I love having epiphanies.

Even when they’re about unpleasant things. In this case, abortion.

Abortion has always been a knee-jerk subject for me, and I like poking at knee-jerk subjects. I used to say, “of course it’s a touchy subject for me, anybody who thinks abortion should be illegal is saying I should be forced to carry to term a pregnancy I don’t want if my birth control fails, and that is FUCKED UP.”

But that doesn’t quite explain the white-hot rage I get. I become borderline incoherent when I talk about abortion with someone who disagrees with me. I once frightened a dear cousin of mine so much when he stuck his foot in his mouth on the subject that he backed away from me. My incandescent rage made him retreat from me and made my then-husband leave the room, and this was before I even said a word.

Reading several posts over at Fugitivus has helped me finally express why, I think.
In short: If you are someone who thinks I should not be able to get an abortion when I want one, you are saying I have no right to control my own body. Other people who say (or whose actions say) such things: abusers, rapists, murderers.

Before someone comes in all “but they’re just thinking about the babieeeeees, let me answer that: abortion is not just about the life of the fetus. It is about the life of the mother too. By disregarding that, you are erasing her. She does not matter to you, not as much as the baby. By disregarding that, you are erasing me. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be pretty pissed off by that.

Consider: for a rapist, the victim does not matter as much as the rapist getting off / putting the victim in her (or his!) place / etc. For a murderer, a person’s right to live does not matter as much as the need to see the person dead. For an abuser, a person’s right to not be treated like shit is irrelevant when compared to the abuser’s need to feel important / put the victim down / etc.

So yeah, I get really angry. And I only get angrier when the pro-forced-birth camp keep talking, because they are digging that hole deeper. They say things like, “well, obviously many abortions are about convenience.”

That tone is the same as, “well, obviously it wasn’t rape. She led him on.”

Or, “well, yeah, he slapped her around, but obviously it wasn’t abuse, because she was a nagging bitch.”

Or, “well, yeah, he killed her, but obviously it wasn’t murder because she was cheating on him.”

Or, “well, yeah, he killed him, but obviously it wasn’t murder because he was a fag and hit on him.”

Or, “well, yeah, they gangraped and killed her, but she had a dick so it doesn’t count.”

When I hear someone say I should not have control over my own body, they are saying it is okay for someone else to make decisions about what happens to me, simply because I have committed the sin of *gasp* having sex without wanting a baby to happen. That ranks right up there with guys who think women should fuck them because, well, those women have fucked other guys, so obviously when they say “no” they don’t mean it. It makes me physically ill, and then it makes me want to start hurting people until they understand that bodily autonomy is important.

Saying I shouldn’t have access to abortion is saying I don’t matter, that someone else is more important than my health, than my right to say what happens to my own body, to my own sexual organs, to my own self.

So yeah, I get mad. I get real mad.

I have the right to say “no” to things that want to be in my body. I can say “no” to knives. I can say “no” to penises. I can say “no” to tongues or broomsticks or bottles or drugs or fingers or alcohol or babies. And if you want to take away my right to say “no” to one, it sounds a lot like the people who want to take away my right to say “no” to the others.

So yeah, I get mad. I get real mad.

It’s my body. Mine. Your right to punch ends where my nose begins. Your right to live ends where my skin begins. I will not have my right to kill in self-defense taken away. I will not have my right to control what happens to my own body taken away. I will not. So don’t be surprised if your “well, maybe it’s okay for victims of incest” doesn’t meet with my approval. Don’t be surprised if “but what about the baby??” doesn’t persuade me. Don’t be surprised if saying “Well, if you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex” doesn’t calm me down.

Don’t be surprised if I get mad. Real, real mad.

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4 Responses to Ephiphany!

  1. Junglemonkey says:

    While I don’t actually spout steam or have my bow tie spin around when confronted, I’m right there with you.
    For me, it’s been 29 years since I had an abortion, and I have been reminded in a very personal way about it constantly since that day. Not by my “pro-lifer” friends who never knew or cared at the time about my decision,not by my family who were all very supportive at the time, but by the guy who got me pregnant. He was actually my boyfriend at the time, and the sex we had was consensual, but I made the decision on my own to have an abortion because all by myself I could see that this guy was NOT going to be a decent parent. I wasn’t about to have my entire future jacked up for a mistake that had taken all of five minutes to complete.
    This guy has, since then, decided that he and I have some bond – that I *owe* him because I made the decision without him. He thinks that he could have persuaded me that…I don’t even know what he might have had in mind. What I do know is that since that time he has cheated on his wife who finally divorced him, and his longtime girlfriend who finally threw him out. He lost touch with the children he had with his wife. He has had a series of jobs that would have been decent if he also hadn’t made a series of “mistakes” (I am generously counting his decision to embezzle from one employer as a mistake) that kept setting him back.
    My ability to sustain life wouldn’t have been affected by having a child when I was still a child myself, but the life of THIS mother would have been compromised to the point that I wouldn’t have been the person I am now, and that’s the same thing. My life, this life, would have been aborted if that baby hadn’t been. Every day, I feel vindicated in the decision I made.

  2. AM says:

    E – you’re exactly right when you say the anti-abortion folks are trying to make you irrelevant by forcing their particular choice on you. They want to be allowed to make choices on your behalf. How is this different from men telling women how to vote instead of letting them choose? How is this different from men being consulted before their wives can have an hysterectomy? (Happened to your grandma, remember, and the delay damn near killed her.) How is this different from men deciding that letting women learn to read is “dangerous?” How is this different from men choosing their daughters’ husbands? Deciding that a woman has dishonored the family and drowning her in the family pool? How is this different from mothers deciding that their daughters are “over-sexed” and subjecting them to FGM?
    When choice is taken from women, whether it’s a choice about having a child, getting married or learning to read, the people who remove those choices are no better than rapists.
    As for the babeeeeeeeeees, if they can’t yet survive outside the womb, they’re not babies, they’re just fetal tissue and part of the woman’s body. She may choose to have an abortion or choose not to, but it needs to be a CHOICE, like all the other choices in our lives.
    If we won’t let governments/fanatics tell us how to worship or vote, we shouldn’t let them tell us what to do with our bodies either.
    And on that note, can we please legalize a generic for inhaled Albuterol so I can have a life-saving drug for less than $40/week?

  3. Alex Summers says:

    I’ve long been pro-abortion (as long, at least, as I’ve been really aware of the question), and I’ve been around the block a few times regarding the reasons why, but like you I haven’t been able to quite put my finger on the reasons for the strong visceral reaction I have to the idea of forced birth.
    I’m not 100% sure that my reasons are the same as yours, but thanks for the hint.

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