So I was just driving around this morning and I saw this:
On the billboard I saw there was the added caption of: “A baby smiles at twelve weeks after conception.”
My blood boiled.
I’m a pro-choice person. I don’t feel I have the right to tell anyone what to do with their body. If, as a woman, you feel that having an abortion is the right decision for you, then I believe you should have the right to do it. Contrary to what a great many pro-lifers believe (or so I would assume based on some of the awful things they say and do in their protests outside of family planning clinics) I don’t believe the majority of abortions are due to being used as a form of birth control. And I would also venture to guess it’s the least popular option for a woman that finds herself with an unplanned and/or unwanted pregnancy.
I don’t plan on having children, personally, but should I ever find myself in a situation where I end up pregnant I don’t know that I would choose abortion either. However, it should be my choice how I deal with it.
When I saw that billboard I thought about several things.
First, I thought about the woman that had to have an abortion because she miscarried past the first twelve weeks of her pregnancy. It happened to a very close friend of mine. She was six months along when the doctors discovered that her daughter’s heart hadn’t formed correctly and she was stillborn. My friend had to go through labor and delivery, give birth to this baby that never took a breath in this world and it was devastating. Still, that is technically considered to be an abortion. That billboard is a slap in the face to every woman that had to go through something similar and is still grieving the loss of a child that they desperately wanted and would do anything to have back. My friend’s daughter would be seven now, had her heart formed correctly. Now was that my friend being a selfish woman, or was that God’s will? I bet in the eyes of a pro-lifer, that was my friend being selfish.
Then I thought about a woman that has an abortion because the pregnancy is a result of a rape. I have gotten into arguments with my aunt over this (and she secretly had an abortion years ago, but I’m not supposed to know about it so I can’t use that against her in arguments which really chaps my ass like you wouldn’t believe). I understand my aunt’s point that it’s “not the baby’s fault” it was the product of a rape. You’re right, it’s not. Here’s the thing… the mother has already been traumatized by the rape. Personally, I don’t know how I could look into the face of a child that reminded me of the person that violated me so heinously and violently. I give all the props in the world to a woman that can look beyond that and see her baby as a blank slate and a chance to do one of the greatest jobs in the entire world. To be able to love a child born of those circumstances is a remarkable thing and you deserve all the praise in the world for being able to do it. If I ever found myself in that situation, I honestly don’t know how I would handle it.
If I chose to have an abortion it wouldn’t be about punishing the baby, like my aunt seems to think. I completely agree that it isn’t the baby’s fault. Maybe, ideally, the best thing would be to put the baby up for adoption. The problem there is that while I would be giving another set of parents a wonderful gift, I would still have to bond with this child. I would have to feel it grow, move, laugh… I would form an attachment to it, and after giving birth I might change my mind because I’m high on post-pregnancy emotions and decide to keep it. Great, I have a kid… but do I really, really want it? Do I feel resentment toward this little person that did absolutely nothing to deserve it?
Again, abortion is no woman’s first choice, but she should still have the option.
Then I thought about the women who were using protection of some form (sometimes two) and still got pregnant. She was being responsible (and this applies to married women just the same as it does to single women) and there’s still a baby on the way. There are hundreds, if not thousands of reasons, why a woman might decide to have an abortion. It’s easy to say that all of them are selfish and again, “punishing the baby”. I remember seeing an episode of ER years ago that involved a married woman in her mid-thirties that already had like six kids, I think, in as many years and she was brought into the ER with all of her children in tow.
A blood test was performed because she passed out. She blamed it on not having a chance to eat that day and it was just low blood sugar. When the tests came back the doctor informed her she was pregnant, which she also suspected. She admitted to trying to self-induce a miscarriage because she couldn’t handle having anymore babies at that point. Her husband had already been called to come get her and the children, and while they waited for him she opted to have an abortion. I don’t fault that mother one bit and it killed her to do it, but she didn’t feel like she had any other choice. She wasn’t prepared to raise another baby and there was no way her husband would ever sign off on an adoption.
Every situation is different.
What kills me is that most of these pro-life organizations are rooted in Christianity, claiming to do “the Lord’s work” for him.
I haven’t been to church on the regular for a long time (I was raised in the Lutheran faith) because I’ve come to view organized religion as a bunch of bullshit. It’s a whole lot of scare tactics and nonsense designed to get your money and make you fall in line with the preacher’s interpretation of the Bible. Fuck that noise. I’m a critical thinker. I can read the Bible and converse with God just fine all on my own. I don’t need a middle man, and as George Carlin said, I don’t need a place to compare clothing either.
