Today we visit the cheeriest of topics: abortion. And be warned, it’s a long one.
I think ‘pro life’ and ‘pro choice’ are misnomers. To me there are only ‘pro life’ and ‘pro death’ arguments… but probably not the way round you’d assume.
The self-identified ‘pro-life’ camp doesn’t seem to mind women dying.
And the self-identified ‘pro-choice’ side is allowing those women to live.
There are people who would immediately take issue with that and argue that abortion kills babies. Well, it doesn’t, does it, really. It isn’t a viable life yet. I liked the analogy someone set sail upon the internet about whether in a fire you’d rescue a whole tray of embryos or the crying toddler in the corner, and no one on this earth would pick the tray of embryos.
I’m not saying foetuses aren’t important or valued. They are.
And because someone would probably ask me in a real-life conversation, no, I don’t think I could personally get one (unless it was rape and then I think I would) BUT HERE’S THE THING.
It’s not about me. Or you. Or any individual and what they would or wouldn’t do.
We don’t all have identical ethics, circumstances, dilemmas, and desperations. We are humans.
Women’s bodies should not be a political battleground. They should not be weaponised against women themselves. These laws are a form of pure control. Women’s bodies should be nobody’s business but theirs and whoever they choose to share it with.
Men make these laws. 68% MPs in the UK are men. Men hold 77% government offices in the USA. In fact, out of 200+ countries in the world, only two have more women in political offices than men: they are Bolivia at 53% women, and Rwanda at 64% women. (The whys and wherefores of this are one for another day, but perhaps a simplified contributor might be that women have to have the babies. And they are made to have the babies. And then there are no support systems in place to re-route post-birth. Well, why should there be, that’s biology right? Women have the babies and then look after them! Except, wait, we’ve managed to lap biological difficulties in every other fucking aspect haven’t we, look at the phones in your hand and the Viagra for your dick and the rockets on the moon and tell me we can’t come up with a solution to shared childcare I DIGRESS).
So, these men, anyway, they don’t know or care about a woman’s biology. They don’t care that loads of women often have late periods. They don’t care that some women might only get one every six weeks, or might be on birth control that usually stops them getting periods altogether and one egg just slipped through the net. They want to force women to bear children, which is a tool of subjugation as old as time.
The really fun part is, it does take two to make a baby. So where’s the political battleground for men’s bodies? Oh wait
here is a fun graphic for that!
In 2014, legal restrictions proposed to regulate women’s bodies in the USA: 468.
Read that again. ONE YEAR. IN 2014. FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY-EIGHT. IN ONE COUNTRY.
Not all of these passed, sure, but they were proposed in actual government to tell women what to do with their own bodies.
And legal restrictions imposed on men’s bodies?
Something here really doesn’t fit for me.
(Point: yes loads of this focuses on America, for two reasons: one, excellent data availability, and two, it’s one of the few western developed nations to still cling to this medieval attitude in law.)
Ok, so a woman has to grow the thing, but they don’t spontaneously appear. And last time I checked, ‘contraception is a responsibility for both people’ is said A LOT.
And here’s another thing: the men responsible for pushing these bills through really are all about control. I’ll tell you for why…
They don’t mind when the boot is on the other foot, as long as they still have control.
Tennessee Republican representative Scott DesJarlais pressured his mistress (ooh so extramarital sex as well! Bravo!) into ending her pregnancy when he’s supported a national ban on abortion. AND – HIS WIFE, TOO!! And he used to be a doctor and slept with several of his patients. Sounds a real nice guy who definitely has your best interests at heart, doesn’t he?
Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania also had an affair, and texts were made public in which she told him: “you had zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options.” Ouch.
Scott Lloyd, a human garbage patch who somehow got the gig of Head of Office of Refugee Resettlement in the US, removed abortion and contraceptive services from refugees and personally blocked a 17-year-old refugee who was a victim of rape from getting an abortion. And, oh yeah, paid for his ex-girlfriend to get one.
Elliot Broidy works for the Republican National Committee and raises funds for the party because of it’s ‘pro-life’ stance AND paid the woman he had an affair with to keep silent about her abortion, organised by Michael Cohen, interesting.
