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Tag Archives: pro-choice
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
Click to access 1472-6874-13-29.pdf
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:
I’m pro-choice. I have many reasons for being pro-choice. For one, there are 7 billion people on this planet. It’s over populated. Adding more mouths to feed just increases the number of people who will suffer from starvation. For another, many of the people who get abortions do so because they cannot afford a child. Children are expensive. They also take up a lot of a person’s time. Is it really better for a person to have to work two or three jobs so that they can afford a child, who they do not spend enough time with to actually raise, than it is for them to have an abortion? Many people will argue that the child should be put up for adoption instead. There are a lot of children waiting to be adopted. Most of them will never be adopted. Why add more children to an already overloaded system? We need to find loving homes for the existing children before we throw more children into an endless cycle of living with someone for a few months only to be taken away to live with someone else for a few months. This cycle causes sever mental and emotional damage to children. I would not want my child to suffer that fate.
People also get abortions because there is a problem with the pregnancy. The people who go through an abortion for that reason usually wanted to keep the child but can’t because the fetus either won’t live or the mother could die, or both. They are usually already emotional as it is. They are devastated and have no choice. Telling them that they should feel ashamed for having an abortion, telling them that they should give birth to a baby that they then must watch die, telling them that they should allow themselves to die, is cruel and immoral.
Those are my biggest reasons for being pro-choice from the stand point of what an abortion is. But I also have reasons for being pro-choice that pertain to the anti-choice (pro-life) movement. For one, they are not very pro-life. They do not care about life as much as they care about birth. Too many anti-choicers support war, are unwilling to help end hunger, support the gun lobby, and aren’t willing to adopt those children who need families. They don’t do anything that shows that they want to improve life for anyone who is already living. If you’re pro-life, then you should be as concerned about ending violent crime, homelessness, hunger, and poverty and you should be trying to improve health care and education. There are many ways to be pro-life that don’t involve being anti-choice.
For another, many anti-choicers would condemn women for their decisions, or even for situations outside of their control. It is a woman’s choice if she wants to have sex. I woman should not be made to feel bad because she has a sexuality. It is normal, natural, and perfectly fine. And consenting to sex is not consenting to pregnancy. Sex is just as much about having a good time, if not more, as it is about reproduction. If reproduction was the only reason for having sex, then we’d only get horny when the woman is fertile. And we have contraceptives to keep pregnancy from occurring. However, contraceptives aren’t perfect, and pregnancy can happen even with the use of contraceptives. Anyone using contraception is decidedly not consenting to pregnancy. They should not have to remain pregnant if they do not want to.
A woman who has been raped should definitely not be shamed for her rape. She should not be asked what she was wearing, she should not be told she was asking for it, she should not be called a slut, and she should not be made to keep her rapist’s child. She has a right to her body. That right was already violated once. It should not be violated again. Most anti-choicers are fine with abortion in the case of rape (or health risk), but the ones who aren’t are willing to take lives by forcing to remain pregnant. These women have already lived. They have already had an impact on society. They work, they go to school, they pay taxes, they have friends and loved ones. Their lives are worth more than the fetuses. Nobody should feel that they have the right to make the woman feel otherwise.
For all of these reasons, I am pro-choice.
I found out almost two weeks ago that I was five weeks pregnant. My partner and I, as university students, were actively trying to avoid having children by using birth control. We have one more year of university left and would have risked having to put our education aside temporarily in order to deal with the pregnancy and the infants first year. Instead of risking our own futures we decided to terminate the pregnancy. We feel as though any future offspring that we have will benefit from our having completed our education. I went in to the abortion clinic on Monday to begin the process.
I chose to have a medical abortion. That means that the doctor at the clinic gave me a shot to stop the fetus from growing, then I was given medication to open my uterus so that the fetus would be flushed out of my system before it could cause an infection. Basically, I had a miscarriage. The process has taken all week. I only just aborted the fetus today. This week has been tough on me because of the abortion: I basically had the flu for a week. The medication is tough on the body. It made me nauseous and tired. I barely ate, I slept a lot, and I did little activity throughout the day. I wouldn’t suggest this method for any woman who cannot afford to take the week off.
