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moriah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 11:57 AM
Original message
Why I am Pro-Choice
I am a woman. I consider myself a feminist -- in the spirit of the definition given by Rebecca West, because I do not feel that my gender should be objectified. Nor should any gender, but this one happens to be the one that I belong to so it's a bit more personal for me. No *person* should be objectified.

In recent discussions regarding Title X funding for family planning, the subject of abortion came up, and a man who I respect a great deal said something that really shocked me. He said he believed that if two people have sex and an unplanned pregnancy results, he was fine if both chose to abort. But if the man wanted to have the child and was willing to take complete legal responsibility for it, he felt a woman should be legally forced to continue the pregnancy.

From other things he said, he seemed to feel that this was an appropriate way to even the legal playing field for men regarding reproductive rights -- because if a woman chooses to continue a pregnancy that the man does not want her to continue, he has to pay child support and that is legally enforced. He said he also thought that should be ended as well -- that if the woman wanted to continue the pregnancy that he should have the right to sign away all of his rights and responsibilities to the child. That "it was only fair." This guy is also against EITC and many other assistance given to single parents.

This flabbergasted me.

Truly.

-----

I had an abortion. I chose not to nurture the life that grew inside of me.

I was not technically raped -- what happened was certainly not anything I would ever even consider pressing charges over. We were kids, early 20s. I'd just gotten out of a relationship and went to an ex's house because I needed someone to talk to. Because I knew there was a possibility we might have sex, I brought a condom as I had stopped taking birth control pills (losing 70 lbs in the process -- they weren't right for my biology). I got very drunk. He did not. I did a lot of sobbing over my ex, and things got physical. I was willing to have sex with him that night. However, I was so intoxicated and in the moment I did not realize he was about to enter me until he started to do so.

I came out of my intoxication enough to likely shout "Not without a condom!" Because the last thing I wanted was unprotected sex! My dad at the time had HIV and he and I weren't steady partners anyway, who knows what he or I might have caught in the interim? And I certainly didn't want to get pregnant.

Before the last word was out of my mouth, he had ejaculated. I guess I scared it out of him. And I immediately started crying and panicking significantly. It wasn't that I was angry with him or felt he had done anything horrifically wrong to me, but "Oh fuck oh hell no oh no no no no no!!!!".

The Morning After Pill did not work. Thank goodness at the time I had a doctor that I trusted enough to call and she prescribed it over the phone -- this was before it was available behind the counter at select pharmacies. But it still didn't work.

The panic I felt at the time when I realized I was pregnant despite the MAP is indescribable. I had not consented to unprotected sex. While I did not place any blame on him -- he had not done anything out of malice, just stupidity -- I still felt like my body was violated, and that the life that had decided to attach itself to my uterine lining had done so without my consent. I had no ill-will toward it, but I did not consent to the activity that caused it to be created. I blamed myself horribly. If only I hadn't gotten drunk. If only I'd said something earlier. If only I'd just not gone over there that night. If only.

I had a myriad of reasons why I did not want to have a child at that time. I would have had to have gone on government assistance because I had just started a new job and would likely have been fired if I had to take maternity leave before FMLA kicked in at one year of employment (which given the timing I would have). Which would have meant I would have had to tell who the father was, and put him through having to financially support a child that he was not ready for either. Me and that guy getting married was not an option -- I knew then and know now that it would have ended horrifically and there were other reasons as well. When we'd dated before, he'd expressed the opinion that if there had been an unplanned pregnancy that he would want to abort. Even if I had chosen adoption, I would have lost my job, and if I had complications I would have been out a lot of money. I was on medications that could have caused harm to a child, and coming off of them could have harmed my own health. My mother at the time was going through a psychotic break, and my father was on disability with an extremely limited life expectancy at the time (he died in 2009). Both of my parents were only children -- I have no aunts, uncles, or first cousins.