Could go on.
So the thing is, these stupid fucking badger merkins KNOW that there are circumstances where an abortion is the best option BUT NOT FOR YOU NO. Only for them. Because in super-Bible-belt-sinless-raging-white-Christian America I guess you only go to hell for shit if other people find out?? These people have no religion, no faith. They are poisonous. They use religion as a tool for control and coercion. Nothing more. They are toxically hypocritical. They do not care about the lives of babies. They care about the lives of women being corralled. They care about control. This does come down to men believing they have a right to control women.
They. Do. Not.
So, contraception. Logically, then, to reduce abortion rates you would support contraception. But no, these blithering jizzmongers don’t want that, either, removing vast swathes of Planned Parenthood funding and overseas aid for any organisations which are even connected to abortion providers (as any organisation having anything to do with contraception usually does).
So what, then? I guess they are trying to encourage abstinence? In their good Christian ways?
Well, we all know that statistically, abstinence until marriage is doomed to fail, and you’d think these raccoon giblets would know that better than most, but apparently not.
Here’s a link to a scientific paper which proves a positive correlation between abstinence-only education and … hahahahaha… pregnancy and STI increase.
“These data show clearly that abstinence-only education as a state policy is ineffective in preventing teenage pregnancy and may actually be contributing to the high teenage pregnancy rates in the U.S.” So they can fuck right off with that one.
And personal responsibility? Knowing that sex can lead to a lifelong commitment? Well here is some news, no contraceptive method is 100% effective. So I guess no intimacy OH WAIT WE ALREADY DECIDED THAT WAS BULLSHIT sorry. It just doesn’t work. And this whole women-don’t-have-sex-then thing completely ignores the fact women are also people and enjoy sex and want to be intimate with the person they love. And I bet the people who sit on their high horses banning abortion are exactly the sort of men who would pressure women into something and then disappear into the sunset.
Because, another argument then: well, have the kid, and get support.
But saying a father should support his offspring is very different to it actually happening. There are no guarantees.
Take me for example. I’m 25. I work a just-above minimum wage job on a one-year contract at unholy hours. I live in a friend’s spare room. I have little savings and no personal space. My partner lives currently 2000 miles away. I live 200 miles from the rest of my family. I have nothing of my own except a very tiny car. And, when we’re in the same place, I’m sexually active. With one method of contraception. I guess to some that would be ‘reckless behaviour’ then. Because there is no way on this planet I could have a baby in this situation. I’d have to quit my job, move back in with my parents and put a huge burden on them, I would lose my independence, any progress in my career, chance of improving that or saving to have a baby at a better time, I would feel so trapped and desperate and alone. So I guess by that logic I should just not have sex then. Ever.
I feel safer knowing there would be a way out, if I ever needed one. I hope I don’t. But until you’re in that situation, you will never know. And you cannot prescribe something like that to another person. You just can’t. It’s not your body, your life, your pain or suffering.
Next argument: so give it up for adoption. This completely ignores the physical and mental trauma or going through childbirth, bonding, and then giving up a baby and never seeing it, never knowing. I can’t say what’s what, it isn’t my place, but for some people, a termination of a non-viable embryo which isn’t really alive yet is an easier option to live with.
We haven’t even touched on the ravages of pregnancy. According to the NHS, ‘it’s common for women to experience mental ill health’ in pregnancy. COMMON. Maybe for some people, that is just not an option. If it’s something you have struggled with your entire life and spent thirty years trying to build, imagine watching your existence crumble away in a single minute.
And not to mention pregnancy can be deadly. It’s all right those ‘some exceptions’ people – that’s OK if the risks are identified. But just carrying a baby has severe risks. Maybe some people just cannot face what pregnancy can do to a body – from permanent disability or illness, right down to death. It’s terrifying. This is not an experience that law should be able to enforce.
I can’t imagine those not-so-quite-anti-abortion men previously mentioned standing up to volunteer, if they could, can you?
Personally, I quite enjoy the videos of dudes hooked up to electrodes to simulate labour.
