Monthly Archives: November 2014

My Problem With the Anti-Choice Movement


A few weeks ago I had a conversation with someone who considered themselves pro-life. During the conversation she accused women who have had abortions of killing their babies and said that teenagers who get pregnant are “sluts” and “whores.” Every time I see the anti-choice posters at my university I think about how problematic their movement is, but the conversation I had with this person has convinced me to post my concerns on my blog.

This persons words didn’t so much disturb me because of what she said: I have heard all of that before. The words were problematic, but I was more concerned with the fact that a 17 year old girl thought it appropriate to lay such charges against other women. 17 is about the average age when most people begin having sex. This girl has been taught that she should be ashamed of something that most people begin to do around her age. She feels the need to judge her peers for being normal. She feels the need to hide feelings that she probably experiences daily (she could be asexual or demisexual and not experience said feelings, but in all likelihood she does feel them). I can’t help but feel anger towards the culture that makes teenagers feel ashamed of their own sexuality.

And the anti-choice movement takes full advantage of this culture to shame those of us who have had abortions. When you hear the anti-choicers speak, they talk about how they are pro-women, and how they are simply trying to put an end to an immoral act. They talk about helping and supporting women. That language is problematic in that it ignores trans men who can and have had abortions, but it sounds good. It doesn’t seem problematic. But then you look at their signs. Those signs are very far from being pro-women. They are made to shame and condemn women.

anti-abortion2

Her blood is on your hands? That is how you choose to speak to someone who is already emotionally strained? You call this pro-woman? You call this support? This is using guilt to shame people out of a decision. Personally, I would never go to this woman with my issues because I wouldn’t trust her to be supportive. I could only assume that she would be judgmental and emotionally hurtful. If you want to help people, this is not how you do it.

anti-abortion3

This one has all sorts of judgement thrown in. “Abortion kills babies.” Definitionally, this is not true. If it’s in the womb it’s an embryo or a fetus. We don’t define them as “babies” until they are born. This is another guilt tactic. There is no real meaning behind the poster other than to redefine “baby” and “murder” in a way that suits the protestors interest. “Does your doctor kill babies?” Family doctors generally don’t perform abortions. This is an obvious attack on Planned Parenthood, since they are one of the few places that both perform abortions and offer health care to women. Being as they offer affordable care, and their patients often can’t afford to go else where, this is also an attack on low-income women. “Boycott doctors who kill.” And go where? “Stop the baby slashers.” Baby slashers? Really? These are all emotionally charged judgements. They are meant to shame people. One poster directly shames those who have had abortions by saying that they killed their babies. The rest shame the professionals who perform a necessary procedure.

anti-abortion

These posters are the worst of them. Rather than simply state why I don’t like them, here are some articles that go into detail about why they are misleading and wrong:
http://www.lifeandlibertyforwomen.org/truth_about_photos.htmlhttp://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/10/27/bloody-fetus-pictures-arent-persuasion-theyre-bullying/
http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/bible.shtml
http://www.thisismyabortion.com/
That last one showed a more accurate picture of a surgical abortion. Mine, which was performed at 6 weeks, was a medical abortion. It certainly did not look like the picture above. It looked like an early miscarriage. What does that look like? My period. My abortion looked like my period. There was no visible body parts, there was no obvious fetus or embryo. There was blood. Not even very much of it. It was a light, crampy period.

anti-abortion4

I find it odd that a largely religious group would use this set of pictures. The holocaust was a religious choice? If that were true, wouldn’t that be damning towards religion? Personally I would say it was the result of racism, not religion. I’d also say that racism was an excuse. They used the racism, which was very common at the time, to justify starting a war that was more of a power play than anything. Hitler wanted to prove to the world, including the German people, that they were still a force to be reckoned with. The second picture shows a white man lynching a black man. The American slave owners used the Bible to justify slavery. So, if the holocaust can be said to be caused by racism, the slave trade can be said to have been allowed because of religion. But I don’t see how it can be said to be a choice. Hitler chose to begin to kill the Jews, slavery wasn’t the result of one man’s (or person’s) choice. It was the result of a culture. I doubt that white man in the picture ever said “I think I’ll accept slavery now.” More likely he was raised into it. It’s unlikely a choice was involved. That doesn’t make what happened right, but it does make “choice” the wrong word to use. But again, this poster is all about shame.

