Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Dialogue About Abortion: Part II

(This is a dialogue between myself and a long-time poster regarding abortion. Read Part I here)

From: NewsCat
To: Jim in Cleveland
Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 4:33 PM


I don't actually disagree with you about more females being aborted than males, but that seems to me a cultural issue rather than a fight for the gender wars. It's akin to decreasing sexism everywhere, rather than stopping gendercide. (A word I just made up). I wish women were on par with men everywhere, but I also kind of want to point that that in places where abortion is legal is in countries is where, legally speaking, women are treated equal to men. (mostly).

So I gather you think abortion is physically and mentally harmful to women? But why do you think that? I mean, pregnancy is also *dangerous* in the sense it’s more dangerous than abortion. Safety-wise it’s safer not to be pregnant than to be pregnant for the body at least.

But why do you also think it's mentally harmful? Can you elaborate?

Obviously though, as you say, even if abortion was safer than pregnancy and not harmful to women's psyches, you still want to consider the unborn person's welfare. On some level this is the path I never understand. Because there is so much pain and suffering right now amongst the living why cry about those that aren't yet born? Wars, homeless, abused foster kids, there's plenty of living breathing, conscious kids who need help right now that aren't getting it. The unborn always seem to be in theoretical pain. It's like speculating on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Maybe they are souls, but even if they are, there are a lot of other souls in pain right now that should be in the front of the line. It reminds me a little of how some people argue that they'd never buy a purebred pet because there are so many unwanted cats and dogs out there.

Don't get me wrong, I can understand feeling "I wish I lived in a world where there was no abortion" in a theoretical way. But I can't imagine getting so worked up about the status of all those unborn beings being aborted that it puts them on par with all the current living people.

From: Jim in Cleveland
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2:30 PM

You pose a couple of questions. One, you ask what harm is there to the woman in an abortion, especially since there is potential harm in a pregnancy. Two, you ask why get worked up over the death of a fetus when there is so much misery for those already born. Two fair questions.

First one first. I dispute your assertion that pregnancy is more dangerous than abortion. It may indeed be "safer" for a woman to not be pregnant at all (though there are studies that refute that assumption), but having an abortion includes a number of physical risks. The controversial issue is, of course, the supposed link between breast cancer and abortion, which the pro-abort side disputes. Without getting into the nitty-gritty of that issue, there is ample evidence for me to believe there is a link. For every study that comes out and says there is none (e.g., the recent Harvard study), there appears to be one that refutes it (e.g., the work of Joel Brind).

I believe the ABC link controversy to be beside the point, though I think there is also ample evidence of physical issues as a result of abortion, such as increased likelihood of ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages. The real issue is the false choice given to women. One study showed that over 80% of women who had an abortion reported feeling victimized by the process, and forced into the decision of having an abortion. Women who have had abortions report feelings of guilt, anxiety, regret, and other symptoms of what is called Post Abortion Syndrome.

Further, I think abortion degrades what motherhood is. Women were treated as property at one time, and those who choose to support abortion rights now argue that the child they carry is also only property, to be disposed of, if that is what the "mother" wants. Women, who were always equal to men, have legally and culturally become perceived as equal to men because our society has decided that might does not make right.

Abortion advocates hold the opposite, and to me, that degrades women.

As for the second question--what about all the born kids nobody wants? I have been an advocate for increased adoption in this country. I believe adoption law reform is imperative. There are millions of women who are on adoption lists waiting for a child, some choosing to go to China rather than wait the years it takes to go through the red tape. That is ridiculous, and needs to be changed.

You asked me why get worked up about saving fetuses lives when there are living born children experiencing pain and poverty. That is a false choice. First, abortion devalues life, presents a quick fix to a "problem" in which there are no quick fixes. A society that sees violence as a solution to a problem will not place value on fixing the lives of those already born. A society that holds that the size of a person is what determines his or her rights is one that runs counter to feminist principles.

From: NewsCat
Jim in Cleveland
Sent: Wednesday, October 17 5:35 PM

It’s highly coincidental while I was reading your e-mail about how abortion is unsafe (both mentally and physically) I was just editing a piece that talks about how abortion is “the safest medical procedures available – less risky than penicillin, and 30 times less dangerous than carrying a pregnancy to term.”

But the things you mentioned, like the breast cancer controversy or the so-called Post Abortion Syndrome, I don’t believe. I mean, I don’t believe in them the same way I know there’s not a tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny. I could spend a lot of time justifying why I don’t believe in them, but the problem with these types of discussions is that I can cite my facts and you can cite yours, but facts don’t move arguments like these. In fact when confronted with information that conflicts with deeply held beliefs people just hang on more stubbornly to their beliefs, which clearly applies to both you and me.

But to get to a place where we can discuss, I totally agree with you that women were ALWAYS equal to men, but I do think the history of civilization was not just about treating women like property, but controlling their reproduction. The fact that adultery or multiple sexual partners for women was pretty much verboten in Westerns (and many Eastern) societies until the modern age is hard to dispute right? Women still get killed in Afghanistan for becoming pregnant out of wedlock, whether from rape or consensual sex. I’m always reminded that even in the 1960s there were “the girls who went away.” And it’s funny because sometimes I feel like old codgers feel like that was perfectly fine. Those women were out of sight and out of (their) minds so no one got hurt. Sorry I feel there’s a lot of people in their 50-70s who talk fondly about how girls who got into trouble just disappeared, and therefore, to their way of thinking, it was never a problem.

But its not just the concept of women having the right to have sex with whomever they want. It’s really about not living in fear of becoming pregnant which for the first 10,000 years of civilization every woman did.

You admit you’re a settled married guy with kids, and I’m neither talking about my own past nor asking you to talk about yours. But do you think you can understand the issues a woman who finds herself pregnant and really can’t carry it to term? Not just to “not condemn her” but understand why a woman would want to have an abortion and maybe not even feel bad about it?

Like, and I don’t know if you have a daughter, but what if your (theoretical over 18 years old) daughter became pregnant. But she doesn’t want to become a mother and she certain doesn’t want to raise the child of the guy she had sex with. But she doesn’t want to tell you, her dad, because she knows your pro-life and will insist on her (or you) keeping the baby. So in the end, she’s not only going to have to have this baby when maybe she had other plans (college, not bearing the guy’s kid) and her whole life is now changed just because she had sex.

And, if I was that person, and I knew abortion existed, it would be hard for me not to justify thinking “wait so you mean I don’t have to give birth right now? I can go on with my life as I planned, and maybe become a mother later, when I’m financially and emotionally ready for it?” It’s a little hard for women who don’t want to be pregnant to think about what a baby wants. Especially when we imagine a baby wants a birth mother who wants her and can afford to take care of her. And it hurts a little when people tell us we have to put the theoretical wants of what’s in our wombs ahead of our own lives. Like we’re nothing but bits of skin around our all-precious wombs. I think that's where the anger comes from. It comes from the sense that people only assign you value as a "birth-giver" but not the person who is living and feeling with desires of their own. Your life doesn’t matter, only the "new" life you can possibly carry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey kids...what are your sources. Please site when talking about scientific studies.