Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mission Not Aborted

On this 35th anniversary of the landmark decision Roe vs. Wade, the ruling which gave women the right to an abortion in the United States, the issue is still a divisive one in our nation causing much debate and conflict in our social and political landscape. While this milestone should be a cause of celebration for pro-choice supporters, anti-choice groups continue to chip away at the control women gained over their own bodies on January 22, 1973, threatening the health and equality of women nationwide. A small minority of people, 18%, opposes abortion in all situations, a statistic unchanged since a 1975 poll; the vast majority of Americans oppose overturning Roe vs. Wade. This small group of “all or nothing” anti-choice advocates claim their protests, lawsuits, propaganda and education focused on limiting abortion access and forcing women to keep their fetuses have saved the lives of babies and the souls of women, but have all their efforts actually achieved the opposite? Do women in the United States have more abortions because of the so-called “Pro-Life” groups?

The US has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world and after years of seeing those rates decline is now watching them climb again. Half of all pregnancies in the United States are reported as unintended and 40% of those pregnancies end in abortion. If anti-choice leaders put nearly as much effort into the prevention of unwanted pregnancies through reducing sexual violence against women, making birth control safe and available to those who need it, and educating teens on pregnancy and prevention as they do in trying to overturn Roe vs. Wade fewer and fewer women would require an abortion. Anti-choice groups are part of the reason for our country’s abysmal pregnancy prevention rates, wasting valuable time and resources focusing on the effect of unwanted pregnancies rather then why they happen and combating their causes.

Contrary to some beliefs held by anti-choice groups most women do not plan for their unwanted pregnancies; abortion is a decision of last resort when having a baby is simply out of the question. This is an issue faced by women regardless of age, race, religion, socio-economic conditions or marital status. Our mission should revolve around providing women a world where the choice to have an abortion never has to be made in the first place. Until we live in a society where women are not raped, incest does not exist, pregnancy has zero complications that threaten the life of the mother and ALL women receive sex education and access to birth control there will be abortions, legal or illegal.

13 comments:

jessicabarker22 said...

great post, babe. i fully and sincerely agree with your points and would LOVE to see a world like you describe in your last sentence. maybe in lily's generation or her daughter's generation... wishful thinking maybe, but it's something to look forward to for the women that follow us.

LousyCook said...

You imply that rape and incest and pregnancy complications are the main reasons that women have abortions, but this isn't true at all.

Frederica on Row v Wade

Explosive Bombchelle said...

Rape, incest, complications AND the lack of access to safe and effective birth control. For many birth control is too expensive, too complicated or ineffective. Yes, there are many people who have abortions who were not practicing good birth control methods who could have access, but there are many people out there who were "playing it by the rules" and still got pregnant who didn't want to. Birth control is still not 100% effective (which continues to freak me out well into my 30s!) and abortion remains the last alternative to a whoops for those who cannot (or should not) have children due to health, wealth and personal issues. And as a well educated upper-middle class individual it is really hard to comprehend just how many women (and men) don't know about their bodies and how to prevent a pregnancy, for me that is the saddest part of all this; it is the poorest and least educated who are effected the issue and have the quietest voice.

I know plenty of women who have been faced with this dilemma and each one with different circumstances. Each person's story and reason is different. Some people regret the decision, some people don't. Some people were "careful," some were not. Some were married and couldn't afford another mouth to feed, some were single and didn't want to drop out of college. It's not a black and white issue (in the literal and figurative sense).

LousyCook said...

I don't see abortion as being primarily about women who "cannot or (should not) have children" (the groups you tend to focus on).

I see it as being primarily about women who want to have sex, but who do not want to have children. And if birth control isn't used (or doesn't work), the two things are mutually exclusive.

Explosive Bombchelle said...

“women who want to have sex, but who do not want to have children”

Guilty as charged. I’m happily married, I want to have sex with my spouse (sorry if you’re reading Mom!) but I do not want to have children. Sex is an important component of being married but luckily I have not had to face a decision to end a pregnancy. If the imperfect science of birth control ever failed me I honestly don’t know what I would do; try to carry a pregnancy to term and give it up for adoption when you are 32 and married and see how many people would respect you for that decision after maternity leave. For the record, I’ve tried to be sterilized and have been met with medical resistance since I’m “so young.” There are plenty of married couples (and single individuals) who face the same dilemma; we know we don’t want children yet cannot have things taken care of permanently.