The way the anti-choicers treat women who have had an abortion is wrong. They put up posters that publicly shame and humiliate. They tell people that they are murderers and that they are participating in a genocide. In some cases they encourage women to shame themselves by encouraging them to wear posters that say “I regret my abortion.” How is that any different from a parent making their child wear a sign that says “I am a thief”? How is it pro-women or supportive? Shame is not a good way to encourage anyone to stop an action, it is only effective at making people feel bad about who they are. Don’t believe me? Here’s my evidence:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-and-sex-in-the-digital-age/201401/guilt-good-shame-bad
http://www.gydoindy.com/7-differences-between-shame-and-guilt/
http://io9.com/whats-the-difference-between-guilt-and-shame-1605122600
http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/guilt-shame
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/01/04/anti-obesity-ads-won-t-work-by-telling-fat-kids-to-stop-being-fat.html
http://www.nbcnews.com/health/diet-fitness/fat-shaming-actually-increases-risk-becoming-or-staying-obese-new-f8C10751491
http://www.naturalchild.org/robin_grille/good_children.html
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201209/shaming-children-is-emotionally-abusive

Bottom line: the anti-choicers methods are not helpful when it comes to stopping abortions. They don’t convince people to not have abortions. They don’t support people who are trying to decide if they should have an abortion, or anyone who has already had an abortion. And they are not pro-woman.

If you would like some more sources in defense of the pro-choice side, or would just like to read into it a bit more, here are some articles that I think are great and well worth the read:
http://civilliberty.about.com/od/abortion/tp/abortionmyths.htm
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-seven-most-common-lies-about-abortion-20140226
http://jezebel.com/5454015/the-pro-life-movement-is-not-pro-woman-an-open-letter-to-sarah-palin
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/10/how-i-lost-faith-in-the-pro-life-movement.html
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/2411798.html
http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1472-6874-13-29.pdf
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/teen-abortion-judicial-bypass-parental-notification
http://1in10blog.wordpress.com/page/2/

Here’s another article I forgot to add. This one is about why anti-choicers are less likely to hear about abortion than pro-choicers: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/11/08/1342580/-If-you-oppose-abortion-there-may-be-something-your-friends-aren-t-telling-you#

Here are some more resources:
http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/10/20/adoption-universal-alternative-abortion-matter-anti-choicers-say/
http://www.73adoptee.com/2009/08/adoption-isnt-a-choice-for-everyone/
http://www.imnotsorry.net/faq-about-abortion/

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Why Criminalizing Abortions is a Horrible Idea, or Another Reason I’m Relieved I Live in Canada.


So I read this article today: Link

It has gems like the following:

Based on the belief that he had an obligation to give a fetus a chance for life, a judge in Washington, D.C., ordered a critically ill 27-year-old woman who was 26 weeks pregnant to undergo a cesarean section, which he understood might kill her. Neither the woman nor her baby survived.

In Iowa, a pregnant woman who fell down a flight of stairs was reported to the police after seeking help at a hospital. She was arrested for “attempted fetal homicide.”

In Utah, a woman gave birth to twins; one was stillborn. Health care providers believed that the stillbirth was the result of the woman’s decision to delay having a cesarean. She was arrested on charges of fetal homicide.

In Louisiana, a woman who went to the hospital for unexplained vaginal bleeding was locked up for over a year on charges of second-degree murder before medical records revealed she had suffered a miscarriage at 11 to 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Florida has had a number of such cases. In one, a woman was held prisoner at a hospital to prevent her from going home while she appeared to be experiencing a miscarriage. She was forced to undergo a cesarean. Neither the detention nor the surgery prevented the pregnancy loss, but they did keep this mother from caring for her two small children at home. While a state court later found the detention unlawful, the opinion suggested that if the hospital had taken her prisoner later in her pregnancy, its actions might have been permissible.