Plus, it crossed my mind that there was always the possibility that it might have been the ex's and I'd thought I had a period that was really implantation bleeding. I didn't think that was the case, the period didn't seem abnormal or at the wrong time. But even then, most of the same stuff applied. In that case, the reason I went over to that guy's house crying was my more recent ex had said he had no desire to be friends with me, or have any contact with me, at all after our breakup, which had been initiated by him because he had fallen out of love... not his fault, it happens. We'd been having protected sex, and there I couldn't blame myself except for taking the risk of having sex, even protected, in the first place. Before we'd had sex, we'd discussed things and he'd said if there had been an unplanned pregnancy he would have wanted to abort. In that case, if he didn't even want to speak to me, how on earth could we parent together? I'd still have had to have dragged him to court for child support because I would have had to go on public assistance. He told me what his choice would have been, and had said point-blank that he never wanted to talk to me again. Ever. Maybe I pushed too hard to at least be friends since we hadn't done each other wrong. At that time I'd managed to be friends with all of my exes.

I'd always said I thought a woman had the right to choose before this. I knew what my decision was going to be. I knew who the most likely father was. I didn't have many other people to ask to take me to the clinic, and the guy knew there had been an instance of unprotected sex and I'd taken the MAP. I also hadn't yet gotten my first paycheck at the job I'd just started the week I took the pregnancy test.

I told him.

He asked me what I wanted. I'm not surprised if what crossed my mind crossed his mind then either. It had only been one time with us. But it only takes once.

I said I wanted to get an abortion, and that I was willing to pay for it all but needed to get enough money to do it, which I would have in a few weeks. But that I thought surgical abortion was safer and wanted to have it as soon as it was able to be done. I asked if he would be willing to take me and, since he did have a credit card if it came down to it (and I didn't), be willing to cover what part of the cost I couldn't afford when the doctor said I could have the procedure and I'd get him back for it.

He agreed. He was not a bad guy. It was a bad situation. I learned many lessons from it for myself. So did he. We are still friends.

-----

If it were the law that a woman had to have the consent of the person who impregnated her to abort, that bad situation would have been made infinitely worse. I would have had to give details of my sexual history to a third party and have that placed in records that could not be private if a legal case could be made from them. I would have had to have dragged the guy who said he never wanted to see me again up to have him sign the waiver to allow it to be done (and it'd probably have to be notarized, right?) if ultrasound dating determined that what I thought was a period wasn't.

And if one of them had wanted to parent the child? Like the guy who said he wanted nothing to do with me? No choice at all. I would have had to lose my job at the very least, and if I am going to be forced to nurture a life im my womb against my will then by all that is holy I would never sign away any right I had to that life to anyone. If I had been in a position to choose adoption -- not where it would have been guaranteed to cost me my job, damage my health or the child's or both, and had no family capable of supporting me through it -- I would likely have chosen parenthood.

If it had been possible, I would have gladly chosen to have that life that chose to attach to my uterus transplanted to another uterus or an artificial one and let it have a chance at life. And if the father wanted first dibs at who got to adopt a baby, whether or not it was nurtured in the original womb? Sure. Adoption is a beautiful choice. But no woman should be forced to be an incubator against their will simply because they were willing to have sex.

It cheapens the sacrifice that mothers who choose adoption make. It cheapens motherhood and parenthood in general. It cheapens the sacrifice my mother was willing to make for me when she chose to keep me in the first place -- the fact that it was possible she might be put in a life-or-death situation because she allowed me to grow inside her. And she was -- in 1980 vasa previa with marginal placenta previa that went undetected until labor was *very* bad news. Even then, when I was a fully functional little being who just needed to get out of her womb, she had the choice over whether her life was the priority or mine. She chose mine. We both had to have blood transfusions and both nearly died.

When people talk about the rights of the unborn.... I think about my mom. Did I have the right, as a little blastocyst, to implant myself in her womb and suck life from her flesh? Just because a sperm and egg combined that turned into me, did I have the right to put her life in jeopardy? Does anyone have the right to *demand* biological sacrifice from another living thinking being to ensure their own survival? Would I have the right to *demand* my mother or father's kidney if it had been a suitable match and both of my kidneys failed, just because I was their child? Should either of them have had the right to take each other to court to force the other donate a kidney to me if the one pressing the case couldn't?

