Not long ago I was indulging in my monthly episode of snarfling down glossy fashion magazines while getting my hair done. It’s a lovely, femmy thing to do. I read, I marinate, my stylist talks to me if I’m feeling chatty but leaves me alone if I don’t. Also, there is the shampoo massage. Women of the world. Hear me when I say that massaging of the scalp and of the forearms is so vastly underrated as to deserve it’s own nonprofit organization for the education and rubbing of the masses. And if you can afford a stylist that will give you a good shampoo massage, never let him go, nay, even unto the end of time.
So anyway, I was reading away and came across a short article — more of a sidebar, really — about the abortion debate. The article didn’t take a particular stance. It was just a series of tips for talking to friends who have opposite points of view. And as it happens, I do have a number of friends who think very differently from me on this issue, and the other day one of them posted a long entry about it on his blog. I got kind of upset when I read it because, as usual, I put myself right in the position of his other friend with the unplanned pregnancy.
I was originally just going to write one comment and leave it at that, but the sidebar prompted me to change my idea. It was the part that said: “Realize the debate is worth it . . . if you never talk, there will never be any progress.”
So I came up with this:
Dear T- As you’ve probably figured out by now, I am firmly pro choice. I won’t list my reasons, but what I will do is tell you how it makes me feel when I hear anti-abortion rhetoric and when I read your post a few days ago.
My feeling is that by making the case for abortion being wrong, wrong, wrong, political and social conservatives are infringing on my rights as a sentient human being in favor of a little cluster of tissue that might, at some point, develop into a person. Not something that is a person, something that won’t grow into a person without me. To my mind, this makes me more important. But the social and political conservatives don’t see it that way.
Let me expand on that. Since an embryo or a fetus needs a mother to carry it, it is illogical and immoral to choose its welfare over that of mother — a living, feeling, thinking human being who has been on Earth at least long enough to become fertile and get pregnant.
Let’s say you’re young — maybe just a teenager. You’ve messed up by having an unplanned pregnancy. Or maybe you were raped, or you were abused, or you’re a prostitute, or you’re mentally ill, or you’re a junkie, or you’re dirt poor, or there’s a war in your area, or you’re still in school, or you’ve got to support your family, or you have serious health problems that you know will be genetically passed on to your child. And the church and the state and all the people around you are saying you are immoral and actually evil for wanting to get rid of a little clump of tissue that will most likely cause you enormous trouble down the road.
Think of how you would feel. Everything you are in the world, everything you’ve accomplished, or dream you can accomplish — it’s all considered nothing next to this little cluster of cells that by itself is nothing without you! You — a real person who has maybe already overcome a lot of obstacles in your life. No, you are considered _less than a little spot of flesh_ to pro-lifers.
And furthermore, after your baby is born you may well be worse off than you started. Because the people who protest and bar entrance to clinics and run those “pregnancy counseling” lines which are only there to make sure young women don’t consider abortion probably won’t want to help you after your baby is born. Those comfortable, happy people who have extended social networks, good jobs, and time to protest aren’t going to say “here little dirty, bedraggled, lost female, come live with us for five years or so. We’ll see you through the difficult times of pregnancy and raising a baby and afterwards you and your child will be strong, proud, respected members of our community. ”
And that’s what always kicks me in the gut. All these people all over the world are trying to tell me that it’s immoral and wrong to make decisions in my own best interests, but they’re not going to help me if I end up having the kid. In fact they may even shun me for it. Slut. Whore. Unwed mother.
Let me put it another way. I’m adopted. My biological mother was forced to “go away” once she got big and have me in secret because her family was religious. I’ve talked to her on the phone and written her letters and have realized that being forced to have me and then give me up probably messed her up real good. This woman is in her 50s now and she is *still* conflicted about what happened when she was not quite 18 because she wasn’t able to make her own choice.
My life is amazing. I cherish it. But I’m just one human being in a world of billions. And my life isn’t really worth that much on such a grand scale.
So what I’m saying is this. Even though I’ve got health, vitality, fancy degrees, and the abilities to think and feel and imagine God and even to worship God in my own strange way — all of these things are worth _less_ than my biological mother’s ability to choose.
Featured image: Caller.com