Friday, December 11, 2009


Lately I've been reading a lot of feminist research, literature and articles. As time has gone on I've felt a subtle push against women's rights and freedoms, perhaps as a backlash of the feminist movement which changed the Western world and ruffled many feathers. I think maybe also with gay rights now in the forefront gaining more and more recognition, the same sorts of people who either hate change or can't empathize with people who aren't just like them are tightening their holds elsewhere.

Abortion laws, in particular. The Stupak amendment, which although won't affect me or my fellow country women in Canada, is pretty much on of the emerging great tragedies to women's healthcare of the new millennium. Seriously. No funding for abortion? None?

Here in Canada it's federally funded. Women have the right to choose and choose they do. Of course there are organizations like The Back Porch, located in where else but Alberta, who more or less work against Planned Parenthood and counsel women to continue their pregnancies. Which, I have to say is pretty unethical. I've been doing a lot of reading about this group. Their goal is to talk to "abortion-minded" women. This translates to mean "we actively talk women out of the choices they've decided to make." And they don't advertise this. So women with an unwanted pregnancy and are looking to explore their options can find themselves in the hands of these pro-lifers whose concern is not for the woman herself, but her fetus.

And this rather pisses me off. Yes, a fetus does eventually become a baby. But until it's actually of this world and a separate entity from its mother, it's not a person. It's certainly reasonable for an individual to feel differently about that and consider a fetus a person if they choose. But it's no longer reasonable to enforce that feeling into either law or another person's decision making.

Consider: The risk of an abortion is 13 times less likely to result in complications/death than giving birth. The risk of severe mental anguish is distinctly higher for women undergoing adoption than abortion. In countries where abortion is illegal, a total of over 70,000 women die from unsafe abortion practices each year.

So who are we going to care about? Whose life should matter? A full-grown woman with a life, dreams, responsibilities? Or a grouping of cells which have yet to form into full person and is engaged in a parasitic relationship with its host? Yes, the wording is harsh, but pregnancy while important and beautiful is also a reckless force of nature that if imposed on a woman without her consent is cruel to her body and mind. I object to laws and movements which treat women like vessels. It's not a woman's fault she was born with a uterus and she is not under any obligation to give birth at any time.

But going back to the adoption path... if there's one thing that strikes me as terribly painful, it's continuing a pregnancy to term, giving birth and then giving my baby away just as all the chemicals kick in to create a devoted attachment to it. Then to recover from the birth, breasts leaking milk that no one drinks, hormones dropping and causing mood swings with no recourse to feel better because every day forward will be a day you're not with or raising the baby your entire being is calling to. This is a deeply personal decision that no woman should feel compelled to make due to another person or people's agenda, any more than a woman should be compelled to have an abortion for reasons that are not her own.

There have been people in the pro-life movement who claim something called Post Abortion Syndrome, citing high risk of depression, self loathing and suicidal thoughts. However, the American Psychological Association has studied this issue and has concluded: "Although there may be sensations of regret, sadness, or guilt, the weight of the evidence from scientific studies indicates that legal abortion of an unwanted pregnancy in the first trimester does not pose a psychological hazard for most women." Women coerced into an abortion from family or unsupportive partners are more likely to experience these negative feelings, which only highlights the importance of allowing a woman to examine her own feelings and needs and make the right decision for her.

I could rant on and on about this, I really could. Whether a single mother of two needs an abortion in her second trimester because the child is going to be severely disabled and she cannot care for it without detriment to her existing children, or a woman in an abusive relationship can't bring a child into violence, or any woman with a new or current health condition makes pregnancy dangerous or fatal, or her necessary medications will critically damage her fetus, or she was raped or requires a D&C after a miscarriage (Which still counts as an abortion, even though the fetus is dead and D&C prevents infection or infertility), the choice must be hers.

I'll leave this rant with a cartoon which depicts how I feel about the direction the United States is going with their healthcare.

Jerry's condition is unchanged at this point, and if it remains so, my next rant may have to with birth control access, which of course is directly related to this post.


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