though. The biggest reason is to make the woman pay. If she had sex with someone, she needs to pay the consequences. That, I think, is the overall idea behind making abortions illegal.

dad said...

Who says we have a democracy in our country? You know, one person-one-vote? George W would not be pres if that were the case.

Free will, self-will, selflessness, selfishness, anger, hatred, love, compassion, and all other human conditions of thought, feeling and emotion are given from God in Her attempt to make us Christ-like. You know the trite phrase "What would Jesus do?". I believe he would show compassion to women who have these life-affecting decisions and would give them comfort in their lives if they but believe in Him. That said, it is a truth that I and other christians are sadly in the minority in our morally-bankrupt society.
On a personal note....
Is there another word you might use to show your "rant" anger or frustration than the f word? To me it's just vulgar and I'm not sure if that's the meaning you are trying to invoke in an otherwise brilliant writing style..

love to you, husband and duckie

andi said...

dad -

you're absolutely right about the f-word. it is vulgar. sometimes using it is spot-on accurate. and sometimes it's over-used (as it quite possibly is in my rants.)

i will of course take your critique into consideration before posting the next rant.

i have some questions about another part of your comment but i'm really trying to get some work done (for once) so i'll reserve those questions until later.

hope to see you soon, dad. come on out to the mountains and say hi to your granddaughter - she's got a big fluffy head of blond hair now and has learned to say "yoni." :)))))))))))))

*College Girl* said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
*College Girl* said...

I don't believe that abortion is right at all. No one will ever convince me that it is ok to murder someone who can't help themselves. I understand that everyone jumps to say that it should be ok when a women is raped, but what did that baby do to deserve to be killed? I am 19, I've never been pregnant, but if it happened to me, I'd fess up to it. It's my child how could I kill a part of me? What if my child was the next Einstein, or was suppose to find the cure for cancer? I won't take that risk, even as a college freshmen. There are to many women out there who want babies who can't have their own. Why would you take the chance away from someone else to be a mother?

andi said...

Dear college girl,

I'm gald for you that you can be so sure of your actions in a hypothetical situation. Not everyone can be. I also happen to agree that abortion would likely not be the right choice for me.

But I don't understand your comment about "why would you take the chance away for someone else to be a mother?"

Last time I checked, I wasn't aware that there was a shortage of children who need loving homes. I think if the culture of life had been truly "adopted" by our society, there would be families lining up to adopt not only healthy white babies, but also handicapped or mentally unstable minority kids.

As for the concept of a child's worth being based on what he or she does or his or her potential to help the world, well - I don't think that's terribly fair to our children to have that laid upon them. Talk about some freaking pressure.

And I suppose my final question to you comes down to this: Although you don't support abortion, would you deprive other women of the ability to make their own choices in the matter?

Jeremy said...

Wow, very well written.

Good friends of mine are trying to have a baby, and when she became pregnant, the fetus died in her womb (thats, "God made the baby go to heavan from her belly" to all you conservatives reading this), but did not pass.

They had to have a D&E but that was absolutely her choice. My understanding is without that procedure, my friend's health could have been affected, and would have been carrying a dead fetus for god knows how long.

Had they lived in South Dakota, they wouldn't have had this option.