This Month's Topic:
Same format as last month. A He says/She says scenario.
Unplanned pregnancy is either a horror or a joy, all depending on one's perspective in the matter. Eight years ago, when I found out I was pregnant, I was positively horrified. The nurse who broke the news to me that day remembers me eight years later because my reaction stands out in her mind more than that of other young women. Since then, each year she extends a special smile and asks to see a current picture of the baby we found out about that day. I screamed and cried. I punched my husband in the stomach. I imagined the baby as a parasite that would make me fat and old, probably cause me to die in labor, and if not, live off of me for the rest of "its" life. It sounds funny to me now that the baby was ever an "it". Now that I look back, I feel that my daughter was ALWAYS a baby, a HUMAN, from the moment I conceived, no matter how small or quiet she was, and no matter in what light I perceived her.
Unplanned pregnancy is a life altering experience. It's usually met with either resignation, tears or resolve. I have two friends who've recently met this exact issue and eventually handled it the same way, although along quite divergent paths. They both saw this development as a human life. Neither even considered abortion as a serious alternative, although it was an early topic of discussion. I've also dealt with this experience and decided to deal with it in exactly the opposite way as my friends.
My feeling is that from the moment a woman finds out that she is pregnant, her life is changed forever, regardless of what she chooses to do with/about the pregnancy. I'm always inwardly shocked that life or death of the fetus is a choice. It IS a choice. It has always been a choice. Before medical procedures, before the right to "terminate a pregnancy", before a distinction between "zygote", "embryo", "fetus", and child, there has always been a choice. There were women who felt such fear, shame, or reproach for their pregnant condition, that they were willing to risk their lives and damage their bodies to dispose of their "problem" and reverse their "mistake". While birth control methods have become cheaper, more reliable, safer, and exceedingly painless, so has abortion.The instance of abortion has become legal and been reduced to a mere "family planning" choice. In my generation, that's how we look at it. I don't hasten judgement here. I can't imagine all of the critical situations that women find themselves in when considering this "choice". My guess is that the majority of women having abortions are not doing so as a method of casual birth control. I am just speculating that most have a lot to lose by having a baby when they opt to take "its" life instead. That loss may be anywhere on the scale from incidental to catycalysmic, and the perception of what we have to lose depends on age, maturity, and perspective.
Is it worth ending a life to:
keep from losing a boyfriend?
keep one's husband from finding out you have been sleeping around?
keep life simple so college will be easier?
keep your parents from finding out?
Is it worth ending a life because:
you are not old enough or ready for a family?
your other children are already older, and you didn't plan on starting over?
you think it would be too painful to give the child up for adoption?
you don't know how you will put "it" through college and other expenses?
Abortion has always been an alternative. Before it became a LEGAL choice and performed by trained professionals in an antiseptic environment, it was a decidedly risky procedure. The fact that abortion was still practiced in that climate only highligts the fact that it's always been here and isn't going to go away. Blowing up abortion clinics and murdering their employees isn't going to change human nature. I can't understand the radicals who truly believe they're going to change anyone's mind on this issue via violence. It's the "kill for Christ" mentality. Women who are desperate enough to use a coathanger on themselves will have an abortion whether it's legal or not. Laura makes an excellent point in that abortion has become just another birth control device. The only way to stop this is to have more stringent rules on what criteria qualifies for a legal abortion. Running out of pills and having sex without protection shouldn't qualify. There are certain situations that I truly believe DO qualify.
1)pregnancy of rape victimes
2)pregnancy of young teen-agers
3)when pregnancy threatens the life of the mother
4)when children have been ruled out of a marriage and every effort was taken to prevent it, to no avail
To me, abortion, and the way that society has desensitized what it means, is just a way to shirk responsibility, in most cases. Shit happens. We make mistakes.We pay consequenses for what we do. We lose for being selfish or dishonest. And sometimes, we're just unlucky.
I wonder if, once there is another human being, our fear, shame, and loss matter more than the interests of the vulnerable unborn. Legally speaking, ANYTHING matters more than the interests of the unborn. And the real rant topic is the legality of it all. Here is where the lines get dim for me, as well.
I have always been rather "anti-establishment" in mentality. I can't help but notice that the government botches every social issue it gets involved with. Not just our government, either. Welfare, healthcare, censorship, drug-abuse, child-abuse, etc. I don't believe the government has any place saying whether a classroom can pray. That should be an issue within the classroom. I don't think that the government should be telling me what I can see on the internet. That should be within my family or at least a market response between the public and internet providers. Key here being that government control over social issues is ineffective and expensive and eats away at freedom as a whole, one bite at a time. I am opposed to government intervention on issues that individuals, groups, and societies should control.
Ahhhh... Laura is truly cutting to the chase here. WHO should make the choice on whether abortion is legal or not? The Federal Government? States? Counties? Cities and Townships? Herein lies the rub. A major problem of dealing with this issue from the federal standpoint is that pro-lifers and pro-choicers tend to be somewhat regionalized. There are many states in the mid-west who are predominantly pro-life. There are many states that house large metropolitan cities with a cosmipolitan view of life. They're much more apt to have a larger concentration of pro-choicers. Therefore this issue has become the political ping-pong ball of the past three decades. If a presidential candidate is already strong in pro-choice states, but weak in pro-life states... Which side of the issue do you think he'll support? I also agree that if this issue were left to the federales to police that they'd make an absolute and complete mess of it, per usual. It has become a state issue and is either legal or not, depending on in which state you happen to reside. In some ways, maybe that's the best way to handle it. Perfect? Not at all.
