Blog for Choice!

Today is Blog for Choice day. I’m late posting, but couldn’t let the anniversary of Roe v. Wade go by without posting. Women’s reproductive rights are under siege in this country — even my home state of California was a target in the 40 Days of Forced Birth. Even the supposedly libertarian-minded Ron Paul is an “unshakeable foe of abortion” (read: thinks pregnant women should be forced to bear unwanted children to term) who has tried to define life as beginning at conception in federal law.
A few of the many reasons I am pro-choice, and vote accordingly:

  • The government shouldn’t be able to force anyone to have a particular roommate, let alone a particular person inside her body.
  • The government shouldn’t be able to have a say in anyone’s medical decisions. Whether to have an abortion or not, and what kind to have, is between a woman and those she chooses to include.
  • Pro-forced-birth folks aren’t actually about saving babies, most of the time, they’re about controlling women’s sexuality. You can tell by the way they react to questions about how to punish women who get abortions in places where it’s illegal (and another great link: here).
  • If abortion is made illegal, the next thing on the chopping block is contraception. Plenty of pro-forced-birth movement folks are trying to get rid of contraception — look at the hoo-hah over emergency contraception and the pharmacists who won’t fill prescriptions for it. Or the doctors who won’t give birth control pills to unmarried women.
  • Nobody should be able to force a woman to bear a child she doesn’t want. Full stop.

A note: Safe abortions will always be available to women with enough money, like myself. We can always go out of the country or wherever we have to.. But women who can’t afford safe abortions will be likely to die if abortion is made illegal. I’m fighting less for myself and more for the women who don’t have the advantages I do.
For more on what a nation where abortion is illegal is like, read this article on El Salvador. I’ve linked it a zillion times, but it’s worth reading.

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12 Responses to Blog for Choice!

  1. Alex Summers says:

    Something I’ve wondered for a while, but haven’t gotten an answer to (possibly in part because I haven’t asked the question out loud until now): It seems to be commonly accepted amongst the pro-choice crowd that, as you’ve said, a large part of the PFB crowd is motivated by controlling [or, perhaps, punishing] women’s sexuality, and not by the stated goal of “savin’ babies.” In other words, scratch a PFB person, you’ll find a puritan underneath.
    The question is, is there a similar thought on the other side? That is, when PFB’s talk to each other, do they have a presumption regarding the unstated motivations of the pro-choice side?

  2. Ealasaid says:

    when PFB’s talk to each other, do they have a presumption regarding the unstated motivations of the pro-choice side?
    Yep.
    We’re “loose women.” Irresponsible. Cheating on our husbands (because if you weren’t, then obviously you wouldn’t need birth control / abortion!). We just want to have sex without consequences. GRAH!
    They don’t just use it when talking to each other, either. There’s a great rant by Naamah about the myth of the irresponsible woman here, in which she talks about some of these things.
    Furthermore, when pro-forced-birthers DO wind up wanting abortions, they get them — and then, sometimes, go right back to protesting. Cos, you know, their daughter didn’t mean to get pregnant, it was an accident, and it would ruin her life to get pregnant. “The only moral abortion is my abortion” indeed.

  3. Alex Summers says:

    I meant what they think of someone like me, not someone who has (or would have) an abortion. (Not that I wouldn’t have one if, somehow, I became the world’s first pregnant man.)

  4. Ealasaid says:

    Oh, you mean someone who is pro-choice?
    I think they think all pro-choicers are people who want “sex without consequences” — ie, loose women and men who want to have lots of sex with loose women. That’s the impression get, anyway.

  5. Alex Summers says:

    You’re probably right. And I don’t think that’s at all an accurate assumption on their part, which makes me wonder if my assumption of puritanism is also inaccurate. I don’t think so, since I seem to see evidence of it independent of their PFB stance, but it makes me wonder.
    Of course, if you assume, as I do, that “consequences” in this context connotes “punishment” (as opposed to mere cause and effect), then a) I think that is proof of puritanism, and b) I can’t for the life of me see what’s wrong with sex without punishment.

