28 October 2006

say it loud, say it proud: i like abortion rights!

i wrote an email to patrick today, and initially i only intended to share a link with him but then i got carried away on a little rant, and i thought i'd continue those thoughts here.

i'm gonna just paste it and then go on with a few more notes from there. so sorry if you read this twice, patrick.

yay abortion!
or rather, yay more abortion rants from me. but then again, yay abortion, too. i'm damn glad it exists and that sentiment prompts me to send along another zoe williams article, which is also prompted by aforementioned sentiment.

it looks like she is doing a multi-part story on abortion, actually, on the occasion of the 39th anniversary of abortion rights being recognized in britain. i really liked the language-oriented stuff of hers that i read earlier, about irony and about the word "cunt", so it makes me happy now to read that she seems to be smart about politics as well. and to be clear by "smart" i didn't mean "agrees with me"; i'm honestly really happy to see HOW she's agreeing with me, which is in exactly the way that i happen to think is right. so yeah, maybe i just mean "agrees with me a lot". haha. but anyway i'm still happy to read these; it's really rare to get to see someone in a mainstream publication call lefties and moderates out for fearfully conceding to anti-abortion-rights people that abortion is "regrettable" or a necessary evil. i don't think it's evil and i'm tired of having to start that far back in the "debate" terms, or to just concede the damn thing and be pissed of it. like, isn't it *unwanted pregnancy* that's bad and maybe traumatic? i really disagree with the entire idea that abortion has to be that way too. in fact, the women who've had abortions mostly report that it isn't. by and large, the few women who say their abortions were traumatic were forced or pressured into the abortion by parents or partners. the rest are women who wished they didn't have to have the abortion -- they wanted to keep the pregnancy but knew they couldn't afford it, or found out that it would result in health risks or birth defects or stillbirth. those ARE awful and traumatic situations; but it's not the nature of abortion that makes it so. and if anti-abortion-rights activists really meant it when they said their aim in hyping up "post-abortion syndrome"* was to reduce the trauma visited upon women, then instead of doing that they'd be working to make it easier for women to keep the pregnancies they do want. they'd be voting to make healthcare more affordable and accessible; they'd be voting to increase assistance to poor families rather than shaming "welfare queens"; and they'd also be adopting disabled, chronically ill, or non-white children at a rate sufficient to fulfill their promises that every unwanted pregnancy can be solved by adoption. but they don't do any of these things, and their claimed position of wanting to protect women is very weak.

*there is no such thing as "post-abortion syndrome," it is not in the medical diagnosis handbooks, and very few women report depression or mental illness after abortions. post-partum syndrome, however, is very real, and it is figured to be one of the most common health problems afflicting women after childbirth.


Your blog is based on nothing but enjoyment of death and lies. I had an abortion at 16. It was a horrific expierience very much like being raped. I like 90% of post abortive women was not medicated at all and have wonderfull vivid memories of the "procedure". Abortion is not empowering to women, it's not fun. It is not empowering to have to chose between your child and economics, the father, or school. It's a heartwrenching "choice" based on misinformation and outside pressures that leaves every women who goes through it damaged. If a women had an good and loving support system in place then why would she have to have an abortion? To say that its easy, or doesn't effect women makes us look either stupid or evil. To say that a women would not be deeply scarred at having to kill her child makes us look like monsters, or like mindless animals who are too stupid to understand fetal development. We are not stupid. Women have amazing capacity to love and nurture others. Thats a huge part of who we are. To attack that very basic part of us through attacking our maternal side is terribly destructive.You think you know what your talking about, but you know nothing. I joined a support group and the saddest thing was how similer all our reactions to our abortions were. I have personally heard hundreds of stories from women about there lives before and after their abortion. The contrast is stark and makes it pretty apparent that abortion hurts women more than helps them. Post your lies all you want. Keep screaming as loud as you can. And every time you do you will force some women who is hurting to bury her pain further in her own shame. By denying that PASS even occurs you are keeping millions of women from the chance to heal. Your making them feel like something is wrong with them. That they are the only ones who feel so hurt, ashamed, angry and in mourning for a child they can never get back. How many women are you going to keep down to further your agenda?

