Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blob vs Baby

The post otherwise known as I'm Pro-Choice and Here's Why.

So here's the thing: with all the furor going around about different states attempting to make abortions illegal and refusing to dispense Emergency Contraception and the latest attempts to avoid dispensing contraception entirely, I felt it was time to say a little something. When the religious right attempts to take away all means of avoiding pregnancy legally, they are ensuring that abortions will happen illegally. It doesn't take brilliant analysis to know that if women don't want a child, they will do whatever it takes to not have that child. Including damaging or killing themselves in the process. Tom Paine has an article about Reproductive Regression that I found interesting.

It is an awesome responsibility to bring a child into the world. It is a fearsome amount of work. You have to give up a large part of your own life and it isn't something that should be forced on anyone.

Think about that.

If you follow what the RR say they want, they are suggesting that no one has recreational sex. Ever. Imagine that, if you will: the only time you would have sex would be when you were planning on having a child, after being duly married. One might also wonder if recreational sex would be out of the question once you were pregnant as well....Moving backwards from there, they would like to ensure that everyone be a virgin when they got married. Or at least the women. For some reason, it still appears to be acceptable that the men can have pre-marital sex, but the women must remain untouched. Here's a quick question: who are the men supposed to be having sex with if not some portion of the women that are out there? How many of those RR folks do you think were virgins when they got married? How many of them stuck to pro-creational sex only?

Hmm...sounds like pots calling kettles black and all that.

The latest argument seems to be about birth control causing abortions. Let's try and set the record straight here, shall we? The Pill does not cause abortions. It prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs in the first place (it basically tricks your body into thinking that you are already pregnant.). Secondly, it thickens the cervical mucus so that sperm have a harder time entering the uterus. So, in this way fertilization cannot take place and thus there is no "baby" that is being aborted here.

Emergency contraception is just that: another method of avoiding fertilization, although in this case it is after having had unprotected sex (or sex that started out protected, but perhaps the condom broke). It is not the same as the abortion pill RU-486. EC is essentially a major dose of daily oral contraceptives. If the egg has already been fertilized, EC will not work. Again, no fertilization occurs, no "baby" being aborted here.

So why are the RR getting all worked up over these two things? They are busy lying to the public about how each works. They are busy lying to the public about what they want and are willing to lie to continue getting their way politically.

It is not up to anyone other than the woman to decide if and when to get pregnant. Yes, she should work with her significant other to come to an agreement, but that doesn't mean her body is his property. This is the day of modern medicine. You can avoid getting pregnant as long as you like (if you are conscientiously taking BC and/or other precautions), assuming that both people involved are interested in avoiding unplanned pregnancies. Let me be clear here: it should not be the sole reponsibility of the woman to avoid pregnancy. If a man doesn't want to father a child, he should be certain of it by doing his part to avoid fertilization. To me, that means wearing a condom or gasp! getting a vasectomy (If he never, ever wants a child.), in addition to the woman taking responsibility for herself.

"But wait! Accidents happen!" You yell angrily from the sidelines.

Absolutely. They are the reason EC and abortions should be available and legal.

If we can all agree that raising a child takes as much work as it does (heaps), is expensive (argh), is tiring (extremely), nerve wracking (frequently) and an emotional roller coaster (hell yeah!), then why would you want to do that to your sister, daughter, mother, aunt, cousin, friend, complete stranger? Being pregnant is more than just 9 months. It's a lifelong commitment - and I don't mean because you're raising a child. It has permanent affects - many negative - on a woman's body. It's not the bed of roses that others would tell you it is. Women still die from pregnancy and childbirth related complications. In the US, that number seems to range between ~12 to 17 per 100,000 births. That may seem like a small number to you but when you are the pregnant one, how are you supposed to know that it isn't going to be you?

Let's be frank: people are going to have sex. It feels good, they like it, they're gonna do it. Not everyone is cut out to be a parent and they shouldn't have to become one just because a small but loud group says they should. Considering how hard it is to raise a child that you want, imagine how much harder it would be to raise a child you don't want! When you get angry and resentful normally, imagine that person getting a little angrier, a little more resentful. Do you spank your child? Will they? How far a step do you think it is between going from an unwanted child to a dead or abused child? I would propose that it is not a big step at all.

I guess it all boils down to this:

If you want it, it's a baby. If you don't want it, it's a blob of cells.

It has the potential to be a child, just as a seed (also a fertilized embryo) has the potential to be a plant. No one has to plant all of the seeds in the packet. Most people don't need or want 4000 poppies. No one should risk getting pregnant every time they have sex. It is not a plant until it comes up out of the ground and has sprouted. It is not a baby until it is viable outside of the mother. No embryo has more value than that of a living, breathing, thinking, fully realized, walking and talking woman.

I say this from the perspective of someone who has had a child: a child that I wanted. I had an emergency c-section - we both could have died. My younger sister almost did. It's not always fun - Caitlin takes a lot of work, but I love her and I'm glad she's here.

Isn't that what you want for everyone? The hope that if you want a child, you can have a child and that you will love that child, even when they drive you crazy.

2 comments:

Eric said...

I must assume that if the RR wants women to be virgins when they marry, but not men, they must be encouraging single men to have affairs with married women.

Anonymous said...

No, with single boys- a la Foley.

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