This Is What an Abortion Looks Like
"In her memoir, ‘Forgetting to Be Afraid,’ which came out this week, Ms. Davis writes about the two wanted pregnancies she terminated. The first abortion ended a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy….The second pregnancy ended in the second trimester because the fetus had an acute brain abnormality.
Abortions like these represent the basic currency of the debate. These are the stories used to teach us the value of abortion, and the standard against which all other abortion stories must be gauged. By repeating only the gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, terrifying abortion stories, we protect a lie: that abortion isn’t normal. We have learned to think of abortion with shame and fear. We have accepted the damaging idea that a person who wants an abortion must grovel before the consciences of others.
I admire Ms. Davis for having the courage to say the word “abortion” over and over for 11 hours, as she did last year, while filibustering a Texas law that would have restricted access to the procedure. And I deeply respect her for telling her own stories now.
But those stories are not groundbreaking. They are politically safe, because no rational person could be anything but sympathetic and thankful that her experiences are extremely rare.
Abortion itself, however, is not rare.”
- Merritt Tierce for the New York Times
Definitely read the whole thing, it so succinctly and with a subtle gentleness that hides an underlying firmness makes the case for backing off from using only particular stories of abortion to make the case for reproductive rights. It’s an excellent description in much nicer language of the oldie but goodie “abortion on demand and without apology”.
We’ve got some shareable graphics in response to last week’s SCOTUS buffer zone ruling. Share away!
“MRAs reproduce the ideology of slavery with their conception of children as property; consequently, working to reproduce an environment that is conducive to Black marginality and suffering. Thus, MRAs push for the right to an abortion is a significant obstruction to the struggle for gender and racial equity.”
Marcus Lee wrote an amazing piece about how MRA efforts (like asserting abortion rights for fathers) manage to be both sexist and racist. Lee is a third-year student at Morehouse College and one of participants in RH Reality Check’s Young Writer’s Program.
(The article is great on its own; the enraged MRAs in the comments are just the icing on the cake.)
Oh my lord, the comments.
My two cents:
Many of the MRA comments claim that [cis]women having the only say in the carrying to term or termination of a pregnancy means that [cis]women can force [cis]men to unwillingly become parents, creating a situation of unequal parental rights.
Many comments do a great job of arguing against that asinine argument (I am particularly excited to have discovered the excellent argument that child support is not something that mothers have a right to but something that children have a right to), but there’s a problem with it that I didn’t see before I just couldn’t bear to read any more.
Decisions made before birth are not parental rights/decisions because there is no child to be the parent of. Deciding whether or not to continue a pregnancy is a medical decision about how a pregnant person wants to use their uterus (and the rest of their body along with it). The only person who gets to decide anything about that is the person with the uterus in question. Parenthood is once the baby is born and people have decided to raise it (which might not be the biological parents, SHOCKER).
"My body, my choice" only makes sense when someone else’s life isn’t at stake.
Fun fact: If my younger sister was in a car accident and desperately needed a blood transfusion to live, and I was the only person on Earth who could donate blood to save her, and even though donating blood is a relatively easy, safe, and quick procedure no one can force me to give blood. Yes, even to save the life of a fully grown person, it would be ILLEGAL to FORCE me to donate blood if I didn’t want to.
See, we have this concept called “bodily autonomy.” It’s this….cultural notion that a person’s control over their own body is above all important and must not be infringed upon.
Like, we can’t even take LIFE SAVING organs from CORPSES unless the person whose corpse it is gave consent before their death. Even corpses get bodily autonomy.
To tell people that they MUST sacrifice their bodily autonomy for 9 months against their will in an incredibly expensive, invasive, difficult process to save what YOU view as another human life (a debatable claim in the early stages of pregnancy when the VAST majority of abortions are performed) is desperately unethical. You can’t even ask people to sacrifice bodily autonomy to give up organs they aren’t using anymore after they have died.
You’re asking people who can become pregnant to accept less bodily autonomy than we grant to dead bodies.
reblogging for commentary
But, assuming the mother wasn’t raped, the choice to HAVE a baby and risk sacrificing their “bodily autonomy” is a choice that the mother made. YOu don’t have to have sex with someone. Cases of rape aside, it isn’t ethical to say abortion is justified. The unborn baby has rights, too.
First point: Bodily autonomy can be preserved, even if another life is dependent on it. See again the example about the blood donation.
And here’s another point: When you say that “rape is the exception” you betray something FUNDAMENTALLY BROKEN about your own argument.
Because a fetus produced from sexual assault is biologically NO DIFFERENT than a fetus produced from consensual sex. No difference at all.
If one is alive, so is the other. If one is a person, so is the other. If one has a soul, then so does the other. If one is a little blessing that happened for a reason and must be protected, then so is the other.
