Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Be My Baby

My head has been buzzing with various topics lately but none coherent enough to put down on here. However, an article in today's Guardian along with a friend's unplanned pregnancy, has left my internal world spinning.

Do you know there's an important anniversary next week? It's the anniversary of when abortion was legalised in this country. At last, women were acknowledged the legal right to have control over their own bodies. They could make the choice concerning reproduction. Why not, heterosexual (and some queer men) make those decisions every day, without judgement. And have no problems doing so.

Yet again, the ugly right-wing religious fanatics of America have reared their heads. As well as several states taking away women's right to emergency contraception, they want to lower the 24 week limit on abortions. And it's frightening to think Britain might be considering the same thing. You think governments would embrace abortion more. A lower population of wanted children means less of a drain on local and national social care resources. The illusion of smaller classrooms and lower unemployment rates could become a reality for some political parties.

But there seems to be such a stigma against this. Bear with me. Under no circumstances am I advocating women to be forced into abortions but to have it presented as a potential option to an unexpected pregnancy. It's not murder, it's not pissing off God, it's not selling your soul to Satan. Do those who say it's an act of murder give any thought to the circumstances when imposing this blanket judgement? What about a woman who has been raped or sexually abused and become pregnant as a result? It's all very well telling her to carry through with the pregnancy and give it up for adoption. Imagine living with the knowledge that this thing, this reminder of your pain and your abuser is growing inside your body. Or what if you simply don't want it? I seriously doubt before every pro-lifer engages in a sexual act that could result in a pregnancy stops for a moment and ponders over the potential life they could be creating. And don't get me started on eejits that claim even condoms cause murders. How dare they when an AIDs epidemic is sweeping across Africa, another example of humans literally fucking each other over? So, going back to the original comment on condoms, no male should masturbate because they might be killing off potential babies? Again, I'm sure every male pro-lifer thinks exactly the same thing when he's shaking hands with the bishop.

But am I getting angry for nothing? The facts speak differently. How many babies born at 24 weeks survive? 1%, rising to 11% at 23 weeks (Guardian, 17th October 2007). Are there really vast amounts of lives being taken? Yes, these embryos have the potential to grow into babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, adults, middle aged, old aged individuals. Though here I have to admit my glaring contradiction that came to me when I was reading the fabulous We Need to Talk About Kevin. I believe abortion is a right but believe the death penalty is wrong. Does that mean I only value life in adults? Or teenagers if you're talking about America, where states can chop and change legislation on the death penalty. In a way, that's true as I don't believe you have human rights (or consciousness) until you come shooting into this world, whether that's via a vagina or tugged out via the intestine.

That's irrelevant. What I value is women's rights in this society. I may not always agree with the decisions they make but I am trying to learn to respect them. I may not wish their lives upon me but I should remember it's their life to live.

The Guardian article that created this ramble can be found here: Clickey click


sheeldz, Marque said...

"What I value is women's rights in this society. I may not always agree with the decisions they make but I am trying to learn to respect them. I may not wish their lives upon me but I should remember it's their life to live."

I'll propose a rather interesting conundrum. What if, through a one night stand, the couple become pregnant. Whose dicision is it wether or not to have the child? The woman, or the man? What if the woman wants the child, but the man doesn't? Or, more unusually, the man does want it, and the woman does not?

Interest rights question that one.

Mark Buckland said...

I do think the last date of possible termination should be lowered, I think a lot of science is pointing that late abortions is ethically contentious in terms of the development of nerve systems etc.

And a solution to an unwanted pregnancy would be using a condom in the first place. We should celebrate men and women all having the liberty of controlling their own reproductive abilities: what a pity so few seem to use it.

A Woman with an Opinion said...

To Mark One:

I briefly touched on that matter on another blog post. Here's what my thoughts on it were:
"The decision to have a child ultimately lies with the woman, this cannot be a truly equal decision made between the biological parents."

To answer your question, it's the woman who makes the decision which is rather unequal. Why should a man be lumbered with supporting a child he doesn't want? But then this opens a whole can of worms on sexual responsibility.

A Woman with an Opinion said...

To Mark Two:

Without sounding like an uncomfortable Social Ed teacher, condoms are not 100% pregnant proof. Neither is the Pill. I've had two friends, who have been on the Pill, that became pregnant because they had been vomiting or diarrhoea. Personally the last thing I'd want to be doing if I suffered any of the above would be having a romp in the hay. But whatever floats your boat ;)