It’s not just “slutty” women or teen-aged girls who “get themselves in trouble.” And even if it was, it does take two to tango and men choose to have sex as well and too often do not have to deal with the consequences of their decision.

On a somewhat related note, it is quite interesting that statistically 77% of pro-life supporters are men and 100% of them will never become pregnant.

LousyCook said...

I'm not saying it's just "slutty" women or teen-ages girls who "get themselves into trouble."

I'm saying that I don't see any way to reconcile the desire to have sex with the lack of desire to have children.

If someone is committed to having sex (happily married, unhappily married, or not married at all), then I have to assume she understands what logically follows: that there is a possibility she'll end up with a child. And her commitment to having sex implies her commitment to having her child (or at the very least, not prematurely ending its life).

I am not talking about rape or incest or cases where the mother's health is as risk. That is a separate (albeit related) discussion, in which I chose not to be involved at the moment.

Didn't Arnold Schwarzenegger get pregnant in the movie Junior?

husband said...

lousycook, I realize this may be difficult to comprehend, but there is a large (and growing) number of people who do not want to have children. This desire (or lack of desire if you prefer) does not make these people any less of a sexual being than anyone else.
Your logic is reminiscent of those who preach abstinence to high schoolers. The "commitment to having sex" does NOT imply the "commitment to having [a] child".

LousyCook said...

@husband:

This is where we're fundamentally different.

The commitment to having sex does in fact imply the commitment to having a child. You may not like that fact. Fine. Then say so.

But it is not "difficult for me to comprehend [that some people do not desire children]."

What's difficult for me to comprehend is that people who insist on exercising their right to have sex while at the same time desiring not to have children, feel that somehow this gives them the right to prematurely end a life, should one come into existence as a result of their actions.

It's not as if the possible outcome of having sex is a big secret. You know what you're getting into before you do it.

No one is criticizing your decision not to have children (at least, I'm not), and no one is criticizing your decision to have sex.

But you're insisting that you have the right to two things which are, intrinsically, mutually exclusive. That simply isn't logical.

LousyCook said...

And by the way, I am finished now. This has been a cordial dialog so far, and I want to keep it that way -- I don't want any hard feelings.

You get the last word.

Explosive Bombchelle said...

My last word... hmmmm... what will I ever say.

I guess I will comment on the Arnold Schwarzenegger reference. If the day comes when men can have unt baby then a more gender neutral discussion on the choice as to whether to have a child or not could occur. Men can still unfortunately make the choice to have sex and walk away from the woman and child, never looking back (not that you would Lousy Cook, I know your mother raised you better then that!). But there are still far too many men who know the consequences and don't think they apply to them because they aren't the ones getting pregnant and it is the woman who is left alone.

I won't touch my thoughts on when life begins, which are actually much more controversial then even what the laws of our nation currently allow; really, can they make it on their own anytime before 18?

Explosive Bombchelle said...

Of course, I forgot the original meaning of this post; if there were better options for women and men on controling the potential and often unwanted outcome sex then we wouldn't have anything to talk about here and I could instead bitch about how damn cold it is in Minnesota this week.

Britgirl said...

@lousy cook -
Having sex certainly does NOT imply a commitment to having children. I for one have no intention of having children and sex is just great, and has been for a long, long time. Let me say that again to be clear. I don't want children.

Children of course MAY result as an outcome of having sex. Most people realize this and that's why they take birth control as a precaution against having children if they don't want them. Contraception isn't 100% fail-safe so there can be accidents. In which case if a woman decides she does not want the child she has right to an abortion if she wishes.

Nursedude said...

Long and short of it:If you had a mythical world where, If men could get pregnant(and not just have to worry about HIV, Hepatitis B, Clap, Chlamydia and Herpes)Then, and only then, would you see a real drop off in unplanned pregnancies. At the end of the day, for all of time people spend protesting at Planned Parenthood clinics (most of whom seem to be men), if these people would spend their time volunteering to help the kids who are already here, maybe they might actually be doing something to help society.

PS-If you get a chance to see the Movie, "Juno", go see it. I think it's the best film I have seen since Pan's Laberynth-and ties in well with this discussion.

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