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.