Friday, January 13, 2006
So I'm thinking about abortion. . .
I am decidedly pro-choice. I have been since I got to college, got out from under the oppressive religion I was raised with, meet people who thought differently than I did and you know, started having sex. I've always had a petrifying fear of pregnancy. At first, I was terrified of getting pregnant in high school, because that would totally derail my college plans. So, no sex. Which wasn't that hard, since all the boys in my home town were redneck hicks I wouldn't wanna fuck anyway. Then, when I got older and meet a man I very much wanted to fuck, well...I was still terrified. And, thanks to my decidely religious upbringing, my ability to even talk about sex was very limited. I had ideas of birth control. I mean, I knew about the pill. I knew about condoms. But going to the doctor to get the pill? Uh, no. My mother's insurance would pay for it and well, she'd get the fricking bill! And then she'd know I was having sex and there'd come the lecture. Condoms? Well, that was easier. They gave those away at the health clinic. So, we got some of those. And eventually, I got to the point where I could just buy them at WalMart and not give a damn what anyone thought about me. And now that I'm much older and have my own insurance, I'm very much the Birth Control Queen.
But once, when I was about 20, I had a pregnancy scare. Every woman's had one. Due to my absolute terror of pregnancy, I was (and still am) militant about condoms. Every time. No exceptions. Period. My SO at the time was quite happy to go along, so we were all good. Except, this one time. This one damn time we just...didn't. To this day I have no idea why. It was dumb. We had them. They were in the box by the bed. But we just didn't use one that time. And at first, I wasn't worried. I mean, we were together for about two years at that point, so this wasn't a casual thing. I trusted him. Wasn't worried. Until I realized we'd just had unprotected sex at the fertile point of my cycle. Oh yeah. That made me feel good.
Still, I didn't panic. Much. Until I missed my period. Relax, I said, it's just late. You've been a few days late before. Except then I was a week late. And I've never been that late before. And then I was a week and a half late and I was completely freaked. Panicked. But I didn't say anything. I didn't tell my SO a thing, didn't explain to him why I was so weird or why I didn't want him to touch me. And then, I was two weeks late and I started to cry. I just knew I was pregnant and my life was over. I was 20 years old, hadn't finished college, was going to have to drop out and it was the end of the world.
And the next morning I woke up bleeding. I have never been so glad to get my period in my life. And I have never, ever had sex without a condom again.
So, what does all that have to do with abortion? A lot, actually. At that point in my life, I wouldn't have had an abortion. I couldn't have. I was still too tied to the fear I'd been instilled with growing up, for one thing. For another, I live in a state where abortion is not very easy for a woman to obtain. In the north of the state, there is a clinic. In the south, there are clinics in Big City One and in Big City Two. That's all. In the vast middle of the state, where I live, there is nothing. And, as a poor college student, I'd not have the money, the time, or the transportation to access either of those clinics. So, I would have been stuck. So while I would theoretically have had a choice, practically I wouldn't have had one. Plus, my family pressure wouldn't have let me have one either. There's no way I could have had an abortion in my family, not if any of them had known about it. And, believe it or not, my family and I are rather close in most ways. So, I'd have had to keep this huge secret from them forever. In so many ways, abortion really wouldn't have been an option for me at that point, even though I know it would absolutely have been the best choice for me.
And now? Now things are even more complicated for me.
Now I have a chronic illness that may well kill me, kill any child I conceive or render one or both of us crippled for the rest of our lives. And there's no way of knowing beforehand. If I got pregnant tomorrow (please, Gods forbid that) my pregnancy may be perfectly normal and uneventful. Or, it may be traumatic and tragic. And if I have one normal pregnancy, the next could be horrific.
And the thing is, that's not particularly special to me. That could happen to any woman, with any pregnancy. I just happen to have a prediagnosed illness to give my doctor's a heads-up.
I don't buy Alito's 'I'll have an open mind' crap. His paper trail clearly demonstrates that he wants Roe gone and he's willing to do whatever he can to get rid of it. So when this man gets on the Court, he'll be able to do serious damage.
My state would, without a doubt, outlaw all abortion if it had the chance. I'm not sure they'd even leave in a life of the mother exception, but they sure as hell wouldn't put a health exception in unless forced. So women like me would be screwed if we needed an abortion. My kidneys could be failing, the pregnancy could be putting stress on my nerves causing permenant damage, it could be setting off a flare leading to seizures, muscle damage, etc., but so long as I'm not dying...well, that's the price I pay for having sex. Leave aside the fact that the kind of damage I could take would leave me incapable of actually caring for my child. A child which would then require state assistance. What kind of message does that send to the women who live in these states? You're good enough to live here, shop here, work here, pay taxes here, but you can't expect the state to care about your health and well-being when you're breeding.
And so, that's what I'm thinking about tonight. I wish I had less dark thoughts, but it is what it is.