A Perspective On the Abortion Issue

It should be a given that abortion, as in the willful termination of a healthy pregnancy, is a choice that most of us would find difficult to make under most normal circumstances. The issue really is, however, who makes those choices? 

In the attempted governing of abortion we must reach inside the domain of a woman’s body. The next step would be regulating her behavior, which has already begun within the grandiloquence concerning contraception in the political and religious arenas. 

The legality of abortion and some would say abortion rights have been continually challenged by various state measures aimed at constraining the use of abortion. These arguments usually center on religious belief and dogma such as, “the life of each human being begins at fertilization.” Other state measures try tactics of restrictions for abortion clinics to operate disguised as safety requirements. Good examples of this are the cases of bills requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion. 

Doctors and other medical professionals are well aware of all pre-procedure tests for everything from heart surgery to tooth extractions. Where are the bills mandating ultrasounds or X-rays for everything else? These supposed safety requirements regarding abortion procedures are nothing but a ruse to regulate the practice and create a legal minefield for healthcare workers to navigate. 

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, whether it is pro-life or pro-choice, please step back from it for a moment with me. Try to recognize what the current firestorm regarding abortion in American politics is really all about in consideration of the rights of women. 

Especially if you are a woman, focus on the rights of you and your own body and not the rhetoric of politics or religion. 

The universe is a big place and we, as individuals, have absolute control over very little that is in it. There are not too many places or things in this world that always remain with us and that we have complete power to control from our birth until our death. Two notable exceptions would be our bodies and our minds. 

Pregnancy happens within the body of a woman. A woman’s body belongs to that woman. That body is her domain. That body is her life support system in this world. She has every right to determine what processes take place inside of her. 

I am most alarmed by those on the extreme right who put forth the concept that abortion should not be legal even in the cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is at risk. Please consider some of the broad ramifications of this premise.  

Rape can be a very traumatic event for a woman and not all women can recover from rape psychologically if they become pregnant and have to carry to term. Many people on the extreme right downplay the percentage of abortions in which rape is a factor. This narrative, in my opinion, minimizes the extent that rape happens in our society.

Elective abortions are more common. However, some studies show that a raped woman is twice as likely to conceive as one engaging in consensual sex.

Rape statistics show that of the overall population 17.6% of women have been victims of rape or attempted rape. This crime is not limited to women. 3% of the victims are men. The average age of a male victim is 4 years old and for females the average age is 14.6 years. Only 2% of rapists serve any time in prison. (Rainn.org/U.S. Dept. of Justice/U.S. Bureau of Justice)

Many rapes go unreported because, in many cases, the law puts the victim on trial. It often comes down to his word against hers. We must also consider that spousal rape or rape and impregnation by an abuser is often used as a method of control. This practice is more common against women living in poverty or those suffering from addiction. 

How unfair is it then that women, being so vulnerable in these situations, are being threatened with limits regarding how they feel that they may best recover from a sexual assault? If anything, women should have extra safeguards and rights as victims of sex crimes. As it stands, it can be argued that an accused rapist has more rights and protections. 

It doesn’t stop there. I would be willing to bet that most women have had, at some point in their life, an ex-boyfriend or ex-husband that just doesn’t get it that the relationship is over. If you are a woman, how would you like an obsessed idiot to be armed with the notion that if he rapes you and gets you pregnant, some judge is going to order you to have the baby and thereby forever intertwine your destinies?

With this extreme no abortion under any conditions concept, even if your father rapes you and the pregnancy will be life threatening to you, you still do not get the option of an abortion. 

Be aware of anyone trying to get the high ground on this issue by invoking religion. Penis envy in Freudian psychoanalysis suggests that a girl has some sort of an insecurity regarding her self-worth during her psychosexual development due to the recognition that she does not have a penis. I would suggest that it is more likely that men have way more issues regarding vaginas. What some men don’t have, they wish to control. Often the windows of opportunity to gaining that control are moral and religious points of view. 

Most people find comfort in their faith and want to comply with their religion and their beliefs. Many church leaders and politicians often exploit this urge in order to persuade you to do something that fits their agenda. Seemingly obvious and reasonable moral tenants are used as lures for you to surrender wider parts of your life style, personal rights, and finances. 

The submission and the subservience of women in society are woven into the religious plot in this manner. This is how contraception becomes a sin. Nothing keeps a woman busier than being pregnant and raising ten kids. 

By the way, if a man decides he does not want children, is a vasectomy a sin? How often have you heard that? That is no joke. An 18 year old man can get a vasectomy much easier than an 18 year old woman can get her tubes tied. 

Incidentally, it wasn't that long ago when women had to bring in a permission slip from their husband to talk to their own doctor about issues such as birth control.

If the extreme right really wanted to lower the number of abortions each year they would support contraception. How simple is that? 

Let me just throw this out there about some of the women’s clinics that perform abortions and are often the subjects of mass protest. Many of these clinics are the very places that women can get access to birth control, sex education, and overall counseling that prevent unwanted pregnancies and other problems in the first place. Most of the women who utilize these services at these clinics are at or below the poverty line. 

Women of means who find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy will turn to private practices for the solution and are not subjected to the taunts and insults by the protesters at the clinics. 

There is an element of the pro-life protest movement that is in fact terrorism. Yes, protesting in the properly zoned areas is legal. However, when a clinic worker or client ducks as they walk through the front door it is not just because of rude remarks being hurled at them. It is because there is always a chance that some religious zealot is going to take a shot at the place or throw a bomb in it. The pro-life protesters who are walking around with signs out in front of these clinics are damn well aware of the legitimate fear that they arouse in these clinics and the parking lots.   

This is the bottom line of what I want to say to women. Own your own body. If you are a person of faith then what happens in your own consciousness regarding your body is between you and the Good Lord. 

Don’t let some man, preacher, or politician manipulate your religion or promote legislation to control your life, your finances, or what is between your legs. 

Revised 12/8/2016