When you say that “Rape is the exception” what you betray is this: It isn’t about a life. This isn’t about the little soul sitting inside some person’s womb, because if it was you wouldn’t care about HOW it got there, only that it is a little life that needs protecting.
When you say “rape is the exception” what you say is this: You are treating pregnancy as a punishment. You are PUNISHING people who have had CONSENSUAL SEX but don’t want to go through a pregnancy. People who DARED to have consensual sex without the goal of procreation in mind, and this is their “consequence.”
And that is gross.
I discovered that TED and TEDWomen have never featured a talk on abortion.
…When I asked around, the consensus was that the omission was simply an oversight. But it turns out TED is deliberately keeping abortion off the agenda. When asked for comment, TED content director and TEDWomen co-host Kelly Stoetzel said that abortion did not fit into their focus on “wider issues of justice, inequality and human rights.”
“Abortion is more of a topical issue we wouldn’t take a position on, any more than we’d take a position on a state tax bill,” Stoetzel explained. She pointed me to a few talks on women’s health and birth control, but this made the refusal to discuss abortion only more glaring. In the last three years, the United States has seen more abortion restrictions enacted than in the entire previous decade; the United Nations has classified the lack of access to abortion as torture; and Savita Halappanavar died in Ireland because a Catholic hospital refused to end her doomed pregnancy. Just how is abortion not an issue of “justice, inequality and human rights”?
Unsafe abortion is responsible for 13% of maternal deaths worldwide and represents one of the four major causes of pregnancy-related mortality and morbidity
View of a piece of the March for Life, where a group of men (“300 Men Stand”) who, by their definition of the term, will never be pregnant, block people’s access to health care.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a challenge to a buffer zone law that protects patients and staff at clinics in Massachusetts from anti-choice harassment and violence.
Across the country, extreme, often violent, anti-choice protesters physically block access to clinics and intimidate people exercising their constitutionally protected rights. Learn more about this issue and the laws that exist to protect patients and their doctors.
Think back to everyone who argued that OWS protesters deserved police brutality because they were “disrupting business”. I’m assuming that this isn’t a big deal to these folks if the business being disrupted is one they don’t like.
Clinic escorts are fucking heroes. ThinkProgress has more on why abortion clinics need buffer zones.
For those you who want to act aghast that I’d use a term like “rape insurance” to describe the proposal here in front of us, you should be even more offended that it’s an absolutely accurate description of what this proposal requires. This tells women that were raped and became pregnant that they should have bought special insurance for it. By moving forward on this initiative, Senate Republicans want to essentially require Michigan women to plan ahead and financially invest in healthcare coverage for potentially having their bodies violated and assaulted. Even worse, it would force parents to have similar and unthinkably terrible discussions about planning the same for their daughters. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: This is by far one of the most misogynistic proposals I’ve ever seen in the Michigan legislature.
recent studies reveal that 100% of abortions are performed on women who do not wish to be pregnant and 0% of abortions are performed on conservative republican men
Yo, people, not women, but yes.
"SMILE: YOUR MOTHER CHOSE LIFE"
It’s getting old seeing the lady holding that sign outside the Planned Parenthood across the street just about every. fucking. day.
I mean, sure, my mom chose to carry me to term and then she also chose to raise me (those are not equivalent statements, abortion is an alternative to pregnancy, not adoption), but that’s the point: SHE CHOSE.
She wasn’t forced, it was what she wanted for her life, and we are both so much better off for it having been a real choice.
Also, I’ll smile when I feel like it, and not any other time.
There is a concept called body autonomy. Its generally considered a human right. Bodily autonomy means a person has control over who or what uses their body, for what, and for how long. Its why you can’t be forced to donate blood, tissue, or organs. Even if you are dead. Even if you’d save or improve 20 lives. It’s why someone can’t touch you, have sex with you, or use your body in any way without your continuous consent.
A fetus is using someone’s body parts. Therefore under bodily autonomy, it is there by permission, not by right. It needs a persons continuous consent. If they deny and withdraw their consent, the pregnant person has the right to remove them from that moment. A fetus is equal in this regard because if I need someone else’s body parts to live, they can also legally deny me their use.
By saying a fetus has a right to someone’s body parts until it’s born, despite the pregnant person’s wishes, you are doing two things.
1. Granting a fetus more rights to other people’s bodies than any born person.
2. Awarding a pregnant person less rights to their body than a corpse.
Hannah Goff (x)
A woman’s right to bodily autonomy outweighs fetal pain because we live in a society that does not force people to use their bodies to support others — not their organs, not their bone marrow, not their blood, not their skin. We do not force people to sacrifice parts of their bodies to save others not because we don’t care about a patient’s pain, but because we recognize that bodily autonomy is an essential part of a functioning free society. To suggest that we ignore that and make an exception when it comes to forcing pregnant women carry a pregnancy to term suggests that we force pregnant women to submit to a violation of their rights that we impose on no one else.