Polimicks

Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

Women and Abortion

According to the Guttmacher Institute (http://www.guttmacher.org/sections/abortion.php), 1/3 of American women will have an abortion in her lifetime.

The majority of women who have abortions are already mothers raising children (60%).

The reason most frequently cited for obtaining an abortion is economic hardship and preserving quality of life for the woman’s existing children.*

According to the Guttmacher Institute “There is no evidence that abortion is being used as a primary method of birth control.” http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2008/09/23/TrendsWomenAbortions-wTables.pdf

Late term (post 24 weeks) abortions make up only .2% of all abortions. Not two percent, but two TENTHS of a percent. None of those women who had late term abortions did so “Because, tee hee…” They underwent an arduous medical procedure because either they and/or their fetus would DIE or the fetus was already dead, or the fetus was so malformed there was no hope of life, i.e. anencephaly. All late term abortions are tragedies, but not for the reasons the Anti-Woman/Anti-Choice folks would have you believe. They are tragedies because those babies were loved and wanted, and ultimately either would have died and/or killed their mothers had the pregnancy gone to term.

Recently AntiTheistAngie (http://angietheantitheist.blogspot.com/) has caught a lot of grief for Livetweeting (http://twitter.com/antitheistangie) her abortion. Because of health, economic and other issues (she already has a special needs child) when her birth control failed, she decided on RU-486, a chemical abortion. In order to demystify the experience, because on researching it for herself, what little information and personal stories she did find freaked her the hell out, she decided to broadcast her experience to the world.

I applaud this.

However, in response she has suffered a whole lot of death threats from the “Pro-Life” faction. People have threatened the life of her four year old son. They’ve called her a whore and a liar. WWJD? Apparently he’d start screaming epithets and killing people. Funny, I don’t really remember that part of the Bible.

She’s also caught a fair amount of slut-shaming from “Feminists.” I put Feminists in quotes, because slut-shaming is one of the least Feminist acts I can think of. Mary Ann Sorrentino to name one name, http://open.salon.com/blog/mary_ann_sorrentino/2010/03/08/abortion_as_self-promotion Because apparently all those Feminists who fought for the right of a woman to have an abortion, only meant if she was properly quiet and shamed about it. The fuck? Sorrentino also completely glosses over the fact that Jackson wasn’t just gleefully having sex without protection, her birth control FAILED. She was being responsible, even if she didn’t have a tubal ligation (which Sorrentino apparently thinks you can get just by asking for one. What world is she living in, and can I move there?)

Also, speaking out about abortion has a long history in Feminist circles, from the Redstockings Abortion speak-out 41 years ago this month, to the “I had an abortion” t-shirt campaign which began in the early 2000s, to sites like http://www.imnotsorry.net and the LJ comm http://community.livejournal.com/imnotsorry/

Sorrentino is unhappy because Jackson took a “private” matter and made it public, and she should have just kept quiet. In a subsequent podcast, she’s likened Jackson’s livetweeting of her abortion to the Paris Hilton sex tape.

Well, we all know how well keeping quiet works for socially charged issues, don’t we? Seriously, is “Just shut up and maybe they’ll let us keep our rights” the new party line? Fuck that. So once Sorrentino is done playing “No True Feminist,” maybe she can take a look around and see that “keeping quiet and playing nice” has resulted in a near constant eroding of access to abortion since the 80s.

Personally, and I have been guilty of this in my younger and stupider youth, if I hear you slut-shaming a woman who has had one or many abortions, in my presence, I will call you out, loudly, profanely and probably with a lot of hand-waving and gesticulating.

Abortion is not “dodging responsibility”, it is a responsible course of action. If you know you are not ready to have a child emotionally, financially or for whatever reason including just not wanting to have one, NOT HAVING THAT CHILD is a RESPONSIBLE DECISION. Not bringing another child into a country where thousands upon thousands of children are languishing in foster care and can’t get adopted IS THE RESPONSIBLE THING TO DO. Not overburdening the financial capabilities of your family IS THE RESPONSIBLE THING TO DO. Fuck that, “Have the baby and the money will come” bullshit. What kind of responsible behavior is that?

