Today, I feel ambitious enough to tackle a heavy-hitting subject. Normally I don’t write about the stereotypical hot-button issues because not because they’re polarizing (I’ve never been afraid of a scholarly debate) but because they’ve become cliché issues. But hey…it’s Sunday, my partner and cats are sleeping and my “tia loca” is watching cute Facebook-embedded YouTube videos on the other computer next to me, so what the hell.
Through the years, I’ve flip-flopped back and forth on this issue more than I care to consider, but maybe that’s a good sign, one that means I’m willing to update my opinion frequently as I learn, grow, evolve, and collect new information.
Through my teen years, I was staunchly pro-choice. I could not wrap my head around the idea that two souls could occupy one body at the same time. I also had a fierce determination to hang onto complete control over my own body without the interference from bureaucrats, mostly privileged males, who would never have to worry about finding themselves impregnated by a rapist and thus would never walk in my potential shoes. (No, I’ve never been raped, but as a female, I do live with the daily possibility of becoming a victim.)
And last but not least, I noticed that most of the pro-life/anti-abortion advocates had a vested interest in maintaining their stance: building their religion, constituency, or business by maximizing birth rates. The Vatican, certain businesses, and support for various government programs all make out like a bandit the more babies are born. For these reasons, I could not take the pro-life movement seriously for a long time.
Then something changed.
I don’t remember what the catalyst was for me, but I do know that it started as a slow chiseling away of my former stance. I remember studying Biology, namely cell division, and later, Embryology (the conception and growth of a zygote into a fetus). I remember realizing that as soon as an egg and sperm come together, an entire infinitely complex chain of events begins, self-driven with no human intervention or direction from outside, and a new life is created. Individual cells form and replicate in absolute precision and perfection (most of the time), seeming to know exactly what to do.
I could not (and still can’t) surmise the point in time in which the individual soul enters the newly-formed body, but I could say that if we found a developing organism–or even a single cell–on another planet, we would indeed call it “life”.
And then I began reading reports that fetuses feel pain when aborted. Some of those websites have some mighty gruesome pictures, too. Thus began a new definition of pro-choice: the choice to keep your pants up until you’re ready to accept responsibility for the potential consequences. My motto became: “you made your bed; lie in it.”
And then something changed again.
This time, the catalyst itself was the slow chisel away at prior beliefs. This time, I was reading an internet forum devoted to child-free people who rant anonymously about the unabashedly pro-child (and pro-parent) world. Women who absolutely did not want children will try every method of birth control to avoid getting pregnant.
However, when their method fails despite proper application, they panic. They’re aware of the stories of childbirth that occur even today–injury, disfigurement, disability, and even death. They don’t believe that carrying the unwanted pregnancy to term is worth the risk. They also point out that the same people who defend the right to life cease to give a shit about that fetus the minute s/he is born (i.e. GOP pro-life stance followed by welfare cuts and refusal to imply parents in suspicious infant deaths). They point out that unwanted fetuses/unplanned pregnancies carried to term result in abused and neglected children, and they claim that it might’ve actually been more humane to vacuum the fetus out, rather than subject him or her to a lifetime of abuse, neglect, under-achievement, poverty, and all the rest.
I’m now in that camp…it’s actually more humane and less karma to cut a horrible life short than to prolong it. I’m in that camp for several reasons, that being the first one but not the only.
Other reasons include environmental and economic concerns (limited resources are already overstretched), taxpayer concerns (welfare roles keep growing with no check or balance), and also the fact that women who know they don’t want children still, in 2013, cannot obtain a tubal ligation unless they meet ever-tougher criteria (i.e. they’re pushing 40, 45, 50, an age that keeps creeping up, or they’ve already had an obligatory two children).
Yes, that’s right–while a man can walk into any office and have a vasectomy, most doctors will not sterilize a female unless she fits the model because they cannot trust that she won’t “change her mind” later.
Now, truth be told…those doctors are right–about 20% of the time. And it’s that 20% of flakehead females who come down with a sudden case of Baby Rabies and want a kid now who, in their screaming and crying and regretting and threatening to sue the tube-tying doctor to anyone who will listen, that ruin it for the rest of us. You know, the 80% of the child-free women who quietly go on about their daily lives with no reason to make a stink and yet cannot release themselves from the chains of a threat of pregnancy until they’re practically past menopause (another phenomenon that is creeping into later and later life). Should they get pregnant despite their best efforts, these women have no other palatable choice but to terminate a pregnancy.
And I think they should retain that right.
I’m not a fan of abortion. Most people aren’t. If worse comes to worst, they’re going to use it as a last resort. I don’t like the idea of going against nature and taking a fetus out of a womb, arresting the wonder and miracle that is life (and life itself is indeed a miracle, whether it’s trees, humans, or cockroaches).
But I also don’t like the idea that a perfectly intelligent human being is not trusted to make her own decision about her own body, a casing she’s going to live in for her entire life. I have a problem with outside strangers telling someone they don’t know and don’t care about what she can and cannot do–and these outsiders would not have to live with the after-effects of her decision or lack of power thereof; she would.
Therefore, I am once again, pro-choice. The End.