Another argument: get rid of abortion in law and it won’t happen. I’ve never, ever understood this. The people who peddle this shit are like flat-earthers and anti-vaxxers. This isn’t an experiment or a practice run. In the whole of human history, abortion has only been legal ANYWHERE for a maximum of 99 years (personally I’m surprised it’s that long! – and where!). As far as I can tell (wikipedia), Soviet Russia was the first country to legalise abortion and put it under state control, in 1920! Lenin cited economic and social factors post-war and post-revolution which made it extremely difficult to support children, and he apparently recognised that banning it didn’t make it go away.
Because abortion has been around for as long as humans have. According to WHO, abortion rates are similar in countries where abortion is legal and where it is not. Natural abortifacients have always been known. And of course, the one which springs to most sane people’s minds, is the image of a woman in a darkened room with dirty instruments and blood on the floor. So many women die or are damaged for life through back street abortions. They die from internal bleeding or sepsis. They lose their wombs to necrosis. In 2006, the figures were that 70,000 women a year die from backstreet abortions – and that’s what we know about. These figures are from Abortion Rights UK/The Guardian.
Making abortion legal doesn’t increase abortion rates. It makes the abortions that would happen anyway safe.
I am not here to debate when life begins. But 90% abortions in the world take place in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Only 1.6% abortions in the UK happen after 20 weeks and these are almost entirely due to foetal abnormalities which would be terminal.
I would unequivocally support my mother’s right to choose whether or not she had me.
The ‘pro-life’ people are nowhere to be seen when it actually comes to supporting life. They are not there for the nappy changes and the sleep deprivation, with the funds for the costs of a baby, with a magic cure for physical and mental pains, with jobs which match your pay and qualifications after having a baby, or of course a cure for not wanting a child at all.
There is no analogue between women who want a baby and can’t, and women who can but don’t want one. Every woman on this earth is an individual and should be able to choose for a start what her body goes through (pretty basic idea, to me) but it’s comparing apples to spaceships to insult these groups by comparing them to each other. A guilt trip helps precisely no-one. It does nothing for the woman who wants a baby, but makes the hardest decision anyone could ever make even harder.
And why do women choose to have abortions? Statistically the most common reason given in the US is ‘negative impact on a woman’s life’ which is very broad. Second is financial instability. Thirdly is relationship problems and unwillingness to be a single mother.
That first reason encompasses an entire woman’s life, remember. Less than half of girls who have a baby before they’re 18 graduate high school. Think how that leaves your entire future. Not even a high school diploma. How are you going to earn enough to support a baby? How are you going to earn enough to support yourself over the course of your life? What are your career options? Any skills, talents or dreams you may have had are gone. Your ability to provide a better life for another child in the future is affected. These girls are more likely to become trapped in dependent and abusive relationships. How can a girl go from having to put up her hand up to go to the bathroom one day, but being responsible for a tiny helpless human the next? And in trying to take the decision away from them, we are enforcing the paradox that they aren’t mature enough to decide to have a termination, but they are mature enough to bring up a child??
Other reasons frequently cited include: I don’t want any more children; stigma around sexual activity; my partner wants me to; and the health of the woman or the foetus. 1% abortion seekers are victims of rape. Think about that. It doesn’t sound like much but it fucking is.
89% women gave at least two reasons. 72% gave at least three.
Women do not seek abortions lightly. The myth that abortion is used as another form of birth control is precisely that – a myth. There is nowhere in the world where abortion is entirely unrestricted. You cannot just turn up, as though you were getting a haircut, like some people seem to believe.
OK, I think I’ve got everything off my chest that I needed to say. It’s taken me 2600 words and a colourful search history, but here we are. There should be a legal opportunity. The rest is up to the individual. I do not believe there is an ethical case for the banning or undue restriction of abortion. It will still happen, it will just be deadlier and more secretive and more shameful and cause untold pain.
I’m going to leave it there.
Yours very definitively,
In Other News… A Difficult Essay To Follow With Comedy…
Errrr…. Well, I once farted on a bat survey and the bat detector picked it up, does that count?
So it turns out silent farts actually aren’t silent. I found it so funny I had to text my best friend and she replied with ‘Good luck to whoever tries to identify that one’ and I creased.