I don't believe I did. I am grateful to my mother beyond belief for the sacrifice she made for me, but it was by her CHOICE.

-----

Of course I still have regrets. I still wish I'd never gone over to that guy's house that night. I refuse to have sex if I've even had a glass of wine because drunk sex is less likely to be safe sex. I have a new sexual partner after a very long time as a single, and because of birth control pills not liking me very much, I'm getting an IUD inserted in the next month. The person I'm seeing is aware of my past abortion, that right now I'm in a position where giving birth would not cause me to have to go on government assistance and I'm off of the medication that I required at the time for my health. He understands I would want to keep any child and that if he wanted to be involved in that child's life I would let him, but I wouldn't have to drag him to court for child support... it would be his choice if he wanted to support that child financially.

It was one of the worst experiences of my life. But I believe I made the right choice.

I believe I had the right to make that choice.

I don't believe anyone else has the right to decide for another living being that they will be *forced* to nurture another life from their own body.

I understand fundamentalists and their dislike for abortion. They believe that life is sacred and that by having sex you are making the choice to accept that life in the first place. I respect their affirmation of life as being a beautiful thing. I can't understand someone who thinks that they have the right to force another to bear their child just because they weren't born with a uterus too but doesn't think abortion itself is morally wrong.

And I wish that we could all put all of the money spent lobbying for and against abortion to figuring out a way to transplant an embryo that has already implanted in the uterus into either an artificial womb or the womb of another woman who wants a child so badly they can't stand it but can't have one themselves. Would fundamentalists who believe that every life is sacred agree to allow women who have already made the choice to abort to allow their child a small chance of life by trying to make the transplant?

Would people who are as flabbergasting to me as this person who I really did respect agree to such an arrangement?
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 11:57 AM
Response to Original message
1. K&R
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jemelanson Donating Member (254 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
2. That is a very personal decision. It should be made with the help of
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 12:14 PM by jemelanson
Doctor. I know that I am not wise enough to make that decision for any other person. I do not think that anyone can make that decision for anyone else. Only you know what is going on in your life, what you situation is, and what your health is. No one, not the Senate, not the House, not the Supreme Count court, not some holier than thou religious whack job or anyone else is wise enough to make that decision for another person.

JMHO


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ejpoeta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:18 PM
Response to Original message
3. i am sorry you had to make that decision but I believe that you should have had the right
to make that decision for yourself. even if a guy WANTS to have the kid he isn't the one that has to go through nine months of pregnancy. So he should not be able to force a woman to go through with it. Imagine if you will a boyfriend who wants kids while the girl doesn't. he could do something to a condom to compromise it. Think of controlling men who want to keep a girlfriend. Then he could force her to have the child. If you are in a good stable relationship, I think that you would have that conversation maybe and make that decision together. But ultimately it must be the woman's right.

Yes there are those whose religion says abortion is bad. No one is forcing them to have an abortion. Not everyone believes their religion. So they can NOT have one and leave the rest of us to make our choice for ourselves. I chose to have my now 12 year old. but i was in a stable relationship. We are married with three kids now. And after this third one, which i was pissed about when I got pregnant, I told my husband that we needed to prevent this from happening again. I do not want any more kids. I am 38 years old. I am done. I went and got something put in that lasts five years. I don't want to have to make that decision. But it should be MY decision to make.

Children should not be a punishment. IT seems there are those that have that mentality. I would hate to be the child who is considered a punishment. First and foremost should be to be able to prevent pregnancy if you don't want to be pregnant. Through birth control pills, condoms..... these should be available and people should be educated about it. Secondly would be the day after pill just in case. and lastly rare but necessarily available to women who are pregnant and do not want to have a child. It must be available. No one does these things lightly. though there are those that think that apparently women should be treated like children and not given the respect to be able to know what they are doing and to make that choice for themselves. Period. end of discussion.
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Snoutport Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
4. Thank you for sharing.
Us guys don't always understand how deeply difficult an abortion is. I appreciate your candor-it helped put things in perspective for me.
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
5. I'm pro-choice because I'm anti-slavery. k&r
I also think that the pro-preggers use pregnancy as punishment for naughty women who enjoy sex. Women are reduced to either a) Good girls who close their eyes, grit their teeth, and do it to "fulfill" themselves and have babies b) Bad girls who do it because they like it, or c) Idiots who can't say no to evil seducers.