Anti-Choicers are not about saving babies, because if they were they’d be for things like SCHIP, and school lunches, and subsidized daycare, and more money for education, and things in the new healthcare bill like all children are covered. Anti-Choicers are about punishing women for having sex they don’t approve of. Anti-Choicers are about punishing women for attempting to control their reproductive capabilities and limit family size.

The number of children a woman has and how early is the strongest indicator that she will remain in poverty for the rest of her life. Married or not.

I’ve not had to have an abortion, because the one pregnancy scare I’ve ever had ended in a probable miscarriage (Woot! God aborted for me! Suck it, anti-choicers!) But when I thought I might have been pregnant, my first thought was, “Where am I going to get the money for an abortion?”

Now, I’m not including you in Anti-Choicers if you personally wouldn’t have an abortion, but you still support the right of other women to CHOOSE FOR THEMSELVES.** No one says you have to have an abortion. It’s not like we’re out there rounding up pregnant women like cattle to meet our weekly abortion quotas.

Abortion is a deeply personal issue that no one else can make for you. Nine months is a long time to harbor a parasitical creature in your womb. And given maternal death rates in this country (worst in the industrialized world), I wouldn’t want to play that sort of Russian Roulette with my health either, if I didn’t have to.

Everyone wants to decrease the number of abortions. But how you do this is by increasing the availability of contraception and education on those contraceptive measures. You don’t do it by forbidding women to have abortions, because that just results in a lot of dead women. But that’s ok, right? I mean, dead or forced to give birth, they’re punished, right? Fuck you.

Well, except for rich women, they’ll just fly somewhere it is legal.

So you’re for punishing POOR women.

It’s funny that the most outspoken opponents of access to abortion are ALSO against contraception. This is point two in why we all know you’re all about punishing women for being poor, dirty whores, and not about saving anyone. Seriously, pull your fucking heads out, ok?

That’s all for today, and may I remind you all of my new, draconion moderation policy: http://polimicks.livejournal.com/27643.html. I will be generous with bahletion.

*Oh, and the tendency for even Feminists to buy into the “lying whores” trope drives me up a wall. I believe it was on Pandagon, in a comment thread over a year ago, where someone said, in response to the Guttmacher findings on economic reasons, essentially, “Well, I’m sure that women SAY it’s for economic reasons, but of course they’re probably lying to make themselves feel better.”
Look, trust women, or don’t. But shut the fuck up either way.

**Many women who would deny abortion to others, believe they have a “good” reason for having it, and theirs is the “only moral abortion:” http://mypage.direct.ca/w/writer/anti-tales.html

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37 comments on “Women and Abortion

  1. tasterainbows
    March 23, 2010

    Thank you.
    May I link to this?

    Like

  2. poptart1017
    March 23, 2010

    “Anti-Choicers are not about saving babies, because if they were they’d be for things like SCHIP, and school lunches, and subsidized daycare, and more money for education, and things in the new healthcare bill like all children are covered. Anti-Choicers are about punishing women for having sex they don’t approve of. Anti-Choicers are about punishing women for attempting to control their reproductive capabilities and limit family size.”
    This is awesome (along with the rest of it of course). I only wish I could say it so plainly when I’m talking to anti-choicers, many of them my own family, so it’s hard to say it in a way that gets the point across without starting an enormous fight.

    Like

    • polimicks
      March 23, 2010

      Yeah, I have a tendency to get all sputtery and incoherent in person. A lot. So, I sympathize.
      Fortunately, for me, that side of the family is over 2,000 miles away, so I don’t have to deal with it often from them.

      Like

  3. qweerdo
    March 23, 2010

    Excellent post.

    Like

  4. staxxy
    March 23, 2010

    I have also observed that a lot of the people who are anti-choice are the same people who are against there being any welfare system at all, would NEVER adopt a child of their own, and are against funding for education. Not *all* mind you, but a LOT.
    and fuck them in their hypocritical ears.
    the only acceptable course, in my mind, for those anti-choice fuckers who harrass women who go to abortion clinics is to adopt those babies instead. You want the child to live? You take responsibility for it for the next 30 years. (granted, I *personally* would not want any of these sick fucks anywhere near raising children, but I really think they should have to confront the emotional and economic realities that raising these children would mean)
    When I was in highschool I went with 2 of my best friends when they had their abortions. I held the hand of one of them during the procedure, and stayed with them both for most of the day afterwards. Both of them were all kinds of emotionally torn up about having the abortions in the first place. Both them continue to be sad about having to make that choice. Both of them are absolutely certain it was still the *right* choice to make.