I've found healing and forgivness.

I'm silent no more!

Just one of the Millions
what would my agenda be?

i've been working on a follow-up post to this, so if you'd like to see it stick around, but i have already tried to make really clear that i'm not trying to speak for all women, at all. my WHOLE POINT was that, just as i don't claim to know how all women feel about abortion or that all women feel the same way about abortion as i do, i wish that others would not do that to me. that's why i wrote the post.

i don't feel the same way as you do about my "maternal side". i can "love and nurture" others -- and so can all the other humans i know -- til the cows come home without ever bearing a child. as for babies, i will not indulge that "side" of me until and unless the time is right, and i am okay with that. so i don't feel the moral dread about abortion that political leaders on both sides claim "all women" feel. are you saying that makes ME stupid or evil? because that's not your place to say, the same as (like you said) it isn't my place to say that about you.

i have a problem with the fact that some women make very difficult, sometimes traumatic, choices between bearing a child and "economics, the father, or school" as you said, or family or health or any other possible thing. i think that women should have more support from culture and society: if bosses didn't still feel free to fire pregnant women (despite laws against it), if families didn't treat unplanned pregnancy as shameful, if poor women had better access to pregnancy and child health care, if we had reliable day-care or day-care in the workplace, if men were more responsible about the children they helped create, and so on. if those things happened, i'm sure many women would not need to choose abortion.

that said, i think some women would still choose abortion. you can't get rid of every health problem that's made worse by pregnancy. you can't force every woman to want children, or to want children yet, or to want more children. so those are some reasons that a woman might have an abortion even with a loving support system. however, i think that the great thing about increasing support to women with unplanned pregnancies is that those who still choose abortion will be doing it willingly (aside from those with health complications, which always makes the decision hard). and that's a good reason to make the process itself of abortion less scary, which some (NOT ALL, not even most) women say it is. gentler doctors who are not dealing with the stress of bomb threats would be a good start. or women-focused care centers that are not hidden in the farthest end of a hospital.

i don't deny, at all, that an unplanned pregnancy and the decisions about it can be traumatic. for women who WANT to keep their pregnancy but can't, it can feel like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. society should do everything possible to keep women from having to "choose" abortion when don't want to but actually have no choice at all. society also needs to be more understanding of those women who will choose, freely choose, abortion because they are not ready for a pregnancy. the reason i have a problem with the pseudo-medical "diagnosis" of PAS is that it makes it sound like it's universal and a side effect of the procedure, when really it's person-specific and a consequence of a given person's social/financial/health/religious situation.
that said, anonymous, i want to add two things:

1) i am sorry that your own choice was so hard, and that you went through such a difficult life experience. like i said, i want social change so that that never has to happen anymore.

2) i'm also sorry that the abortion itself was so bad for you. i can't take your word on it that all abortions are bad, because i know a number of people who did not have a bad procedure, although i also know a couple who did find it very painful. i think it depends a lot on the people who provide abortion care, and that's why i want it improved rather than eliminated.

like i said, if my "agenda" is not about helping women, then i don't know what it is about. i want ALL of us to be free to speak about how abortion makes us feel -- not just the ones who have had it and were fine, not just the ones who have had it and hated it, and not just the ones who believe they would never do such a thing. i don't want anyone speaking for me, and i don't want anyone speaking for you. i tried to make it clear that i didn't want to speak for you or others like you -- only that i am tired of people doing so to me. i'm supporting a new language for talking about abortion -- but not trying to end yours.
"Just one of the Millions" ?

More like Just one of the Millions of Cowardly and Invisible Cock-Sucking-Techno-Sophistry Robot-people.

This person has given little evidence that "anonymous" is an actual woman, let alone an actual human being.

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