vdansk: (plant)
[personal profile] vdansk

Why I am Pro-Choice

When I was in tenth grade, I read a medical thriller about infertility treatment.  I was fairly impressionable, and there was a scene in the book where a wealthy couple (off screen) elected to abort a child because it was the wrong gender.  I decided, naturally enough, that there out to be a law against that, and in my youthful passion decided to write my persuasion paper for Expository Writing on the need to limit access to abortion.  My teacher didn’t blink.

The thing about this assignment was that it was a RESEARCH paper.  Opinions and emotion were fine, but hard to footnote.  So, in this time before internet searches, I looked through scads of microfiche, then read the source materials behind each of those first books and articles. 

To my surprise, couples using in vitro to abort babies of the wrong gender was something that could not be substantiated ANYWHERE.  In fact, once I really looked, none of the horror stories of wrongfully aborted babies could be confirmed with anything beyond an anecdote passed on to the author by someone else not directly involved. 

Women, my research suggested, had abortions for one of four main reasons: inability to feed another child—often because the pregnancy would cost them their job—a bad, often abusive social situation that would become even worse with a baby in the midst of it, rape, and health concerns. 

It seemed to me that the best way to prevent abortion was social change: fighting poverty, helping women escape abuse, preventing rape, and improving health outcomes for mothers and babies.  Restricting access to abortion, it seemed to my 15 year old self, would not accomplish any of that. 

Then I came across the stories—backed by horrific statistics and plentiful data—of what women did in this country when abortion was illegal.  Of what women still do in places around the world where abortion is illegal or unavailable.  I read of the septic wards for victims of illegal abortions, and my father reluctantly told me his own experiences caring for such women during his internship in the 1940’s.  Women would get paid on Friday, have an abortion that night, and be dangerously ill with infection by Monday morning.  The interns would admit an entire floor of them on every Monday; by Friday, those who would recover were well enough to go home, and the rest had already died. 

Finally, after weeks and weeks of research, soul searching, and thought, I handed in my paper…entitled “Condemned to Life: The Case for Abortion Rights”.

My teacher, again, didn’t blink. 

I’m not sure how many teachers today would allow a student to write and research such a topic.  I feel blessed to have attended the school I did, to have had the teachers I had.  They let me figure out things on my own, let me come to my own answers, and taught me the discipline and research skills to look beyond what I THOUGHT the answer should be.  And, looking back thirty years later…I still believe that that 15 year old I was –got it right.

Date: 2012-05-27 12:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chris-warrior.livejournal.com
Finally, after weeks and weeks of research, soul searching, and thought, I handed in my paper... I’m not sure how many teachers today would allow a student to write and research such a topic. I feel blessed to have attended the school I did, to have had the teachers I had.

from what i've heard from teachers on my massage table, i don't think there are a lot of *students* nowadays who would gleefully do that much work, figure out they were wrong, and write the paper they felt the statistics supported. i bet you got an A. i think if homes were turning out more kids who truly wanted to learn instead of watching TV, we'd have more teachers who were willing to do anything to help them learn. my 0.02.

IMVHO you got it right. i felt similarly since a young age, and for similar reasons. it's one of the places the Catholic church and i diverge. obviously less abortions are better, but not a lot of women step out of bed, stretch, and think "What will I do for fun today? I know! I'll get an abortion!" o_O

Date: 2012-05-29 02:11 am (UTC)
chryssalys: (Default)
From: [personal profile] chryssalys
What I don't get, and will never get, are the people who are against abortion, but also against birth control that can prevent that unwanted pregnancy in the first place. The Monty Python "Every Sperm is Sacred" seems to be their reasoning, as far as I can tell.

As an aside, my AP research paper was entitled "Slavery As An Unimportant Cause of the American Civil War". Not sure how many teachers would have let that one fly, either.

Date: 2012-05-30 02:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aerden.livejournal.com
Re birth control--Exactly! If you're going to forbid abortion, then you must absolutely permit contraception--because people are going to have babies out of wedlock, no matter what. It's stupid to require a chastity that is utterly unrealistic of people.


Date: 2012-05-30 02:59 am (UTC)
chryssalys: (Default)
From: [personal profile] chryssalys
Yes. The sexual drive is far too strong in most people to realistically expect everyone to be celibate unless they are married - and today's society far too free. Which is good, IMO. But because of that freedom, birth control is so vitally important that I do not comprehend any desire to curtail access to it. And that totally ignores the proven health benefits of birth control.

I'm not pro-abortion. I'm not anti-abortion either. It *has* to be an individual choice, in every woman's individual circumstance. And that choice is *always* difficult, if abortion is on the table for consideration.

But I am strongly pro-birth control.

Date: 2012-05-30 02:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aerden.livejournal.com
You had a good teacher. I'll bet she also realized you were a good student.

I have to admit, my own feelings about abortion are not nearly as well researched as yours. I can also see how they've evolved with age. When I was a teenager, I would have said no one should ever interfere with my right to have an abortion. As a 40+ year-old woman, no one had better ever touch my non-existent daughter without my informed consent. I believe that life begins at conception and that, by that logic, abortion is murder--but I also believe that I don't have the right to force some other woman to bear a child against her will. To me, people who think abortion is a cut-and-dried issue are just not seeing the whole picture. It's not an easy decision, any way you look at it, and I support the decision that allows for the greater freedom. That means allowing women to choose.

I was under the impression, though, that female infanticide is a real problem in China, where there is a cultural preference for male children.

Edited Date: 2012-05-30 02:12 am (UTC)


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