    Like

    • sarmonster
      March 25, 2010

      Lets not forget that they’re also often pro-war and pro death penalty. I LOVE that. Save the Baybeeez… everyone else can burn.
      Isn;t the value of something typically based on how hard it is to replace…? Just Sayin’.

      Like

    • sarmonster
      March 25, 2010

      Lets not forget that they’re also often pro-war and pro death penalty. I LOVE that. Save the Baybeeez… everyone else can burn.
      Isn;t the value of something typically based on how hard it is to replace…? Just Sayin’.

      Like

  5. garpu
    March 23, 2010

    I wasn’t gonna post…I tend to avoid abortion if and at all possible, because the topic only brings out the worst in people. I do think if you could actually get both sides to sit down and talk to each other (Yeah I dream), then they’d find some sort of common ground.
    I’ve come to refer to myself as neither pro-life or pro-choice. I really, really, really dislike the concept of abortion. I don’t think I could ever have one. I do think life is sacred, and I really don’t know when that starts. In my mind, it’s better to hedge my bets. That having been said, back alleys scare the hell out of me, and I’m thankful that there’s a safe alternative for women who don’t have a problem with abortion.
    I don’t think the answer is as simple as “just don’t have sex,” like some of the pro-lifers claim. Abstinence only education doesn’t work, but poverty reduction does. (As does access to adequate birth control, education and actually having rapes be prosecuted as opposed to the farce that is prosecution now.)
    I also think if a person is going to put forth the idea that life is sacred, it’s got to apply to all human life–including terrorists and people on death row. It urks me to no end when people claim to be pro-life and then try to weasel their logic around being pro-death penalty, justify torture, and are against basic social services. (We’re one of the wealthiest nations on the planet and people starve on the streets? I don’t even want to hear why someone thinks that a person shouldn’t have access to adequate food.)
    So you’re for punishing POOR women.
    goes back to the bullshit fundie Protestant notion of the prosperity Gospel. If you’re good, God rewards you. If you aren’t, then you’re poor and bad. It’s the same bullshit behind the healthcare debate–if you can’t afford health insurance, then there’s something morally deficient in you. It’s so easy to demonize someone down on their luck. It’s another form of victim blaming, you know? Only in the US is it a crime to be poor.
    And, yes, I’m going back to the LISP compiler before you yell at me.

    Like

    • polimicks
      March 23, 2010

      The problem is that many, many of the Anti-Choicers really are anti-contraception and anti-comprehensive sex education. Because birth control is, just like abortion, a way of avoiding “responsibility” for having sex.
      Yeah, I don’t get it either. Bunch of hateful assheads.

      Like

      • garpu
        March 23, 2010

        I think a lot of it, too, is a form of narcissism, like what you said about other people’s abortions. Suddenly when the same people are confronted with problems that everyone else has to deal with, it becomes real and immediate, whereas before they could ignore it or pass it off as shit that happens to everyone else.

        Like

    • ayeshadream
      March 23, 2010

      Oh, and they’ve been picketing the planned parenthood on the way to my OB/GYN appointments and I’ve been thinking about making BIG signs that say “Pregnant woman for reproductive freedom”, and “Your body, Your Choice” and standing there obviously happily pregnant between the protestors and anyone walking into the clinic, blocking their horrible anti-choice signs.
      Just because I’ve made the determined decision to have a baby as is my right dosen’t mean I don’t feel equally as strong about other women being able to make that choice for themselves regardless of what they choose.

      Like

      • sirriamnis
        March 23, 2010

        Dude. We have got to do this. Why the hell isn’t anyone counter-protesting?
        Email me. We’ll talk.

