Blog for Choice 2011

I’ve been thinking about how to tackle the issue of abortion on the blog for a while, but not sure how to do it. And, to be honest, I’ve also been very apprehensive about even touching the issue at all, for a number of reasons. But, being as it’s Blog for Choice Day, now seems as good a time as any to do it.

The short story is that I used to be very very strongly against abortion rights, and I’m now pro-choice.  I know some folks who follow this blog vehemently disagree with my position, and may even be disappointed in me for taking it, or offended by my discussing it.  Believe me, I understand that.  I really, really do.  I’m not sure, but I imagine for a lot people raised differently than I was being pro-choice seems kind of . . . obvious.  Of course women shouldn’t be forced to carry pregnancies they don’t want! And yes, I believe that. But getting to that place took a lot of time, and questioning, and working through really conflicted emotions. Trying to reexamine the morality of an act you’ve been raised to believe is murder, that you’ve believed for your entire life to be murder, is difficult.

I’m working on a companion post to this one, which I hope to finish and publish by the end of the day, on how I changed my mind about abortion.  I think it’s important for the pro-choice movement to understand understand where others are coming from in order to better reach people from backgrounds like mine – especially now that young adults seem to increasingly oppose reproductive freedom.  And I also hope it’ll be helpful to people reading who are staunchly pro-life, or people who were raised pro-life but are confused or conflicted about what they think about it now, to see the steps one person worked through in moving from a pro-life* position to a pro-choice one.

*I use this term not because I agree that the beliefs I was raised with are actually representative of a consistent pro-life ethic (anti-death penalty, anti-war, pro universal health care, etc.), but because it’s how I self-identified. I understand people’s objections to that phrase, but personally am no more comfortable with labeling all self-identified pro-life people as anti-choice than I am with pro-lifers’ tendency to label all pro-choicers as pro-abortion.


Alright, The question for Blog for Choice this year: Given the anti-choice gains in the states and Congress, are you concerned about choice in 2011?

Short answer again: Yes.

I’m concerned that GOP efforts to blackmail insurance companies into not covering abortions and force women to pay out of pocket for them will entrench and worsen already serious racial and disparities in access to safe, legal abortions, making poor and minority women even more likely to seek out back alley abortions, and even more vulnerable to exploitation by dangerous and unscrupulous people like Kermit Gosnell. I’m concerned that if these and other anti-abortion measures pass, we’re effectively saying as a nation that rich women have a right to choose abortions, and poor women do not.

I’m concerned that a number of states have passed mandatory ultrasound laws before abortions, as though a woman who has decided to terminate a pregnancy can’t comprehend the implications of her choice without one. I’m concerned that it’s increasingly difficult to obtain first-trimester abortions, which are safer, less invasive,  make up the vast majority of abortions, and in most cases are the preferred choice of women seeking abortions (if you want to end your pregnancy, you generally don’t want to stay pregnant for more time rather than less), at the same time that conservatives are launching an all-out attack on the legality of second and third trimester abortions, and on the handful of medical professionals who provide them. I’m concerned that conservatives are chipping away at abortion rights piece by piece until there will be virtually nothing left. I’m concerned because a world without safe, legal abortion would be a complete disaster for tens of millions of women, children, and families.

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6 Comments on “Blog for Choice 2011”

  1. Faith says:

    I do think abortion is the taking of a human life. There are very few instances where I would make the decision to abort.

    I’m not comfortable with forcing other people to accept my beliefs. I don’t want women to be forced to carry children when they are not willing/able to do so in a healthy way, maybe due to poverty or an addiction. And I certainly don’t want a woman who’s been raped to have to jump through hoops in order to put that nightmare behind her.

    So I guess I’m a pro-life reproductive rights advocate.

    I’d like to draw a parallel between the rhetoric employed by the purity movement and the anti-abortion crowd. The anti-abortion people make a big to-do abut the guilt some women feel after an abortion. But they are the biggest contributor to that guilt! Their slogans and images are calculated to instill guilt about abortion, the guilt is a problem they play a big part in creating.

    • Grace says:

      The anti-abortion people make a big to-do abut the guilt some women feel after an abortion. But they are the biggest contributor to that guilt! Their slogans and images are calculated to instill guilt about abortion, the guilt is a problem they play a big part in creating.

