Butterfly Cauldron

Friday, March 10, 2006

My life is not a theory

I don't live in South Dakota or Mississippi or any of the other state currently trying to pass abortion bans. Thankfully, my state is too busy cleaning up after Katrina to worry about that at the moment, though I don't doubt they'll get around to it. But hundreds, if not thousands, of women like me live in those states. Pregnancy may not exactly endanger our lives but it would certainly imperil our health. So, we do our best to avoid it. We use multiple levels of birth control, we practice strict monogamy with partners we truly trust, we abstain when we feel that's our best option. We are not irresponsible women. We are not thoughtless, child-like beings who cannot understand that one of the possible outcomes of sex is pregnancy. We understand that, we simply wish to avoid it. So, we do all that we can to do so.

And sometimes, that's not enough. Sometimes, we get pregnant anyway. If we're lucky, we have supportive partners who will stand by us and help us deal with that -- regardless of the decision we make. Some of us will choose to brave the odds and continue our pregancies. And some of those pregnancies will result in healthy babies, healthy mothers. Some will result in healthy babies, dead mothers. Or healthy babies, damaged mothers. Or dead baby, dead mother. Or some combination thereof. But so long as it's a choice made by the woman who is pregnant, to risk her life or not, it's a choice that should be honored and respected. It's not a choice that should be forced on any woman.

We are not abstractions. We are not some percentage of all abortions performed. We are not a percentage of all pregnancies. We are real, live women. We have families. We have friends. We have people who love us, whom we love. We have roots and connections in this world. The loss of a single one of us has ripples that no law can foresee or legislate. Yes, anti-choice people will say, but what about the baby? What if you're aborting the next Einstein or the person who grows up to cure the very disease you're sick with? To that I say: What if the woman you're killing/maiming IS the next Einstein or the woman who will cure this disease? Why do they always assume that the people who are already here are incapable of greatness? Why is it always someone not born yet who will save the world? Have they so little faith in those of us in the here and now that they can't imagine we're capable of saving ourselves? Or is it just because we're women and women can't do those sorts of things? Also, if we're going to get into the 'What if' game, what if the fetus that's aborted was the next Hitler? What if it was the next Stalin? That game is a dead end. The fact is, you don't know. You can't know and it's pointless to speculate.

They also show a remarkable lack of faith in the God (most of them) claim to believe in. If god is so powerful and all-knowing, why would he put a soul in a fetus he knew was going to be aborted? Why would he allow the next Einstein to be created, knowing s/he would never be born? That doesn't say much for god.

I'm sick to death of being treated like a Thing. I am not a Thing. I am a Person. I am a Human Being. A Woman, specifically. I am not some number on a page, not some compilation of medical records that a judge gets to look at and decide if I'm sick enough to warrant terminating a pregnancy that's threatening to rob me of bodily function but not quite my life. This is MY life, I get to decide if the risks are worth it. I get to decide if having a child is important enough for me to risk liver failure, or kidney failure, or stroke, or heart attack, or permanent muscle or joint damage. I do. Not the state, not a bunch of men in Washington, not anyone else. Me. If you think you can take that right away from me, and all the other women (not theories!) in this country, you're in for a rude awakening. Women are not theories and it's time people were reminded of that.

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posted by Zan at 6:38 AM


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