        Like

      • gloraelin
        March 23, 2010

        Just FYI – my local PP, the one I escort at, they started to do counter-protests with teenagers and the like, and they only did it two or three times.
        Why? Because the original protesters called in “backup” that was barely controlled, and it almost got physical. So, it was simply escalating the situation. It sucks, but we don’t get c-p any more because the fuckers can’t keep it civil.

        Like

      • sirriamnis
        March 23, 2010

        Is now wondering if we could form a Women Weightlifters and Kickboxers for
        Choice counter protest group?
        I’m only sort of kidding. Actually, barely at all. This bears thought and investigation.

        Like

  6. acrimonyastraea
    March 23, 2010

    Thank you for this seriously awesome post.

    Like

  7. ayeshadream
    March 23, 2010

    I had this argument with my father on Sunday after I told them that Rob and I are finally pregnant.
    My father (who cheated on mom for most of their married life) is adament that abortion is wrong because it’s punishing/ killing the baby for the “sins” of the mother, but when I asked him about his responsibility once the mother was forced to have the baby, then it’s not his business to feed, house or provide health care for that child. Totally fucking typical. I told him if he managed to spontaniously grow a uterus he might have grounds to discuss whether anyone else should have the right to decide about the contents of theirs, but that would be debatable.
    This is also the same man who despite cheating with any available vagina once said “if God voted, he’d be Republican”.

    Like

  8. onogoro
    March 23, 2010

    She was being responsible, even if she didn’t have a tubal ligation (which Sorrentino apparently thinks you can get just by asking for one. What world is she living in, and can I move there?)
    Ugh! There is absolutely no understanding of how that shit works, is there? Last summer, 39 weeks pregnant, I had to switch midwives because of insurance reasons. I told my new midwife that I wanted a tubal ligation immediately after birth, because that had always been the plan. There wasn’t enough time for him to get it passed with a doctor (some nonsense about a 30 day wait time). I figured it wasn’t a problem, I would have it done a month or so after. Except no, because I was in and out of the hospital constantly for surgeries to try to take care of hemorrhaging. After being told by 3 different doctors that my uterus is just defective I asked to have it removed. My insurance won’t cover it, though.
    Yeah, permanent sterilization is really easy to get. =/
    Sorry. I know it’s a bit off topic, but the people that I always hear bitching about it and how easy it is have no idea. None.
    As usual, the rest of your post is fantastic as well.

    Like

    • polimicks
      March 23, 2010

      A friend who had repeated surgeries to remove fibroids had to get two medical opinions and a psych eval in order to get her hysterectomy. Because any woman who wants to be free of pain and repeated surgeries is obviously insane…
      I’ve had friends with multiple children turned down for permanent sterilization, because “Well, what if something happened? Or what if you got divorced and your new husband wanted kids? Or or or… There’s always a fucking “OR” isn’t there?
      I was lucky in a couple of ways. I was 35 when I decided to get fixed, and my doctor was a staunch feminist. Not everyone is so lucky. Most aren’t, actually.

      Like

    • onogoro
      March 23, 2010

      Also, adopted. I know how incredibly lucky I am to have ended up with a family instead of in some shithole foster care home or hell, even a good one. Foster care isn’t permanent. A lot of adopted kids have attachment disorders, too. Especially if they’ve been bounced around the system for quite a while. This comes with a wealth of emotional and behavioral issues. People don’t think about these things. It’s so easy to tell people to give up their babies for adoption because they’ll be better off than if they never got the chance to be babies and…they’re wrong. A lot of the time they’re wrong. Not to mention, the grieving a woman goes through after adoption is SO MUCH MORE than what she goes through after an abortion (in most cases. I obv. can’t speak for everyone).
      You know what? Fuck these people. All of these people who think they get to decide what anyone can or can’t do with their own bodies in their own best interest. And fuck them for thinking that adoption is ALWAYS an easier/healthier alternative for everyone involved.
      And seriously fuck them even more for wanting to force women to go through something that is physically traumatic in a country where we’re not even taken care of while going through the traumatic event. One of my fiance’s idiot friends on fb started in with me about how our maternity health system is SO GOOD and that women aren’t dying in childbirth anymore, especially not here. Like all people like that though, when confronted with facts she ran away and hid her face.
      Sorry for all the rambling. I’m angry as hell about all of this and I know I’m practically incoherent because of it, but I hope something made some sense to someone.

