Now, I’m not one to usually get topical, but if I go on one more heated rant to my husband, I think he will fully expect me to start burning my bras (which I’m inclined to do anyway at this point – those suckers have gotten itchy).
Full disclosure (if you couldn’t tell by the title), I generally put myself on the pro-life side of the spectrum (and, yes, it is on a continuum in my opinion). I do believe in the choice of abortion for rape/incest victims and in circumstances where the mother’s health is at risk or if the fetus has no chance of survival outside of the womb. Otherwise, though, I do have to say that I don’t agree with the practice.
The difference between me and a lot of pro-lifers, however, is that I think the best way to prevent abortions is to, hmmm, prevent unwanted pregnancies, perhaps? There are many reasons why a woman wouldn’t want to be pregnant. In a lot of cases, it is because she simply cannot afford it, regardless of her desire to be a mother or not. She either can’t risk her career progress or doesn’t have the money to pay for another mouth to feed (remembering that some women that have abortions already have other children). I guarantee anyone that if you improve maternity leave rights and protections for pregnant employees, the abortion rate would go down. Next up is teen pregnancy. Obviously, my argument for this would be for schools to include more comprehensive sex education. It is shocking just how little young women today know about reproduction – not just contraception! The general mechanics of ovulation and fertility are rarely covered in a biology class. There are so many things that women don’t learn about their bodies until they are actively trying to get pregnant (sometimes, not until it is getting to be too late for them). Lastly is the woman who simply doesn’t want children. For them, this is where the “less government intervention” that conservatives purport should mean something. Women should have access to birth control just like gun owners have access to guns (in fact, I fully believe the latter is easier and cheaper than the former).
It seems like most of the proposed legislation and current rhetoric regarding women’s reproductive rights have more to do with punishing women because some choose to get abortions rather than actually protecting anyone (unborn children included). For example, Rick Santorum thinks that we should do away with prenatal testing, particularly amniocentesis, because it could potentially lead to a woman choosing to get an abortion depending on the results – which conveniently omits the fact that many infant lives are also SAVED by such tests. Hey, Santorum, you know what else leads to a lot of women choosing abortion: home pregnancy tests. Should we do away with those too?
My only wish is that the people making these decisions on behalf of women know a little something about biology. Life does NOT begin at conception. It begins at IMPLANTATION. An embryo is not going to become anything if it doesn’t attach itself to a womb. Furthermore, the “vulnerable” fetus is not going to survive outside of its mother prior to, say, 24 weeks, which I understand why we need to protect it; however, if keeping the fetus alive is going to hurt the mother, then BOTH “people” are going to suffer if the fetus cannot survive on its own. While I don’t think that a fetus is a part of the woman’s body (I believe it is its own entity), it IS basically a parasite dependent on a host and cannot exist without a mother to carry it.
For me, that is what “pro-life” means – protecting all life, not one at the expense of another.