  6. Alex Summers says:

    OMFG. You know, sometimes I get all trying-to-be-reasonable about this, and then I hear something like this radio commercial from the “second look foundation” (a front for some Catholic group), and I just want to scream. Actually, I do, but it’s in my car so only I hear it.
    I’m going from memory, so I have probably left out some of the lies, but:
    Claim: Roe v. Wade gives women the right to abort on a whim up to the moment of delivery. Bullshit. Setting aside the fact that you’d be hard-pressed to find even one person who in fact did this, Roe v. Wade established a tiered system based on trimesters, with increasing restrictions allowed the farther on the pregnancy has gone.
    Claim: There are X thousand abortions a year after the 5th or 6th month (I forget which). [Later] 25% of pregnancies end in abortion. Two facts that are probably true (or close enough), but when juxtaposed falsely imply that a large percentage of pregnancies are terminated after that date. In fact, 87% of abortions happen in the first trimester. About 1% happen after the 21st week (approximately 5 months). Probably not a lot of “on a whim” abortions in that bunch.
    And let’s not leave out the fact that saying “for any reason” implies that women who have abortions are doing it for no good reason, when the facts run counter to that unstated assumption.
    It just pisses me off when people lie like that. It destroys whatever shred of respect I have for them, and also if you’ve got to lie to advance your position, what does that say about it?
    [Statistics from Guttmacher institute]

  7. Ealasaid says:

    I like “PFB” as an abbreviation.
    I completely agree that the politically-active PFB camp are pretty consistently making themselves look really puritan. Their lying and manipulation to promote their position (like using photos of miscarried fetuses on anti-abortion posters and saying they are aborted babies) puts them beneath my contempt.
    And no, the vast, overwhelming majority of third trimester abortions are for medical reasons. Many of the procedures are to remove dead or dying fetuses so that the mother doesn’t have to carry a corpse to term.

  8. Alex Summers says:

    I was just being lazy in my typing, but you’re welcome to the abbreviation. :-)

  9. this is an extremely difficult issue for me. When my teenage daughter got pregnant I wanted her to abort and she told me loud and clear, “NO.” Now my granddaughter is one year old and I have to admit, my daughter was right. I think in the moment when a couple chooses to have sex without protection they have taken their decision – pro choice ends here where a new, third life has started. But then there are the what if like rape, severe brain damage/disability of the fetus, etc. It is extremely hard to come to a satisfying opinion. And I also see your point that a legal abortion at a US clinic is better than illegal bullshit. I don’t envy any pregnant woman who is confronted with the question wether or not…been there done that.
    For me one of the American cultural mysteries is the fact that those who oppose war the most are also those who support the killing of unborn life and those who are pro war are those who want to protect unborn babies. Shouldn’t the ones who support the killing on battlefields be the one who support the killing in clinics? And those against ending life in wars, shouldn’t they be the ones with the most compassion for unborn life? One of the things hard to understand for alien XYZ alias Munichmaedchen.

  10. Ealasaid says:

    M – I agree that most pro-forced-birth people are indeed hypocrites. They’re against abortion, but in favor of the death penalty and the war. It shows how little they actually value life.
    One thing: many, many pregnancies happen in spite of birth control. No method (even sterilization!) is completely guaranteed. I hope you don’t think folks who don’t want kids shouldn’t be “allowed” to have sex!
    No one — NO ONE — should ever be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.
    Which is what “pro-life” folks are actually advocating: forcing women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. Not valuing life.
    The choice of whether to abort or carry to term is up to the mother. She may take input from folks whose opinions she values, but the choice must always, ALWAYS, be hers. Nobody should be forced either way.

  11. Alex Summers says:

    Munichmaedchen: You should read Judith Jarvis Thompson’s seminal essay “A Defense of Abortion.” It’s short, but some of the thought experiments do wonders to illustrate the issues at stake. It’s also dense: Every time I see someone who thinks they have a counterargument, I re-read the essay and discover that it’s been anticipated and answered (and that I missed it the last time).
    Available on the internet (with some minor typos) at http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm

  12. Ealasaid says:

    Alex, thanks for linking that essay! I am pretty sure I have read it before but it completely slipped my mind. It’s a great essay!