If you’re really a good Christian, then you know it’s not your place to judge. That’s God’s job, and contrary to what you might think, you’re not God and you don’t know how He feels about the actions of another.
Do these people never stop to think about the heartache that it causes a woman to go through this procedure? I’m sure there are women that don’t give a single fuck and have abortions on the regular because that’s just how they roll. I know a woman like that, too. An old friend of my mother’s has had eleven in her lifetime that my mother knows about. Eleven. I can’t even imagine. There’s a part of me that wants to judge her for that because I know she used it as a form of birth control. Rather than doing what she could to prevent pregnancies she let herself get pregnant and then “took care of it” afterward. I blame that on her Catholic upbringing and their refusal to accept that birth control is a good thing, but my ranting on the Catholics is a completely different rant best saved for another day.
I think about the state funded facilities for the children that have been abandoned, removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect or were simply turned over to the state at the time of their birth because the mother wasn’t ready for the job of mothering. Here are a few statistics about what those children will experience as a result of not having a stable home life:
- 54 % earn a high school diploma
- 2% earn a Bachelor’s degree or higher
- 84% become parents too soon, exposing their children to a repeated cycle of neglect and abuse
- 51% are unemployed
- 30% have no health insurance
- 25% experience homelessness
- 30% receive public assistance
Is it a sad thing when a woman has an abortion? Yes, absolutely. It’s incredibly sad that there is the loss of potential because that child could have been destined for great things. However, if you’re going to use the God’s Plan argument here… who’s to say it wasn’t God’s Plan for a woman to have an abortion? I bet the pro-lifers don’t even consider that a possibility because they’ve already decided that they know how God feels about abortion. Again, fuck you.
On September 30, 2011, there were an estimated 400,540 children in foster care (site). According to what I read:
More than a quarter (27 percent) were in relative homes,and nearly half (47 percent) were in nonrelative foster familyhomes.
- About half (52 percent) had a case goal of reunification with
reunited with their parents or primary caretakers.
- About half (52 percent) of the children left the system to be
in FY 2011 were in care for less than 1 year.
- Close to half of the children (46 percent) who left foster care
I don’t know what y’all know about foster care and government funded programs, but they’re really not the place you want your child to end up. That’s not to say that all people who are registered to be foster parents are awful, abusive assholes that are only interested in collecting a check from the government. I would like to believe that there are plenty of stable, loving people that genuinely want to offer a good home to a child that doesn’t have one, even if it’s a temporary thing. Sadly, I think those people are fewer and far between than they should be.
This is where we get into a quality of life discussion for a post-natal child and it’s a big part of the argument. If, as a pro-lifer, you’re going to talk about the loss of potential, then quality of life after birth is something that should be considered when a woman decides whether or not to have an abortion. Let me be clear here: I am not saying that children in foster care should have been aborted.
What I am saying is that the quality of life is such, and the chances of having a good, stable family that loves these children is slim to none. Don’t even get me started on digging up statistics of what’s likely to happen to children that don’t come from good homes. What I wonder is why these people aren’t advocating harder for the children that have already been born and have nowhere else to go? There are already hundreds of thousands of children in the US that are stuffed into an overcrowded system that does the absolute bear minimum to keep them alive.
Existing and living are two different things.
These children aren’t being offered the chance to realize their full potential either because of the lack of a stable family. So why aren’t the pro-lifers advocating for the children that are already born, breathing, moving and will someday become adults if living on the streets or being addicted to drugs at a young age doesn’t kill them first?
It’s a terrible fact to mention, but I’m willing to bet abortion actually keeps the number of unwanted children down by a certain percentage. It’s hard to say how many other children would be in the foster care system if abortion was banned. How many special needs children would end up in the system because of it? Special needs children require more care than your average child. Between doctor’s visits, a variety of therapies or specially trained workers to deal with them you’re looking at skyrocketing costs to care for just one child.
I’m not suggesting that abortion is a clever money saving option either, for those that might be thinking I am. What I’m saying is that this is a complicated matter and it’s not as simple as pro-lifers would like it to be. It’s not a simple matter of shaming a woman into giving birth to a child because you have the threat of eternal damnation and hellfire in your argument based on a few cherry picked Bible quotes.
But for the Bible readers out there, let me just leave you with this: