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Sunday, February 10, 2013

My Humble Opinion (if you're not open minded, save yourself the heartache)

As I always say, anyone who knows me and has followed this blog knows that I used to be pro-life. Strongly pro-life. So I think that because I understand that side (as much as it frustrates me now), I have pretty unique pro-choice views. And that tends to piss off some people.

For example, I do think that there should be limitations. I think there should be a cut off for elective abortions, and a separate cut off for certain circumstances, such as medical reasons, rape, or incest. For those of you wondering why I'm all for women being able to terminate late term due to rape or incest, it's because many young girls are scared to speak up if they've been a victim of rape or incest. Therefore, often there pregnancies are undetected by any adult until the girl is showing (often not until 5 or 6 months, and even later than that for some girls). As far as medical reasons, often a fetal anomaly cannot be detected until the anatomy scan, which generally occurs between 18-20 weeks. Some women don't even get ultrasounds before that point. Likewise, often maternal problems aren't detected until later in the pregnancy either. My thoughts on limitations tend to irritate others in the pro-choice community. Everyone likes to say that it's stupid for me to think that women would be flocking to their local abortion clinics to have abortions "just because" at 30 weeks. And that would be stupid. But here's the thing: the world is full of stupid people. I do believe that there would be women (not many, but still), who would terminate late term just because they were allowed to and certain circumstances have put them there (think: martial separation late in a pregnancy. I don't think this type of thing really makes sense as a reason to terminate). Call me anti-woman if you want...but that's just how I feel about it. I don't think it's wrong for a woman to terminate because she simply doesn't want to be pregnant, I just think that kind of abortion should happen ASAP (which also leads me to point out that I believe the government should put some sort of help out there for these women, as the majority of insurance companies don't cover abortions and some women can't come up with a few hundred dollars in the instance of unintended pregnancy). As far as medical reasons--I don't believe that at 38 weeks, a woman should be able to terminate, UNLESS (note people, this is a BIG "unless"), the baby is actively suffering in utero. I'm a mom. I know that none of us would want our children to suffer. Period. If the baby is suffering, and a family wants to terminate, they should be allowed to. But if it's a case of they're okay right now, but they won't survive once they're born, let nature take it's course. Of course, just my opinion. I probably feel this way BECAUSE I am a mom. While I consider myself strongly pro-choice, I've never had the outlook that the fetus isn't a baby. From the start, in my opinion, there is (at the very least) potential for life. I understand that life happens. I understand that women don't want their children to suffer. I understand that sometimes the choice has to be made to save the mother. But that doesn't make me feel any less empathy for the pregnancy, the child, the fetus...whatever you prefer to call it. But in the grand scheme of things, I realize that I am nothing more than a blogger. I write my thoughts out, and a few people read them. And while I am so  incredibly grateful that people spend their incredibly valuable time reading what I write, I realize that at this point in my life, I probably won't be making a difference in this debate. When it comes down to it, we've got a ton of Republican men who believe women should still be barefoot in the kitchen, holding our political offices. And as long as they want this right to be taken away, the very real threat remains. One blog isn't going to change that.

With all of that said, I do respect the feelings and opinions of my pro-choice friends...even the ones who believe abortion should be available on demand, with no restrictions. Because those are their opinions. And I believe that anyone who is willing to speak out on their true feelings on abortion (an often emotionally charged issue), deserves respect. Period. This is not an easy topic to discuss these days. But the fact that it's not easy doesn't mean that we don't need to be facing it. Our rights are in more danger now than they have been since the passing of Roe v Wade. Now is the time for us to speak up and speak out and work to preserve the rights that we have. Not only for ourselves, our friends, and sisters...but for future generations. For our children and their children.

In order for this fight to be won, we have to respect each other in the battle. We're all fighting for the same thing, regardless of whether or not our opinions of the details differ. We all believe that women should have the chance to make a choice: parent, adopt, abort.


  1. I almost 100% disagree with you!!! (Although, like you, I think there is no contradiction in respecting the fact that a fetus IS a potential life, and we should really let pregnant women decide what language they will use and how THEY view it as a life, or not. I personally do not think it a baby until it is born. But that's just me). THAT SAID, I respect you immensely and think it is TOTALLY OK that I disagree with you. When feminists, prochoicers, etc., agree more than we disagree, we have to stick together. And if an issue comes up I believe we can stick together and hash it out, even if the result is something we don't like!
    I think your reservations about late term abortions are totally understandable. It's not a pretty situation, and I don't have to tell you that it's usually not something women want either. One thing I ask myself is what will do the most good for the most people? I believe in this case the answer to that is no restrictions. I am not trying to be condescending to your own opinions or to get you to change them, I've just had to formulate a kind of objective measure for myself to answer these tough questions. You probably have a measure for yourself too that is just as valid.
    I think you end with the most important thing--choice needs to be about supporting ALL choices. I am glad to see the movement willing to be more open about this (I think people have been afraid of losing ground if they talk about anything other than abortion).
    Keep speaking your mind!

    1. I agree...the majority of women would never think of terminating past a certain point for any reason. But I do admit, the few that may linger in my mind when I'm hashing this idea how in my mind. And logically, I know that late term abortions make up only about 1% of abortions performed. I guess it's more of a sentimental issue with me...which it probably shouldn't be. Also, you're absolutely right--there is this issue where, I feel, lots of pro-choicers think you have to be all for abortion, or you're against it. And in reality, I do NOT think the government should have a say. I think this issue lies between a woman, her family, and her physician. And I certainly would not consider myself pro-life anymore. I fully support a woman's right to choose. I guess I'm just a little sensitive to the right being abused.

    2. I think it would be kind of strange if that situation DIDN'T give us pause, since as I said before, it's not pretty or easy. That said, I think you express a good balance of knowing that you have some personal feelings about it that aren't necessarily something you're going to "force" on anyone else. Which is pretty key to supporting the movement and each other right? I would say being supportive of and listening to your thoughts and possible reservations is ALSO pretty key. I could get mad and say "you're not pro choice enough" or I could explain my own reasoning, you yours, and we can work something out in common. Thanks for not being afraid to say this stuff even if you know it's not widely supported. It challenges us ALL to have nuanced discussions and challenge our own thinking.

    3. ALSO I have found that formerly pro life, now pro choice individuals have some of the best insights about reproductive justice. So you are making a big contribution. Have you seen this blog? Her post about how she because prochoice is so interesting.

    4. I haven't, but I'll be sure to check it out! I don't know of many people (on either side of the debate) that don't have their little quirks in their beliefs. I am certainly one of those people. But like you said, I try not to force my opinions on others. I think that's key for keeping the lines of communication open!