Yesterday I saw a YouTube clip of some
I'm all for that, but one thing
But back to what bugged me -- I know he had very little time to make his points and the interviewer dude kept interrupting him and asking stupid questions he'd already answered, but I got the impression the Congressman thought the only reason a woman chooses to abort instead of carrying the pregnancy to term is economic restrictions: if we provide more info and support for adoption services, women will be convinced to carry the pregnancy to term; if we provide them with proper welfare and social services programs to help them care for the child, women will carry the pregnancy to term instead of abort.
Again, the issue is not that simple. There are many, many reasons why a woman would choose to terminate a pregnancy. This is not a minor inconvenience, this is a life-changing event. Even if she does not intend to keep the child, the pregnancy itself will have a huge impact on her life (and take a huge toll on her body). Think about it. Think about, every day of those nine months.
Going to work, pregnant. Dealing with morning sickness (that lasts all day long). Fatigue, because your body is taking every available ounce of energy to form the fetus growing inside of you. Showing.
Buying new clothes to fit your new body -- bigger bras, because your breasts will get bigger (they're making milk, remember?) And, in case you don't know, bras are effin' expensive. Buying new pants. Buying new tops. Buying new shoes because your feet and ankles have swollen that much.
Think about doing your job every day, pregnant. FOR A CHILD YOU WILL NOT KEEP. Are you on your feet all day? Are you talking to people who will ask you about "the baby"? (Most low-income women -- who have difficulties affording birth control -- don't have cushy desk jobs; they have more physically-demanding jobs. Do you want to wait tables or scrub toilets or restock shelves in your third trimester? Or maybe you have a customer service job, where people will ask you all kinds of baby questions and insist on touching your stomach. What fun!)
Can you afford maternity leave? Even one weekend, to give birth and allow your body to recover? What if there are any complications with the pregnancy, and you need bedrest? Can you afford the pre-natal care? Can you afford the time off from work for the pre-natal care doctor's visits? If you suffer post-partum depression, will you be able to afford more time off to go see a psychiatrist or psychologist? What about anti-depressants, will you be able to afford those?
How are you going to face all those people you interact with on a daily basis after the baby is born, and you don't have it? How are you going to deal with their questions?
And even that is not even scratching the surface of the reasons why a woman chooses to terminate a pregnancy.
This is a deeply personal issue. The reasons I had for choosing to terminate my pregnancy are totally different from the reasons any other woman in the waiting room with me in the clinic that morning had. For some, the economic factor is a big deal. For others, money is not the problem -- the problem is much bigger than that.
This is why we need to leave the option open.
We need to do everything in our power to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place (birth control, comprehensive sex ed), but we need to leave the option open, for all the other reasons that your average Congressman can't even fathom.
Yesterday I used obesity as an analogy for the reproductive rights debate. I felt a little uneasy writing about it, because I am rather ignorant on the topic. Today, I read Julie Neumann's post on Change.org's Women's Rights blog, and I felt even more unqualified to have written what I did. Eating disorders are an extremely complex issue and the reasons why a person develops an eating disorder are very personal (unique to each person, there is not one easy answer); yesterday I reduced it to the stereotyped, simplified version (in my defense, I was not discussion the issue itself in depth, I was mentioning it as an example, but still).
Julie shares quotes from several people with eating disorders saying what their eating disorder is "all about" -- the reasons why they do what they do. I felt extremely narrow-minded and ignorant as I read; there is so much more to this issue that we don't even realize, because we are not there. (It's an excellent post, please read it.)
We're not going to fix it with a Band-Aid (eating disorders or reproductive rights). We need to do everything we can to fix the known causes and fix the stuff that we can fix (health care, access to birth control, comprehensive sex ed), but we're never going to make it go away completely. Which is why we need to allow each woman to make the choice for herself.