      Like

      • mukdaddy12
        March 24, 2010

        Second that about the attachment issues. From what my mom told me, when they adopted me the they had to wait till I was 6 months old (don’t recall if this was a state law or an agency policy). If those few months can cause problems I can only imagine what years upon years could possibly do.

        Like

      • onogoro
        March 24, 2010

        When I was a lot younger, I worked as a peer counselor for a treatment program. We had a lot of kids who had either been adopted or had been in the system at a really young age. They all had attachment issues. I’ve also met a huge amount of adopted people that have issues because they feel like they were unwanted in the first place and so on. It’s really sad what a lot of adoptions actually put people through, and I really don’t think that most people see that side or choose to acknowledge it.

        Like

  9. triedthistwice
    March 23, 2010

    This is…the most perfect post on the subject I’ve ever read.
    Thank you.

    Like

  10. annetangent
    March 23, 2010

    Great post!
    Reminds me of something so here, have a chart!

    Like

  11. shelestel
    March 24, 2010

    The number of children a woman has and how early is the strongest indicator that she will remain in poverty for the rest of her life.
    Right, and some, if not much, of the same, I’d imagine, goes for men. So you have those who, mainly through contraception, but also occasionally through abortion, don’t have kids and get to concentrate on career and get richer, and those who have kids early and don’t get to develop their careers as much. If, instead, everyone had kids, wealth gradients would not be so steep. Maybe if no one had kids they would not be as steep either, but it is in the nature of humans to have children.

    Like

    • polimicks
      March 24, 2010

      It is just as much in the nature of humans for some of them to NOT have children, either through physical flaws or just deciding to opt out.

      Like

      • shelestel
        March 24, 2010

        It is also in the nature of humans to differ in many ways, including in aptness and wealth.

        Like

      • polimicks
        March 24, 2010

        Yup, like Molly Ivins said, “Some folks are born on 3rd, and convinced they hit a triple.”

        Like

      • shelestel
        March 24, 2010

        What does this have to do with anything? My initial point was that while individual liberties may be locally beneficial for the individual, they may also be non-beneficial for society as a whole, which, in turn, affects their personal benefits. I dispute not the claim that selfishness is natural, but that it is necessarily helpful. I cite your own example and interpret it in this light. Women who, pursuing their own benefits, choose not to have children are part of the reason why women with many children are poor. You don’t seem to dispute this, but argue that the logical solution is for no one to have many children or for no one to have children early. I do not see how this is a logical outcome of the premises.

        Like

      • polimicks
        March 24, 2010

        I apologize, you weren’t terribly clear in your intent, and I’m a bit over-sensitive given some responses I’ve gotten to posts in the recent past.
        I do think people would be better served by having fewer children later, on a whole, really. We no longer have an economy where large families are a boon to production.
        I apologize again for perhaps not reading as generously as I might have.

        Like

      • shelestel
        March 24, 2010

        My intent is rather ambitious. It is arguing that when conservatives argue against such liberal values as the right for abortion they do not intend to inflict misery on women as a whole, nor is such misery a necessary eventuality of the values they advocate. It may appear that they do, since denying a person of any bit of freedom is typically painful to the person. Yet, as I said, this may be compensated for by socium-wide effects. They argue that there is nothing intrinsically horrible in a society in which abortion as a mechanism of family control is barred from use. The more traditional society which they advocate differs from the liberal one in a number of ways, and some of those ways (lower divorce rates, increased communality, to name a few) compensate for the cuts in the personal freedom department. It pains me when intelligent liberals consider conservatives as a whole as either idiots, evil persons, or both, and I do not believe that such an approach is either helpful or justified in the majority of cases.
        One argument against pro-lifers that I have seen is “women will continue to have abortions anyway, but in worse conditions and under greater risk”. True, but you may also say that in a society in which theft is illegal burglary still occurs, with increased risks both for the burglar and the robbed. (I apologize for making this analogy, as I know it is very inflammatory, but I bring it because the general principle in operation is in my opinion similar)
        Another argument is that in some cases abortion makes sense due to medical or other reasons. Well, most pro-life proponents are not radically against all abortions. In fact, in medieval Christian Europe if the life of the mother was perceived to be in danger during birth, they had a practice wherein they’d drill the skull of the emerging child and extract it by parts. The life of the mother came first. Neither are there many countries in which abortion is illegal under all circumstances.

