Thursday, November 02, 2006

Something Complicated...

As a pro-choice, pro-abortion radical feminist, I spend some considerable time in any given week thinking about abortion. I contemplate the possibility that one day, in the UK, abortion may not be legal. It's already difficult to come by, too expensive for most women and still has an air of irresponsibility attached to it. I consider the multiple arguments put forward by the anti-choicers: the "right to life", a foetus feels pain, abortion hurts women, and on... I am never convinced by these people and rarely find their arguments intelligent or even well thought out.

Then I think about the various processes of abortion. It's not a pleasant procedure, it's messy and difficult but statistically it's not as dangerous as childbirth. I think about the indignity of the procedure and the inappropriate questions that often accompany any consultations. I dwell on the morality of paying to make a choice to end a pregnancy. It worries me that people make a profit on these procedures.

I think about my own pregnancies. I dig about in my brain for the sense memory of my daughter scrolling around in my belly. I remember the thick clot of my second pregnancy's sudden and convenient end. There are personal and political reasons for my thinking about and understanding responses to abortion.

I am always appalled by the rhetoric and motivation of the anti-choicers; the sanctimonious placard wavers show little interest in exploring the realities of women's lives. They accuse women of heartlessness, selfishness and a callous disregard for life. In my experience this is just not true. Abortion is a huge and difficult decision to make, and in my experience women who choose abortion feel somewhat conflicted about their decision. Some women believe that their foetus is a living thing and still make the brave decision to terminate their pregnancy. Some women abort for financial or health reasons and feel terrible grief for what they feel is their lost baby. Some women have no feelings about the foetus and abortion is a relief. Every experience is different and every experience is valid. For these reasons, I believe in being careful about how I talk about termination. One woman's parasite is another woman's heartbreak.

I absolutely support every woman's decision to abort. I can not stress this enough: termination should be free, on demand and easily accessible.


aus blog said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pippa said...

Even if I accept all your arguments (and I don't!) you still have yet to convince me that you are entitled to compel me and other women to live according to your rules.

You have no right to force your beliefs on me. You have no right to control my body OR my mind. Don't just emote, THINK about it.

Laura said...

Oh christ, I've seen that posted about a dozen times now and each time I think:

1) So what?

2) If my mum aborted me I wouldn't be here to be pissed off about it. So, again, so what?


And I agree with you, Pippa, on making sure we remember that everyone's abortion is different. But while anti-choicers interpret one woman's regret or feelings of loss as a reason to ban abortion, I interpret it as sad but no reason whatsoever to prevent other women having access to it. Pro-choice, ya know? ;-)

ms. jared said...

oh lordy. did aus blog find you? let the trolling begin...

but anyway - i've started calling myself "pro-abortion" because i am. i mean, lets face it, when we say "pro-choice" we mean "abortion on demand". i think pussy footing around the issue and talking about the human "tragedy" of it all is what emboldens the anti-choicers. they can use our own rhetoric against us to say "see, even YOU agree that abortion is bad!"

well i DON'T agree that abortion is bad. i think most women would prefer to not get pregnant at all rather than go through a medical procedure, but on the whole i think abortion is good. it's certainly no worse than open heart surgery or anything else. just because it might be painful or unpleasant doesn't mean it's not still a good and beneficial thing.

besides, i trust WOMEN to make their own decisions about what's best for THEIR lives. they certainly know what's best for them more than i or the state do.

happy friday!
xoxo, jared

aus blog said...

Fact is your mum didn't abort you,
You were born, and you have a life.

Aren't you glad of that?

Pippa said...

Ah, ausblog, there's that intelligent, well thought out argument again... You really need to THINK about what you are writing. I am sure laura is thrilled that she lives, but as she ALREADY said, she wouldn't know about it otherwise, so what's your point? Good Grief.

stormcloud said...

Gosh, I think that's the first time I've actually seen a different post from austroll (we already knew he had mastered the cut and paste, but wow, stringing short sentences together..) Reading comprehension and intelligent thought may still be some way off yet.

Ms J, good point. I shall henceforth refer to self as "pro-abortion".

aus blog said...

If conception is NOT when life begins,and a clump of cells is just that and not a living human being.
Then at least concider this-

Soon after you were conceived you were no more than a clump of cells.
This clump of cells was you at your earliest stage, you had plenty of growing to do but this clump of cells was you none the less. Think about it.
Aren't you glad you were left unhindered to develope further.
Safe inside your mother's womb until you were born.

Anji said...

"Is it beyond the realm of possibilities that when your mother first learned she was carrying you, she may have considered her options? What if she had decided to terminate? Would that have been OK?
You would not exist, if you have children they would not exist, and your (husband or wife) would be married to someone else. You would have been deprived of all your experiences and memories. In this day and age with terminations being so readily available and so many being carried out, if you make it to full term you can consider yourself lucky.
Lucky you had a mother that made the choice of life for you."

Aus Blog... don't you love your mother? I love my mother and I'd like to think she had absolute autonomy. I would hate to think she had gone through pregnancy and childbirth simply because she felt guilted into it, or because legally there was no alternative. I wouldn't ever have been born, so I wouldn't know what I was missing. So it doesn't matter, does it?

Pippa: Abortion is free in the UK. My friend's ex girlfriend had an abortion a few months ago at about sixteen or seventeen weeks gestation; very few questions were asked as far as I know, and it was done in an NHS hospital at no charge. :o)

Pippa said...

Thanks Anji. I love the question "don't you love your mother?"

As to free abortion in the UK: I know it happens but my own experiences are different! The majority of women that I come across are paying around 300-400 pounds for their terminations at private clinics simply because they can't get their doctors to agree to an NHS procedure.
In one astounding incident, the GP involved refused to consider NHS termination and referred the client to a private clinic where it turned out he was on the board of directors...
Very often women can't fight this prejudice and unfair treatment. the doctors get away with much of this kind of behaviour simply because the women involved don't have enough choice related info at their disposal. I am so glad whenever I hear a story like your friend's. That is the way it should be. Pippa xx