Wednesday, January 23, 2008

So I might get a little political....

If you are pro-life and offended by people who are not, you might want to click on any one of the links to the right hand side of my blog now. Well, except for Yondalla and Dawn, who blogged for choice yesterday.

I am a potential adoptive parent and I am prochoice. People have actually asked me how that's possible, and I'm not really sure I understand the question. Do I want to adopt a baby? Absolutely. Do I want to adopt a baby that a woman was forced to carry for nine months and deliver, then relinquish, because she didn't have access to a safe medical procedure that she elected to have? Absolutely not.

Abortion is a critical issue for me, because of what it says about womens as agents. To be honest, what infuriates me most about the abortion debate is that the underlying message is that women can't be trusted to make reasonable decisions about their own lives and their own bodies. That's why I've been particularly annoyed as of late to see anti-abortion messages about how limiting access to abortion is about protecting women.

I can see how people might have a moral objection to abortion. But when the debate shifts from a genuine disagreement about a moral issue to saving women from themselves by preventing them from from making decisions they don't understand the consequences of, well that really sets me off. Because it assumes that most women who have abortions do so without thinking about it, without any pain or deliberation.

And now, thanks to Broadsheet (which I love, love, love) I've come across a wildly interesting phenomenon called Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS, for short). You might initially think, as I did, that this refers to the anguish that some women feel about abortions they have had in the past. But no.

It's about the emotional trauma men feel when their partners / wives / significant others / one night stand partners have an abortion.

It seems that the anti-abortion movement is now co-opting the probably genuine suffering of these men to shift the focus of the issue. It's not just about the rights of the unborn, now we have to consider the potential suffering that might befall a woman who has an abortion AND the potential suffering of the man whose partner has an abortion. Broad sheet calls this shifting the pronoun - she (woman / mother) isn't having an abortion, they (woman and man / parents) are.

Honestly, I don't understand the controversy about the rights of men when it comes to abortion. I think this is because abortion for me is fundamentally about a woman's right to make her own choices. If men could have abortions then it would be about a man's right to make his own choices too, but they can't. The fact that women can have an abortion or can choose to be a parent, but a man can't, is a consequence of biology, not a political issue (at least for me).

Is it possible that a man might suffer as a result of his partner's decision to have an abortion? Sure. But it's possible for our partners to suffer about a lot of decisions that we make. Decisions to have affairs, decisions to quit jobs, decisions to buy big ticket, luxury items, decisions to leave the marriage. Even joint decisions about things can lead to regret...

But you know what? It's not the government's job to protect me (or my partner) from potential regret about choices that I make. And it's certainly not the government's job to tell me what I can and can't do with my body. It's not my partner's job, either, for that matter.

No matter how the event is (re)framed... we don't have an abortion. I do. So, ultimately, it's my choice.


Dawn said...

You are (as the kids say on LiveJournal) teh awesome. (I don't know why they say this like this with the teh but they do. So there.)

Do we live near each other? Because Marley Greiner thinks we all do. :)

rae said...

i can totally understand how a partner/husband/boyfriend could be devastated by the loss of their child by the choice of the mother. it may be growing in the mother, but its still a piece of the other person. half of that other person. of course it would be devastating!!! i think abortion affects everyone involved....mother, aunt, uncle, grandparents, husband....its such a final choice. we obviously don't agree, which is fine....but as someone who just created life in a petrie dish and cried when 2 of them didn't survive the thaw...i think life begins at the moment of conception, and i can't imagine ever losing any of them. or the life i feel moving around inside of me right now.
many hugs to you,

Morgaine said...

I don't think I have ever posted on your blog (but I read all the time).

This is actually in response to rae (above): The difference between the children you made in a petri dish, and a unplanned pregnancy is just that, one is very much wanted and one is very much something that could be traumatic. Not only to the woman carrying the child, but also to the child, who may be born into not to great circumstances.

As a PAP myself, I do not want to adopt a child that someone was forced to carry a child that she wasn't prepared to carry, forced by people who don't know her, do not know her circumstances, and in no way could know what is best for her, and especially, could not know what is best for her child. Forced by people who probably couldn't even imagine what it is like to have to face an unwanted pregnancy.

I personally do not think others should place their choices (or what they would perceive to be their choices, as you really cannot know what you would do unless you are faced with that same exact situation) on other people. It is not fair, to anyone involved, but most especially to the child involved.

MommyNay said...

I am personally pro-life and politically pro-choice. I wont try and imagine or think about the plethora of reasons why one might choose to have an abortion, I assume there as as many situations as women. I personally(politically?)feel that by making abortion illegal all we will accomplish is making abortion unsafe. Personally I agree with Rae, but like I said on a personal/emotional level.

Kathryn said...

I found you - and am so with you!

Nikki said...

It's not that women shouldn't have a choice, I believe they do have many choices (partner, time of day and month, birth control method, how far to go...). But what about the unborn child's choice?

Yes Mommy, please allow me to live right up until the part where I am about to draw my first breath of air and see your beautiful face for the first time, but then poke a needle in my neck and inject me with poison to kill me; then don't watch them throw me in the trash so that you can go on with your life and won't be inconvenienced by me.

It frustrates me that one person's choice dictates another person's death. Choice = murder.
Yes, rape is different and could be handled differently.

Jeff and Michelle said...

I fully agree with what Nikki said. I am not sure how anyone can justify an abortion. Why is it that women feel that they have a right to kill a child growing inside them because they don't want anyone telling them what they can and can't do with their body? I cannot tell you how many people I know that have had abortions and they are haunted by this decision all the time. It's sad to me that so many in our culture think abortion is just another option for them, and many of them don't have any idea how they will feel afterward, and how they may have issues and pain for many years to come. I also do know men who are in so much pain over it as well. Another thing I cannot comprehend is how any Dr. could perform such a procedure. There is also a lot of information out there about how unsafe abortions really are. People I know have told me that immediately after an abortion they knew deep down somewhere in their soul, that what they did was end the life of a child for their own convenience. It's very sad for them, and for the child that was killed before ever being born.