It is the ideal of the virgin as the pure and sacred vessel for the even more sacred seed of the male.

That the sacred seed might be wasted is unthinkable. And, that the vessel should willingly "waste" it is blasphemous.

Men, (I am one), are reduced to ravening (but helpless) beasts who can't control themselves.
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ehrnst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
6. I'm pro-choice because I respect and revere childbearing as a sacred act
Not a duty, obligation or behavior modification tool.

I respect marriage, so would never condone forced marriage.

I respect lovemaking, so I would never condone rape.

I would never condone forced childbearing or abortion out of that same respect.
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BadgerKid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:12 PM
Response to Original message
7. Thanks. This just reaffirms my support
for abortions services being legal.
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solara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
8. Thank you for sharing your story..
Pro-choice does not mean anti-life. It means choice.

The Regressives who say time and time again that they want 'less government' in their lives are also the first in line to demand that the government control women and what they do with their bodies - even to the point of treating women like they were criminals if they have a miscarriage - :wtf:
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JohnnyRingo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
9. My mother inspired my political standing as I grew up
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 01:24 PM by JohnnyRingo
She was very well read in her day, and would hand off the sports section to my dad while she pored over every other section. She subscribed to as many magazines as we could afford and probably knew as much about the world around her as any housewife of the '60s. She was a staunch democrat all her life, and even paid extra to own a Kirby so there'd be no Hoover in our home. A strong liberal woman, she did somewhat more than influence my dad's activity in the voting booth.

I'll never forget the day I got off the bus after grade school one day and entered the house to find my mother sobbing uncontrollably at the kitchen table. Fearing a family disaster I carefully approached her and asked what was wrong.

She showed me an article in the newspaper about a botched back alley abortion that cost a young local woman her life the night before. My mother spoke frankly as an adult to me, as she always seemed to, and after describing the macabre coat hanger procedure, expressed her opinion that the butchery of illegal abortions had to end. She went on to blame every republican she could think of for preventing legalization of what she expressed should be a safe medical procedure.

I think she may have blamed President Johnson as well, but I don't recall. She never excused him for taking that oath of office on the plane as Kennedy's widow stood bloodied beside him. She was also firmly against "his war".
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 06:15 AM
Response to Reply #9
18. Oh, my! Remember "Hoover sucks"?
I'm glad that you so cherish this truly remarkable woman. We meed these stories like we need water.
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truebrit71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
10. I am pro-choice because I am a man. If men got pregnant choice would be in the Bill of Rights.
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 01:26 PM by truebrit71
Men have no place dictating to women what they can and cannot do with their reproductive system, anymore than woman should about men.

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JoeyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
11. I'm pro-choice because I believe in absolute bodily autonomy.
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 01:47 PM by JoeyT
Same reason I'm pro-a bunch of other stuff.

They believe that life is sacred and that by having sex you are making the choice to accept that life in the first place.

No they don't. If they did they'd be involved in anti-war and anti-death penalty activism too. They'd also be pro preventative birth control. They'd be fighting for programs that feed, clothe, and house the poor. They'd be liberals that don't believe in abortions, in other words. Virtually none of them are. They just think women aren't really fully human and need to learn their place.

I realize that paragraph isn't nice, but I don't really feel the need to be nice to a group of people that think the only purpose of half of humanity is portable baby incubators.
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
12. Yes. What you said.
Excellent post - you said it better than I could have even dreamed to say
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kick-ass-bob Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
13. I am pro-choice because you shouldn't have to
feel the need to explain yourself. To ANYONE.
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miscsoc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:02 PM
Response to Original message
14. i know this is slightly off topic but you said
Would I have the right to *demand* my mother or father's kidney if it had been a suitable match and both of my kidneys failed, just because I was their child?


