“A” Words

This is another post that has sat in draft form for more than 2 years. In light of recent events in Texas, I thought it timely now. 

“In a perfect world, all pregnancies would be planned, all birth control would be perfectly effective, and all babies would be loved. Until then, abortion should remain safe and legal.”

~ Comment from “Daria” on “Anti-Abortion License Plates…

I am pro-choice. I am also pro-life. When I think of the term “pro-life” as it is used in political rhetoric, I think a better term is actually “anti-choice.” Most (though certainly not all) people who are against abortion are also against the things that help children have better lives: SNAP (aka “food stamps”), the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, Head Start, public schools, sex education, birth control, and so on.

Some people find it odd that an adoptive parent would be pro-choice. If my children’s birthmothers hadn’t “chosen life,” then I wouldn’t have them. That’s very true. However, I believe they should have had the choice. I know S’s reasons for not choosing abortion. I believe that Laine didn’t find out she was pregnant until it was too late for her to have an abortion, although I don’t know her opinion on the practice.

Abortion and adoption are two different decisions entirely. Abortion is a reproductive choice. Adoption is a parenting choice. For some people, abortion is the right choice, and for others, adoption is.

A fetus can’t live outside a woman’s body before 20 weeks gestation, and even then, that life is tenuous at best. Until 20 weeks, you can’t separate the fetus’s rights from the woman’s rights – at least, I don’t think you can. The woman is undeniably sentient, a citizen, with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities thereof. A fetus isn’t. Don’t believe me? Try claiming a fetus as a dependent on your taxes. Or driving in the carpool lane when you’re pregnant and no one else is in the car.

It’s always – and I really mean always, as in, since I learned about abortion sometime around 5th grade or so – seemed like a no-brainer to me. If the fetus can’t live outside the womb, then it’s not really alive.

I know it’s not so cut and dried for other people. However, I don’t think that should matter when it comes to setting policies for reproductive health. I think this is one area in which the science and data are fairly clear, and religion should not play a part when policy is set. Individuals must make their own informed choices.

Adoption can be a great choice, but it’s not for everyone. It’s certainly not without its own trauma. Too many anti-choice activists throw out phrases like “God’s plan” and say “these women who bless other people with a child are saints,” “think of all the joy you’ll bring to a childless couple.” It’s not someone else’s responsibility to bring me joy. It’s not a pregnant woman’s responsibility to bear a child so some other couple can be a family. If she chooses to do that, great! But if that’s not something she feels she’s prepared to do, then she should have a choice.

I’d like to add that the fact that abortion services aren’t covered by Medicaid or a lot of insurance plans is also troubling. If the reason you can’t get an abortion is that you can’t afford one, how is that person supposed to afford a child? For some people, that just means that the woman should “give the child up” to people who can afford a child, but I don’t believe that money should be the only reason a woman makes the choice to place. And if you don’t want your tax dollars to go towards subsidizing abortions, well, there are a lot of places I don’t want my tax dollars going, yet there they go.

Abortion. Adoption. Two different choices separated by so much more than just two letters. I believe they should both be a safe, legal, supported choice for all women.

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5 thoughts on ““A” Words

  1. Pingback: Favorites of 2013 | The Chittister Family

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