I am writing about this for a few reasons. First, every year the Genocide Awareness Project people come to my university twice, once in fall and once in winter. I want to say that my abortion looked nothing like what they show in their pictures, nor would it have had I chosen a surgical abortion. I was six weeks pregnant when I went in for the abortion. My fetus was too small to see. There was just a blood clot. The same type of thing that most women see every period. At most, the fetus would have been 12 weeks when I had the abortion. That is because after 12 weeks I would need a doctors permission to abort. There either would have had to be something wrong with the fetus or there would have to be some health risk affecting me. That being said, if those pictures are GAP’s main argument as to why abortion is genocide then they are seriously misguided. The women getting abortion that look like that, where I live, aren’t getting them because they want to. They are getting them because they have to. And GAP is causing those women undo harm by calling them murderers.
Second, recently there has been a push among some in the secular community to become pro-life. Secular Pro-Life argues that abortion is murder and that fetuses deserve human rights. Here’s the problem: my fetus hasn’t lived. It hasn’t thought any thoughts or participated in any aspect of society. It hasn’t contributed anything. My partner and I have. We vote, we volunteer, we work, we are getting our education. If the fetus had stayed inside of me, I would have continued to have morning sickness, which would have affected my ability to participate in societal life. I would have been unable to attend my fall semester at school, and the winter semester would have been difficult to attend. That would mean waiting an extra year to graduate. I wouldn’t be working or volunteering either. Not only would the fetus not be participating in society, neither would I. Sure, the fetus was human. But do it’s rights outweigh mine? Does it get to negatively affect my life because it has rights too? After all, I was trying not to have a baby. I also don’t think that abortion can be called murder. If a famous violinist is going to die, but they are attached to me when I am unaware, have I murdered that violinist by making the doctors detach the violinist? The violinist case is a well-known case that shows that abortion isn’t murder, since I never agreed to play host to the fetus and be its life support.
I know that abortion is a touchy subject for a lot of people. But I think that it is well past time that we discuss it. Too many women find themselves scared and confused in the face of an unwanted pregnancy. Many are guilted into raising babies that they cannot afford or that they never wanted because people tell them that they must. But that puts a burden on all of society, not just the mother in question. How many more people would be educated and self-sufficient if they weren’t forced to put their lives aside to raise a child? How many less children would be abused if all children were wanted? I think that these are very important questions that need to be considered before anybody judges a woman for having an abortion.
My partner and I have had a rough year. We are both university students at the end of our degrees. University is tough enough as it is. What with a full time course load and papers to write and tests to study for. We also volunteer. But it seems as though we get hit with one bomb shell after another. Just when our lives have finally settled down we get yet another bomb shell dropped on us.
Don’t get me wrong: we are extremely lucky. We have been together for over a year and our relationship is as strong as ever. We have been able to move into a place of our own and have enough money saved up so that we do not have to work while we are going to school. I wish everybody could be so lucky. But dealing with stressful situations, especially the ones that nobody expects to deal with so young, can make it impossible to see the bright side.
After dealing with a series of deaths, having to move multiple times until finally being allowed to settle down, and having to fight to move into our place, we really just want to finish school and enter the so-called ‘real world.’ But now we have another problem: despite actively trying to prevent this very thing, I have discovered that I am pregnant. It’s not what we wanted, and it’s not what we needed, and now I am very conflicted.
My partner and I are both pro-choice. We believe that abortion is a perfectly acceptable action if that is what the pregnant woman feels is best. My partner believes that an abortion is the best option for us. We are still in school and we want to travel. I’m not so sure. Yes, having the baby will make school more difficult, but we both only have one year left. Travelling will be harder, but I want to make it work anyway. I want to give my children the opportunity to see the world and experience different cultures. We already plan to get married after we graduate and we have not only decided that we want kids, but we have already decided how many kids we want and that we want to adopt as well as have our own. Deciding to have an abortion when you know that you want kids is very difficult. It feels like a waste. I can see the merits of both sides and that is what is making me so conflicted. One the one hand, my life would be much easier if I had the abortion and waited a few years to have kids. On the other hand, I have a kid already in the making.
I have been going through periods of depression as a result of the pregnancy because I don’t know what the best option is. I have a feeling that whatever I choose will cause me periods of regret, and I think that I might feel as though I made the wrong decision either way.
I can’t help but feel that my decision is being forced by an unfair system. I am five weeks along. I have until week 7 to do a medical abortion and week 12 to do surgical abortion. That means that my decision making process is rushed. I had to schedule the abortion before I had time to think about whether or not I actually wanted one. Now the abortion is set up and I am trying to decide if I actually want to go through with it. I have until Monday to decide. How can anybody decide that they are ready to be a parent in a week? I wish I knew what to do, but I know that I have a tough decision either way and neither option is one that I would have chosen given the choice.