I would sort of say...yes; of course you should have that right.
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moriah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. To demand it? Not to ask for it, but to demand they donate their kidney to me?
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 02:18 PM by moriah
For them to be legally required to donate it to me? To take them to court and force a judge to cut into their body and take part of it for myself?

I'm sorry, no. I honestly don't believe it is.

Most parents would make that choice gladly for their child if they could. Just like my mother made the choice to give birth to me in the first place. But it cheapens the gift of life given through organ donation -- and blood donation, and bone marrow donation, the other two living organs most commonly donated. I think I would have the right to ask. But they should have the right to say "No."

Just my opinion.

Edit to add: hopefully the judge wouldn't be the one cutting said kidney out of anyone, but you get what I meant... unless that judge was also a transplant doctor at least! ;)
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miscsoc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Yeah. I mean the parents are responsible for your very existence on this earth.
(I'm pro abortion, incidentally)

If I ever have a kid, and refuse him a kidney, strap me to the operating table and carve it out!

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moriah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. I guess I'm a strange person maybe ;)
I just don't think I have the right to force anyone else to make a biological sacrifice just for the continuation of my own, no matter who I might be asking. If someone chose to donate me a kidney, I'd be grateful for it... but I guess I just don't think I have the right to *expect* that kind of sacrifice from anyone. Just like I don't think I had the right to expect my mom to allow me to live in her uterus. To ask -- which my tiny self did by implanting. She said yes by keeping me.

In case you can't tell, I love my Mom. :)
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 06:23 AM
Response to Original message
19. Should a woman get the consent of her rapist to have an abortion?
People who can't fucking bother to understand all the aspects of how women get pregnant should shut the fuck up.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart for your OP. Yes. You have the right to make the decision regarding your body and your life.
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BlancheSplanchnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 11:08 AM
Response to Original message
20. Powerful story, and a great affirmation that Women's human rights MATTER.
K and R, a million times if I could.
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moriah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-16-11 05:51 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. All human rights matter.
That's one thing I don't want to get lost in this message. I've told my story a few times in the past, but it's still hard. This conversation came up near the anniversary of when I had the procedure, so maybe that's why it struck me so hard.

It's not fair that research has focused almost exclusively on the female reproductive system for family planning -- because men don't have access to highly effective reversible birth control that *they* control themselves too. Condoms are essential for disease prevention, but they are nowhere near as effective as birth control in a long-term relationship as things like the Pill or the other myriad of options for women. I am willing to bet money (and I'm not the betting type) that a male birth control pill would be a much bigger seller than Viagra.

I echo highly what someone here said about valuing lovemaking as being the reason they abhor rape. The difference between force and choice is the difference between objectifying and humanizing. Just as women are not incubators, men are not sperm donors or guaranteed financial support systems if you choose them to father your child. The person who I was speaking with had dealt with women who he felt saw him as those things. As a person who considers herself a feminist, I am ashamed of women who would objectify men in that matter... as much as I imagine the men here on DU are ashamed of the ones who objectify women. We should all be ashamed of those who would treat any person as less than a person.

--------

One other message I don't want lost is this -- the conversation that inspired this post originally started about Title X funding.

I am pro-choice, but not pro-abortion. I want it to be safe and legal, but above all rare. Planned Parenthood took a whole lot of flack recently and it stood as the face of what Title X was about... but it's not.

I found out that any woman can go for completely free STD testing (not just HIV but syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia too) at a local Title X funded crisis pregnancy center. They have to listen to an hour of counseling first about STDs (that likely emphasizes the fact that while condoms are the only protection aside from abstinence that they are far from perfect). When I last went to my county health unit, where the family planning unit is also funded by Title X, I sat nearly all day waiting to get a blood draw listening to lots of children who were with their parents to get shots and unhappy about being there. I'm not sure which is more effective as a method of making you ask for condoms on your way out, but all in all I think I would have been happy to have the hour of counseling instead. (Too bad the CPC only provides free testing to women.)

A lot more places would have lost funding than PP if what the Republicans tried to pull had succeeded.

And everyone, get tested. As I said, my dad died of AIDS less than two years ago. Get tested. Use protection. Talk to your partner about things before getting in the moment. Be smart. Please.
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