        Like

      • polimicks
        March 24, 2010

        The big problem is that the society the more conservative members of our society keep hearkening back to didn’t really exist. We just didn’t get the full picture because people kept their mouths shut.
        I did bring up two indicators that those folks really are interested in punishing women.
        1. Their unwillingness to provide for children after they are born i.e. see my examples like SCHIP, the current health care reform legislation, funding for education…
        2. Their opposition to readily accessible contraception, and education as to how to use it properly. The fact that many abstinence only programs LIE about the efficacy of condoms, describe birth control pills as “abortificients”.
        There may well be some anti-choicers out there who really do care about the babies. I admit that, but they are a small minority compared to those whose actions seem to indicate they’re more for punishing women.

        Like

      • shelestel
        March 24, 2010

        You are correct, conservatives often refer to a romanticised version of the past, and those of them who don’t are often pro-choice anyway.
        Neither do I understand their opposition to subsidised childcare or healthcare.
        Neither do I believe that lies are a good idea.
        At the same time, it seems to me that when you accuse pro-lifers of a sadistic desire to punish women for, I’m guessing free fucking, you are ignoring not only what I’ve said about the possible benefits of limiting individual freedoms, and not only the parts of the conservative agenda that limit the sexual freedoms of men, but also the fact that many pro-life proponents are women.
        If you wish to argue that those women are ignorant servants of the patriarchy, then you may do so, but you will get a laugh from most of them, as they tell you exactly what they think of various facets of secular liberal society that you yourself find problematic without quite making the connection between them and your civil positions. I’ve seen traditional societies. “Lookism” and self-image are arguably less of a problem, for instance.
        It’s not that I think that western liberal societies are not in many ways the best form of society there ever was. But I don’t think that people who oppose some of its features are necessarily evil or stupid.
        I’ll tell you why I bother to say all this. It is because some republicans have some good things to say. And the knee-jerk reaction to anything that carries a conservative label or comes from the general direction of the political right that many Lefties have is therefore very unhelpful.

        Like

      • polimicks
        March 24, 2010

        Believe it or not, there was a time I would have voted for McCain, and had he gotten the nomination instead of Bush I would have voted for him rather than the Gore/Lieberman ticket. But after Bush and his cronies squashed his run at the nomination using smear tactics like suggesting his time as POW had unhinged him, he just… caved to the party line.
        The current John McCain is not the man who admitted in an interview that he would support any daughter of his in her choice if she chose abortion.
        This post is about ONE subject. Abortion. And you’re right. I don’t have a whole lot of patience for people who refuse to see that women are people and not just incubators (and the Left does not escape this tarring, believe me. Don’t get me started on”pre-pregnant”).
        I do not knee-jerk against everything that “carries a conservative label,” but in this case we DO know what happens when abortion is illegal, particularly when you also hinder access to contraception: Women die.
        Knowing that, how can you view moves to make abortion illegal as anything BUT trying to punish/hurt women, particularly when there is an active attempt to limit access birth control at the same time?

        Like

      • shelestel
        March 25, 2010

        Well, the women who oppose abortion don’t practice it, right? Women who do have a certain economic advantage over them. So it could be seen as resistance of the poor to the rich. In general, lower-class opposition to middle-class liberals can be seen as stemming from the fact that “if A is more powerful than B then equal freedom for A and B means that A will continue to be more powerful than B” (paraphrase on a William Vollmann quote).
        But no, it’s true that there are some insane people out there who oppose all family planning efforts, and yes they should shut the fuck up. Not that I think that family planning efforts ought to be focused or predicated on the availability of abortion on demand.

        Like

      • polimicks
        March 25, 2010

        If you’d been paying attention, you would know that I don”t think family planning efforts should be “focused” on abortion, but by stating that, you have exposed yourself as arguing in bad faith. Subsequent responses will be deleted.
        Have a nice day!

        Like

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