In life or death situations, however, I welcome that intervention. Where there is a defenseless victim, I want to see the perpetrator stopped. Abuse, theft, and murder...I want these things to be stopped. With abortion, it's all quite fuzzy. I grew up in a generation that thought of a fetus as part of the woman's condition, and an abortion as an incidental procedure that is as much a viable choice as giving birth is. In fact, it's a lot less costly! I grew up in a sterile environment where a fetus was just another organism. Where willfull taking of a life is not murder, just procedure (as long as the MOTHER doesn't want the baby). If, on the other hand, this were to happen to a woman that did look forward to her baby's birth, it WOULD be construed as murder. The baby WOULD be thought of as a human, a baby, a life.
As I said earlier, two of my friends met with unexpected pregnancy fairly recently. One of my oldest friends, and his wife, had decided to stop after the third child. He had a vasectomy at that point. They didn't wait quite long enough for the vasectomy to take effect and she became pregnant with number four. At this point money was already extremely tight but they had the baby and carried on with their lives. Two years later, the vasectomy reversed itself. Along came number five. They sincerely considered giving the child up for adoption as they couldn't see how they could possibly feed ALL of these hungry children, take care of the new baby and still make ends meet. They kept the baby, and carried on. Their oldest child is 16 years old, and their youngest is 3.
Another very close friend of mine just turned 40 and he and his wife just purchased their first house. Their son had just turned 12. She became pregnant at this very juncture in their lives. Three weeks ago, his wife gave birth to another boy, who has a number of non-life-threatening problems. They're just picking up where they left off, and moving on. Was abortion truly considered in either of these issues? Negatory.
Many couples in similar circumstances wouldn't even think twice. The procedure would be short, fairly painless and they'd just put this poor unfortunate incident behind them as quickly as possible. End of story. As a pro-choice advocate I wouldn't have blamed either one of my friends for choosing that route. Do I respect them both more for not doing so? Absolutely.
So which way is it? Is it a baby, or is it an organism? Is it murder? Is it death? Or is it "procedure"? And who should decide that anyway? If an unborn child's first natural allies (the doctor and the mother) are it's worst enemies, then what can the government do to help? Hmm Abortion is a legal medical procedure that helps keep women from having to mutilate themselves rather than face up to shame and loss, to have an option after it's too late (my thought is that the obvious option is BEFORE conception), to take a step back in time, painlessly, and without consequense. On one hand it is a law of mercy....if you consider the victim to be an organism.
Should it be legal? I guess this is what it all balances on.....whether the operation is a procedure or a passing of life. Whether that being disposed of is an organism, a piece of tissue, or a human being. And whether the answer is relative to who you talk to... or a hard, unmoving fact.
Laura... Is it a baby, or is it an organism? That is an argument for beurocrats and fools to ponder. It's a baby. It's a life wating to happen. Another very close friend decided on abortion many years ago, when they thought they couldn't possibly afford another baby at that point in their lives. Are they happy with that decision? Not at all. Does it still haunt them? Always. If they could go back and change that decision, would they? In a heart-beat. Do I agree? You bet. What kind of pro-choice advocate am I? It seems I'm arguing points for the other side half the time, doesn't it. That's only because I am. It's not a black and white, cut along this dotted line type of issue. There are too many facets and implications for it to ever have the vast majority of humankind on one side of the issue, or the other. I truly believe it should be a federally policed pro-choice issue, with reservations. I believe there should be rather stringent criteria in place to do away with the absolute cavalier attitude that many take. I also believe that although the federal government will probably somehow screw up the management of this social program, as they've done with many others in the past, that it might be the best solution to an issue that will never truly resolve.
It doesn't stop there. If we think of the unborn as a human instead of "tissue", and if we ask the government to take away this right of women to decide the fate of their unborn child, then we are implying equal rights of the unborn. Where do our unalienable rights begin? Do they begin at conception or at birth? If the unborn has rights, then do we enforce them when a pregnant woman smokes ciggarrettes and call it "child abuse"? If she miscarries, do we investigate the matter to find contributory negligence? You see, law is tricky, and it masks itself to serve one thing, and periodically it serves something that we never intended it to. My opinion is that we don't have a government that is concerned with right or wrong, or even the best interest of its own people. We have a government that is not much different from other governments, created for the people, but in the service of money and power. Once it got big enough, it began to serve itself. It is not our intention to turn the issue into a catalyst that serves money and power....anymore than it already has been.
A look at reality.... abortion will always be. After God, the mother is really the next in line to decide the fate of her baby. Inviting rancid law and politics into one pregnancy is bringing it closer to all pregnancies. Perhaps the best place for law is to draw the line where things get ridiculous. There are many concrete criteria that could be used to draw the line. Growing up, I knew a girl that had said she'd had 6 abortions. By the third time, I would start to assume that she never wanted to have a baby. This would have been call for sterilization, in my opinion. Third strike; you're out?
Let's hear your comments about this month's Rant. Be brutally honest, if you will.
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The Dangerous Internet
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That OTHER Gender!