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Have some controversy
A few people are posting on FB about abortion, since today is the anniversary of Roe vs Wade. It got me thinking about my own views on abortion, which are... complex.

I told my husband awhile ago that I am anti-abortion. He looked at me with surprise, and I elaborated, "But that is not the same as the political movement Pro Life."

Basically, I think it's a terrible idea, and I don't want one. I would discourage any friends from doing it to the best of my ability, but if I could not convince them, I would sadly support them. They are still my friends. Finally, I don't think it's any of the government's business. I suppose this officially makes me Pro Choice, but I don't feel pro-choice-with-capital letters. Pro choice feels dirty, and way too cavalier.

I like the bumper stickers that say "Choose Life." I think the debate should go away from legality and instead focus on what we can do to help these women who are at such desperate times in their lives. Provide them with as many viable options as possible, with abortion being available if nothing else is possible. We should also focus much more on preventing them from getting there in the first place (birth control).

Really what it comes down to is an agonizing wrench in my gut when I hear about an abortion, when there are so many people out there who long for children and cannot have them. I see people ranting on FB about "why force them to raise unwanted babies," and all I want to say is, "We're not, just give the baby to one of the many many couples out there who are desperate to adopt a baby, who want nothing more than to lavish it with love, sports equipment, music lessons, and good meals."

The issue breaks my heart. I wish there was some way to reallocate, and put all these unwanted babies into homes which want them. Or better still, but the unborn fetuses into bellies that want them. Wouldn't it be nice if it could be that easy?

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amanda_lodden From: amanda_lodden Date: January 23rd, 2014 05:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
The thing about Pro Choice (capital letters and all) is that it is about choice, not about "abort every infant ever!" What goes into a given woman's choice is a complex mix of variables. I don't know enough about the circumstances surrounding someone else's decision to abort, but I know that I cannot have one myself (something I learned at 19 as I sat in a clinic desperately hoping that the pregnancy test would come up negative. Fortunately, it did.) Well, except-- if the baby wasn't viable. Or if my life was at stake. Which means that even as I know that I couldn't abort a child, I also know that there are situations in which I could... and it would break my heart to do it.

But I agree that if we truly want to reduce abortions, the best answer is to make other options easier for women. I'd like to start with providing safe and inexpensive methods of birth control for those who know they don't want a child to begin with.

"Just put it up for adoption" is a pat answer that ignores a whole host of other issues, each of them complex in their own right. I'd like to see us streamline the process of giving babies up for adoption-- get rid of, for example, Florida's horrific law that requires pregnant women to place newspaper ads searching for the possible father if they don't know for certain who he is. But that law grew out of the idea that a father should have the right to 1) know that he's a father, and 2) have a say in whether the child is put up for adoption. And I support those rights as well.

Also, there's some societal views that we'll have to deal with-- the way we treat adoption as a stigma, both for the "how could you give up your baby?" attitude towards the mother and the "why didn't my birth parents want me?" attitude the child is told is "normal". Stupidly enough, a woman is less likely to be stigmatized by having an abortion (especially if it's early and it isn't obvious to everyone who meets her that she's pregnant) than by putting a child up for adoption. I don't even know where to begin changing this.

I am decidely anti-Pro-Life, especially after watching the drama surrounding an acquaintance who had a child with a deformity that prevented her from surviving more than a few days. The parents knew ahead of time that their daughter would not survive, and chose to bring her to term because the mother is rabidly Pro Life ("Murder is Not.An.Option!" is a direct quote). The baby could barely breathe and was in distress the entirety of the day and a half that she lived. In my book, that's not letting God decide (as the mother insists it was), it's tormenting an innocent baby unnecessarily.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 24th, 2014 04:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I suppose if I had a choice, I'd say I was pro-life (lower case letters) but with an understanding that abortion must also be on the table. Or maybe I'd rather just be pro-adoption, with the understanding that all those other choices are also out there.

I have also made that terrified choice (and also never had to act on it), that I would have a baby even if I didn't want one. I have also agonized over imaginary birth defects or health issues which might force me to reconsider my decision. It's amazing how many maybe's one can stress over, even having never needed to make any of those decisions.

I agree... the best options are for adoption to be easy and judgement-free, and for birth control to be the same (easy and judgement-free). Make the other options easier, maybe you'd reduce the number of choices that I'd rather never are made.
pstscrpt From: pstscrpt Date: January 28th, 2014 01:38 am (UTC) (Link)
When there's a pregnancy and you're planning to give it up for adoption, you learn very quickly that your family is nowhere near as judgement free as you might have thought, as well as how much your parents want grandkids.

