But here we are in America: a Presidential election year, nimrods going on TV spewing all manner of misinformation about how a woman's fundamental biology works, and a Republican platform which includes language to ban abortion outright. No exceptions. And I'm worried.
Just so you know where I'm coming from, let me share a few of my personal views.
I am not "pro-abortion." I am pro-choice and there is a SIGNIFICANT difference between the two. I have two healthy children, and four miscarriages to report. I fully and completely understand the sacred nature of human life. But I also believe that I never once walk in another woman's shoes. And I also believe that it is an exceedingly small number of women who take abortion lightly. I do not believe that there are many women who consider that day a happy and lighthearted moment in their lives. Therefore I side with the notion that abortions should be safe and legal for any woman who decides that it is her only option.
I believe that women have been aborting pregnancies since women started having pregnancies. The first recorded abortion took place in 1550 BC and in ancient Greece and Rome, abortions were common and accepted. Women have always known which herbs will induce a miscarriage throughout all of history. The point is that making abortions illegal won't stop abortions any more than making firearms in movie theaters illegal has stopped people from shooting them up, or making heroin illegal has stopped people from doing heroin. When people want or need something that isn't legally protected, they typically find a way to get it. And in the case of abortion this means that women and babies will die. That's historic fact.
According to Guttmacher.org abortion rates have been on a steady decline. Here's a picture.
|In 1973, the incidence of LEGAL abortion was was brand new. So don't be throwing that around.|
This graph makes clear that women aren't out there getting abortions like they're Starbucks Refreshers. Contrary to what many on the "life" side will say, abortion is a serious issue to almost any woman who is faced with the possibility of having one. Women who need/want abortions aren't craven monsters. They're women.
The problem I have with the Republican platform seeking to shut down abortions is this: it has been decided twice (once in 1973 during Roe v Wade and again in 1992 during Planned Parenthood v Casey) that women should have the right to control their own bodies. Up to the age of viability, the contents of a woman's uterus are private to her. And it seems rather ironic that the prime directive and tagline "Nanny State" is thrown around with such abandon by Republican Conservatives when it comes to money choices, taxes, healthcare...but not when it comes to the actual control over the insides of a woman's body. The Federal government, according to the Republican platform, would be in charge of what a woman may do with the contents of her uterus. If that's not "Nanny" then I really have no idea what is.
And honestly, I have a problem with the rape and incest exception. While it's fantastic in theory, it puts the burden of proof onto the woman or girl to prove that she's been the victim of a horrific crime. A crime fraught with emotional trauma, physical trauma, and shame in our society. Some girls and women need YEARS to process the nature of their ordeals and this is why rape and incest are two of the most under reported crimes. Forcing a 16 year old girl to prove that her father raped her so she can have an abortion is simply more than I can bear. She should just be able to have one.
I hate abortions. I hate that there are women who conceive babies and for whatever reason cannot give birth to them. I hate that women are still victimized by men who make babies in their bodies against their will. Mostly I hate that women are not considered full equals yet in this society; able to make their own decisions. We aren't revered and honored as we should be, for being smart and contributive partners.
As it turns out, women really have been living in a "Nanny State" all the time. We're working hard to get out from under that rule and make ALL of our own decisions. I do not need a man or woman in a government office to make decisions for me about what is inside my womb. Because I am the one living with that womb and it's about as personal as property can get.
So I guess it boils down to this: If you're against abortion, then please don't have one. If your God and moral code make even the thought of abortion an emotional landmine, then by all means work to create an environment where abortions aren't NECESSARY. But please don't attempt to understand any other woman's life or circumstance. Poverty, lack of education and limited access to affordable birth control have been the top contributing factors to unwanted pregnancies. Why not focus on giving girls the education and resources they need to prevent pregnancy, rather than simply tell them what to do after the fact? And then let go of the Federal regulation and microscopic management of the cells attached to lining of my endometrium.