      Completely agreed.

      I do think abortion is the taking of a human life. There are very few instances where I would make the decision to abort.

      I also would (I think) only consider an abortion under a few circumstances.

      This might sound like splitting hairs . . . embryos and fetuses are human, and they are living. But I wouldn’t say they’re “human life” in the same sense we mean when we talk about taking a “life” in any other context. I’d call it ending a potential human life, which is not something to be taken lightly, but not the same as murder.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Grace, Vyckie D. Garrison. Vyckie D. Garrison said: Are Women Human? Blog for Choice 2011: I’ve been thinking about how to tackle the issue of abo… http://bit.ly/gNkd5o via @graceishuman […]

  3. Gin says:

    I also used to be anti-choice (I use that term because, in my experience, people who are anti-abortion are also pro death penalty and pro war, so the so-called “sanctity of life” really doesn’t enter into it). I remember attending the March for Life as a child and participating in the Rally for Life and several other pointless demonstrations which only resulted in being screamed at by the opposition.

    I changed my mind about abortion because of a situation I experienced through a good friend. Her ultimate decision came down to aborting her very much wanted child or losing her brother to kidney failure (she was his only match for a new kidney). She chose her brother and a year and a half later, she and her husband were able to conceive again and had a healthy baby girl.

    I’ve had people tell me that my friend should have allowed her brother to die instead of having the abortion. I was utterly disgusted that anyone would be so calloused. I’ve learned that the world really isn’t all black and white, despite the many sermons I’ve heard to the contrary.

  4. Jordan says:

    If embryonic cells and fetuses = human life, does that mean we should lock up women who don’t take the correct pre-natal vitamins? What about women who drink when pregnant? (whoops, turns out that might not mean they’re satan afterall) I say we prosecute condom users too, they’re letting sperm die.

  5. Jordan says:

    Also, sometimes I really come late to parties. In the spirit of that, we’re working our way through the early part of season 2 of the West Wing (I know, I know, required viewing was like ten years ago). Could not possibly have enjoyed the episode “The Midterms” any more than I did. They had a Dr. Laura character show up at a talk show correspondents event that the president spoke at. Very enjoyable exchange:

    PRESIDENT BARTLET
    I’m sorry, um… you’re Dr. Jenna Jacobs, right?

    JENNA JACOBS
    Yes, sir.

    BARTLET
    It’s good to have you here.

    JENNA JACOBS
    Thank you.

    BARTLET
    The awesome impact of the airwaves and how that translates into the furthering of our national
    discussions but obviously also how it can… how it can…

    He sighs, and addresses Jenna Jacobs again.

    BARTLET
    Forgive me, Dr. Jacobs. Are you an M.D.?

    JENNA JACOBS
    Ph.D.

    BARTLET
    A Ph.D.?

    JENNA JACOBS
    Yes, sir.

    BARTLET
    In Psychology?

    JENNA JACOBS
    No sir.

    BARTLET
    Theology?

    JENNA JACOBS
    No.

    BARTLET
    Social work?

    JENNA JACOBS
    I have a Ph.D. in English Literature.

    BARTLET
    I’m asking, ’cause on your show, people call in for advice and you go by the name of Dr. Jacobs on your show. And I didn’t know if maybe your listeners were confused by that,
    and assumed you had advanced training in Psychology, Theology, or health care.

    JENNA JACOBS
    I don’t believe they are confused, no sir.

    BARTLET
    Good. I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.

    JENNA JACOBS
    I don’t say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.

    BARTLET
    Yes, it does. Leviticus.

    JENNA JACOBS
    18:22

    BARTLET
    Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I’m interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. (small chuckles from the guests) She’s a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, and always clears the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath, Exodus 35:2, clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police? Here’s one that’s really important, ’cause we’ve got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes us unclean, Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother, John, for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?

    Jenna Jacobs fidgets uncomfortably.

    BARTLET
    Think about those questions, would you? One last thing, while you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tightass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits.

    Jenna Jacobs squirms in her seat but doesn’t rise. Bartlet glares meaningfully at her. She finally rises out of her seat.

    The scene was lifted from websites like this one: http://www.rslevinson.com/gaylesissues/features/collect/drlaura/bl_drlaura009.htm

    Very fun to watch. Felt like it sort of fit in here.


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