“abortion should be ‘legal, safe, and rare’, but for many of the world’s most vulnerable women it remains illegal, unsafe and common.” p. 291 editorial from july 28-august 3, 2007 lancet
this quote was on the front page of a medical journal called LANCET. they always put a quote from one of their articles on the front of the current magazine. i was struck by the clarity and weight of the quote.
i’ve been a staunch pro-choice grrl since i had the power to reason fully (12 yrs. old). that’s when i knew i didn’t want kids, thought racism was terrible, loved the 1st amendment, claimed myself a feminist, knew i was a democrat/liberal, and knew that abortion should be legal.
however, as years grew on, i also realized that i believed that a life was created at conception. if you read about the sperm entering the egg and how fast the cells replicate, i knew there was *some kind* of life there. i also knew that at that stage it wasn’t “murder” to be rid of it, though. sometimes i step on icky bugs. that too, is technically murder, but most people don’t think twice about it.
the years went by and i realized that although people rarely talk about it, abortion isn’t an easy choice for the people making it. even if they are positive it’s what they want to do and wouldn’t have it any other way, they still always remember that life and sometimes have sad/melancholy/regretful feelings that they didn’t expect.
i always knew that i felt that abortion as birth control (many abortions due to the lack of planning or carelessness of people who refused to take better care of this part of their lives) was wrong. there should be a better way to NOT get pregnant.
i’ve known *many* women in my life/lives who have had abortions. i think nearly all of them wouldn’t have changed their decision. also, nearly all of them want to have kids in the future. that was another thing that occurred to me later on … what sort of life will a child have who is truly unwanted? is it more horrible to stop a pregnancy before it starts, or to have a child who is neglected/abused/ignored? i say the latter is the worse problem.
years went on and i started to think that abortion wasn’t really great. but what i *did* believe is that i wanted it available to anyone who wanted/needed one, and that any lingering emotional effects or possible need for forgiveness in some way was between that woman and her higher power/therapist/partner. mostly between her and her higher power, though. i knew that it was not my place to judge anyone because i was willing to have the procedure done myself and because i am not god.
most importantly, i read histories of women in the last 50 years, just in the united states, and there was some horrific things happening when abortion was illegal. home abortions, secret/illegal abortions by doctors who either charged ridiculous amounts, or who weren’t qualified to do them, jail, and death for those who tried methods at home and got septic and were afraid to go to a doctor.
that’s why that quote rings home with me. i think it’s better to NOT get pregnant than to get pregnant and have an abortion. but things happen unexpectedly and we all need to make difficult choices in our lives. but i definitely think it should be a rarity, not a commonplace occurrence. and i also think it needs to be safe and legal.
much like i don’t believe not telling kids about sex keeps them abstinent, i don’t believe making abortion illegal will stop abortions. they’ll just be dangerous and privy to more illegal and dangerous activity.
i worry about my pro-choice choice as the neo-cons start to grip hold of this country even tighter. i hope it doesn’t take us 10 years to undo the things that have taken place in the last year alone. it’s very important to have birth control and abortion not only legal, but fully accessible to everyone. that could save more lives than we realize.