Sunday, July 17, 2005

Against abortion

(My note: I especially like the quote she uses at the bottom of this, I like that it is from a "feminist" point of view and that there are only facts here, no religion, religion doesn't make a good reference for atheists and lukewarm people. Feminism is "in" now, these arguments are things our culture can understand.)

Julie's Story
Self-Reflection, Self-Regrets
I was an 18-year-old freshman when I went to UC Santa Barbara's Student Health Services for my pregnancy test. Even though my body was changing, I wanted to deny all the symptoms: nausea, frequent urination, breast tenderness and worst of all, a late period. When they told me I was pregnant, I broke into tears. I couldn't believe it was happening to me.

The counselor wasn't very helpful. She seemed cold and distant. I wanted someone to hold me and tell me it would be alright, but no one did. I was really afraid.

The abortion was done in town. The procedure was worse than I had imagined. I felt like I had no choice -- no one had mentioned any other alternative. Lying on the table I told the doctor I hadn't ever had a pelvic exam before. He said, "Shut up and scoot down." It seemed like it would never end. It felt like my insides were being ripped apart when he said, "The pain is going to increase now." I thought I wouldn't be able to bear anymore. I wanted to scream, but the scream just stuck in my throat.

After the abortion they told me I had 10 minutes to get dressed. I just sobbed and slipped into a fetal position on the table with my bloody hands between my legs.

For about a year I continued in my "pro-choice" position; but I knew that I could never put myself through an abortion again. After a lot of introspection, I had to face the fact that the abortion industry had exploited me while I was in this anguished state. They never told me what would happen to me because of the abortion, they just profited financially at my expense.

I've spoken with many women who have also had abortions and are now suffering from Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS). We've had the haunting experience of remembering the abortion as if it happened yesterday. Nightmares, suicidal thoughts, depression, sexual dysfunction, remorse, anger and low self-esteem are just a few of the psychological complications we've experienced not to mention the physical complications. There are many organizations set up to help us, one of which is Women Exploited by Abortion, which counsels women who have had abortions.

Ever since my abortion it has bothered me to see adoption portrayed as tragic because the mother wonders where the baby is. No one told me that I would frequently remember my abortion date and imagine my aborted child at the age he would be today. How much better would it have been to know I placed that child in the loving arms of an infertile couple (there are on the average 40 infertile couples awaiting each available baby for adoption)?

At the time of my abortion, I didn't consider adoption because I didn't think the fetus was a baby. Should I have? Let's look at the medical standard for determining death -- absence of a heartbeat and brain waves. Should abortion be allowed when electroencephalographic waves and a heartbeat exist? If you've said no, you've eliminated practically all abortions because both exist by the sixth week of pregnancy.

But what about "choice?" This passage excerpted from Fredrica Mathews-Green's recent speech at the College of William and Mary, "Pro-woman, Pro-life: Feminism and Abortion" answers that question:

A woman with an unplanned pregnancy faces more than "inconvenience." Many adversaries, financial and social, at shcool, at work and at home confront her. Our mistake was in looking at these problems and deciding that the fault lay with the woman, that she should be the one to change. We focused on her swelling belly, not the discrimintation that had made her so desperate. We advised her, "Go have this operation and you'll fit right in."

What a choice we made for her! She climbs onto a clinic table and endures a violation deper than rape -- the nurse's hand is wet with her tears -- then is grateful to pay for it, grateful to be adapted to the social machine that rejected her when pregnant. And the machine grinds on, rejecting her pregnant sisters.

It is a cruel joke to call this a woman's "choice." If we refused to choose, if we insisted on keeping both our lives and our bodies intact, what changes would our communities have to make? What would make abortions unnecessary?

Flexible school situations, freedom from stigma, fairness in hiring, more flex-time, part-time jobs, better access to prenatal and obstetric care, attractive adoption opportunites, a whole garden of safe family-planning choices, support in learning how to handle our sex lives responsibly, and help with child care and parenting when we choose to keep our babies, this is a partial list.

"Yet these changes will never come so long as we're lying down on abortion tables. ... For over a hundred years feminists have warned us that abortion is a form of violence and oppresion against women and their children. They called it "child murder" (Susan B. Anthony), "degrading to women" (Elizabeth Cady Stanton) ... and "a disowning of feminine values" (Simone de Beauvoir). How have we lost this wisdom?

Quite a large number of post-abortive women have come into the ranks of the pro-life movement, dispelling the myth that the anti-abortion person is a WASP man. We are women who have had abortions and want to help other women in their time of need.

If you have had an abortion and need to talk, call me. Maybe you've found out the hard way the trauma that abortion brings. Abortion is not the answer. Killing is never a solution to solving a social problem.