In another case, a woman who had been in labor at home was picked up by a sheriff, strapped down in the back of an ambulance, taken to a hospital, and forced to have a cesarean she did not want. When this mother later protested what had happened, a court concluded that the woman’s personal constitutional rights “clearly did not outweigh the interests of the State of Florida in preserving the life of the unborn child.”

Excerpt from an article by Lynn M. Paltrow and Jeanne Flavin

I suggest you read the whole article if your at all alarmed by this. If your not alarmed by this to some extent you should probably check your pulse, and if you do find your pulse you may want to get some help of the psychiatric variety.

Some of you many be asking what the hell is going on, and questioning the legitimacy of these claims. But the war on abortion is due to the nature of it’s goal has been and will continue to be a war a women right’s to their own bodies. Because at the end of the day you can talk about restricting abortions without saying that women have less right to controlling their body then does a fertilized zygote (or embryo, or eventually fetus. each having there own arguments associated with them) There is not way around that problem. But worse then just restricting abortion many state have basically criminalized them, leading to women literally dieing and being jailed.

Worse still many of these women where not having abortions, many don’t even now they where pregnant, some of these women are vehemently anti-abortion. All that need to happen for you to be jailed with many of these laws it having a pregnancy terminated or in risk of terminating, and you lose your right to bodily autonomy.

And because there is not good way of determining a miscarriage from most abortions these laws regardless of intention where doomed to succeed only in criminalizing female side of reproduction. Given miscarriages occur somewhere in over 20% of all pregnancies. Given how many women become pregnant in a year imagine if this becomes a problem through out the USA? Women might need to flee the country just to have children, or if they do have a miscarriage they will have to hide it, even if they are risking their life due to complications, because they might just get sent to jail!

Is it any wonder why they where calling these laws the war on women? I hope for the sake of women through the States that everyone reading this will spread the message, and help stop this atrocity before the anymore women are unjustly abused by this laws and policies. There has already been at least 380 of these cases, and the rates are only on the rise.

If you actually want to reduce the rates of abortions like most sensible people do. Then support sex education for children. The best way to stop abortions is to make sure pregnancies can happen unless they are wanted.

Withteeth


10 Reasons Why I Care What You Believe


*Keep in mind, I am not accusing anybody of actually holding these beliefs. These are if-then situations of reasons why I might care what you believe.*

1) Your beliefs affect me
If you believe that I’m immoral because I don’t share your religious convictions, then your behaviour towards me changes. It suddenly becomes okay to treat me as though you believe in ‘guilty until proven innocent.’ If you believe that my being female doesn’t affect how people treat me, then it becomes easier for you to ignore the incidences where I am treated as a second-class citizen simply because I am female. If you believe that my femaleness actually makes me a second-class citizen, then that makes it impossible for me to interact with you safely, especially if you are male, because suddenly my femaleness makes it okay to disregard my personhood. If you believe that my gender identity or sexuality are sicknesses, then that makes it easy for you to disregard my feelings as irrelevant. If your beliefs can have these effects on my life, then I have the right to care about what you believe.

2) Your beliefs affect the society I live in
If you believe that you have the right to pass laws based on your personal beliefs, then I care about what you believe. I care if you think you can destroy our planet because you personally don’t believe in climate change. I care if you want to waste millions of tax dollars because you believe the death penalty is a good thing, or we should send more soldiers into another conflict we can’t afford and don’t belong in, etc. I care if you want to destroy our education system or our healthcare. I care if you want to take away my right to choose because it’s not enough that you have the right to choose not too. This is my country too, so yes, I care what your beliefs are doing to it.