Also, I learned that when my grandmother and I agree on a moral issue, it's entirely coincidence.
elizilla From: elizilla Date: January 23rd, 2014 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
It sounds to me like you are pro-choice in exactly the same way that many pro-choice people are, but you've let the people who imagine that women have abortions casually, convince you that accepting the pro-choice label means you like abortions and want women to have more of them.


renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 24th, 2014 04:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps that's true. Good point. (:

There's just so much extremism in the media, and makes it hard to identify with any particular group. I also find it so limiting to talk about abortion in isolation, without wanting to add in issues like women's health, father's rights, birth control, and adoption. I guess that's what scares me away from labels.
pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: January 24th, 2014 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
(Must. Not. Rant.)

I think it’s useful to see the political and ethical sides of abortion as completely independent issues. I find it much easier to take a side on the political issue—since none of the (non-obscure) Pro-Life groups support any form of birth control other than abstinence, it seems obvious to me they don't actually give one flying fig about the (potential) cheeruns. They just want to use unwanted pregnancy as a big stick to beat over the head of “sluts”.</p>

I find the ethical side of the issue much more nuanced and heavily dependent on context. And, indeed, I find it to be a bottomless sort of question, depending on other Gordian quandaries like, “What is life?” and “What makes a human, human?”

skyflame From: skyflame Date: January 25th, 2014 05:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I went through this a few years ago. The mom-to-be didn't ask for my input on the pregnancy, but if she did I would have said that my personal choice would have been to have the baby, but it was ultimately her decision.
From: nicegeek Date: January 25th, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is a complex issue for me, because my moral, social, ethical, political, and legal views end up scattered on both sides.
I would discourage any friends from doing it to the best of my ability, but if I could not convince them, I would sadly support them. They are still my friends.
Yes, this is where I get to, morally and socially:

Morally, it's not a choice I agree with...
...but Socially, turning one's back on a friend at such a stressful time wouldn't feel right either.

And then my views take some twists and turns:

Ethically, I think it has to be treated as a nuanced balancing act between the rights of the person and the proto-person (at whatever stage).
Politically, I believe that there's no way to make a blanket judgment that society will ever agree on, and that undecidable, divisive issues like that should be resolved by allowing each state to make its own rules.
Legally, I would vote in favor of allowing choice in my own state, because I realize that my moral views derive in part from my religious views, and I don't believe in promulgating religious beliefs through the law.
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: January 26th, 2014 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
i've been wrestling with a reply to this since i read it the other day. there are *so* many grey areas, at least in my mind. a few things stand out:

I like the bumper stickers that say "Choose Life." I think the debate should go away from legality and instead focus on what we can do to help these women who are at such desperate times in their lives. Provide them with as many viable options as possible, with abortion being available if nothing else is possible. We should also focus much more on preventing them from getting there in the first place (birth control).

i have a really hard time with the phrase "choose life" - one of my favorite profs from undergrad used to differentiate between the sides on the issue as "anti-choice" and "pro-choice." yes, i'm pro-choice, but that does not mean i'm anti-life. again, grey areas, i realize. i just liked the semantics of using choice on both sides better.

i agree, too, that everyone, women *and* men, need to learn earlier about how to prevent unwanted pregnancies. teaching this to kids does NOT make them run out and shag. i'm living evidence of this, but maybe i'm the rare one or an exception, but i don't think so. back when i was a RA in the dorms, i used to joke that i was the least optimal person to be counseling my residents on birth control options, as i had had little to no opportunity to use those resources personally. it was frightening though how many adult women had NO idea how to get (they were free everywhere on campus and i always had them available to my residents!) or use condoms. they had no idea of their options and choices because they had little to no sex ed other than "eww that's dirty don't do it 'til you're married." i had two freshman women go home at the winter break and not return to campus because they were pregnant.

not to trivialize the issue, but not every women who finds herself with an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy is desperate. some simply do not want children. some were not planning to get pregnant and/or didn't know they were pregnant and continued to drink or do drugs and other things harmful to a fetus. i know more than a few women who are perfectly fine with the choice they made to end a pregnancy. the decisions any woman makes is between she (& her partner) and her physician.

i've always been of the mindset that if i am a willing participant in getting pregnant, i'm becoming a mom. note, i said willing participant. i have a friend who found herself pregnant after being assaulted. i can't even begin to imagine how she felt... i only remember how angry i was *for* her, and supporting her while she made calls and worked through her choices, and i don't blame her for one minute for making the choice to abort.

personally, i pray i'm never put in the position to even have to consider it, but if i found that the baby i were carrying wasn't viable, i don't know that i could carry it to term knowing it wouldn't survive. like amanda_lodden said, "Which means that even as I know that I couldn't abort a child, I also know that there are situations in which I could... and it would break my heart to do it." i really struggle with knowing that some states are working to make access to the medical procedure more difficult for women who really need it. my heart breaks every time i read an article (or hear about someone i know going through this and not being able to share it until years later) about a woman who is forced to carry a dead baby until her body decides to birth it or she miscarries. she has to go through the agony of losing her baby, and then she's forced to carry it for up to 9 months when a medical procedure could help with the emotional and physical healing she's going to need.

yeah, so many grey areas and not so simple.
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