3) You have the power
If you’re Christian, then yours is the majority religion in my country. You have a degree of power as a Christian by holding a majority position, and due to the way people view you because yours is the majority position (ie. being a Christian makes you good). If you’re male you have a degree of power that I could never attain. You’re not part of a true majority, but males hold the majority of powerful positions in our society. Male have a privilege because our society views males as superior to females, even if everybody is not willing to accept that claim. If you’re heterosexual and cis, you get a power granted to you just by virtue of being ‘normal.’ In all these cases, I don’t have the power, and I have to fight just to gain some degree of equal status. I’m lucky enough to be white, so in that case I do have the power. I could choose to ignore the fact that anybody who is not white is at a disadvantage, but then I’d be doing them the same disservice that those who ignore their power over me do me. The power structure in our society makes it necessary for me to care what you believe when your beliefs make it possible for such power struggles to be ignored.

4) We are social beings
This goes back to number 2. Very few people live in a manner where they do not affect others. We are a social species. We rely heavily on each other. As such, it is important to care about the beliefs of others.

5) Your beliefs affect your words and actions
This goes back to 1 and 2. Again, we are a social species. It is impossible to not affect others with your words and actions. And it is your beliefs that inform your words and actions. If you believe that I’m a good person, then you’ll likely treat me kindly and trust me. But if you think I’m a bad person, the you’ll likely be distrustful of me and might even act aggressively towards me.

6) It makes it easier to empathize with you
I don’t only care about your beliefs if they can hurt me. I also care about them because I do not want to hurt you. If I don’t know what you believe, then I may hurt you unintentionally simply because I don’t know your motivations for doing something. If I know your beliefs, then I know your motivations, and if I know your motivations, I can understand you act the way you act.

7) I care about you
This isn’t to say I personally care about every individual on this planet. That’s not really possible, what with there being over 7 billion of us. Rather, I care about the human race in general, and I care about those in my society as a whole. But I also care about those I interact with. I care if they are good people who behave morally. Since their beliefs affect their morality, I must care what they believe. I care if their beliefs are harmful not only to me but also to others around me and to themself as well.

8) Your beliefs blatantly ignore reality
This also goes back to number 2. If your beliefs ignore reality, then you could try to implement social changes that also ignore reality, which is very harmful. For example, if you believe in creationism and want schools to teach creationism, then you lower the effectiveness of our science curriculum and cause our society as a whole to become less educated. The level of education of a society has been shown to have a major affect of the economic success of that society. We are all better off with a better educated society.

9) They genuinely interest me
Again, these aren’t all about negative affects. I actually care what others believe. I like talking religion with people so long as they are willing to be respectful.

10) And yes, I am angry because of your beliefs
Obviously not all beliefs make me angry. I don’t have enough time in the day for that. In fact, it is very specific beliefs that make me angry. Accusatory beliefs. If you tell me that I hate men because I’m a feminist, that makes me angry. Why? Because you are accusing me of a belief that I don’t hold simply because you aren’t willing to listen to what I actually have to say. The same goes for when you tell me my atheism makes me immoral, or when you say I killed my baby because I had an abortion. Your beliefs in those cases are causing you to accuse me of things that aren’t true, and they are very hurtful. So I care about your beliefs because I want to avoid that anger and pain.

Your beliefs are not held in a vacuum. If you hold a belief (and yes, we all in fact hold beliefs), then it affects those around you. This isn’t to say that beliefs are bad things, but we all need to keep in mind the power that our beliefs actually have.


What Do You Teach Your Kids About Religion?


I came across an article today about what people teach their kids about religion. So what are you (or will you) teaching your kids about religion?

I would like to teach my kids about the history and beliefs of the worlds major religions. I want them to know where the religions came from and when they were started, as well as the most prominent beliefs held by the religions followers. I want them to feel safe to talk about religion with their peers, and I want them to know about the possible beliefs that their peers may hold before they start school. I’d also like to teach them the religious myths from ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt as well as First Nations tribes. Possibly others as well, but it all depends on what we have time for. I loved hearing ancient myths as a kid, and I want my children to enjoy them as well.


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