So now that I'm a momma, I'm all into the online birthing communities, too. Birthing rights and all that jazz... which is really just a subset of reproductive rights. My body, my choice: I get to choose how to birth my baby. I have a right to birth in a hospital, or a birthing center, or at home. I have a right to have a midwife, and a doula, if I want them. Makes sense, no?
Women need to be informed about their choices, what options they have when they birth. They need to know the risks of epidurals, episiotomies, and whether or not these are actually necessary (or desirable). They have a right to have an IBCLC available to help with any breastfeeding issues.
As I saw tweeted the other day, "Pro-choice" and "Trust Women" doesn't just apply to abortion -- it damn well applies to birth, too. The problem is that the conversation is so often derailed into "UR A MURDERERRR!!!" by the pro-"life" side so we don't get to talk about any real issues, we just spend our time pointing out their lies and fallacies.
Most women who have had an abortion either already have children or will have them in the future (when they're ready). "Women who have an abortion" and "women who have a baby" are not two separate groups. They're a Venn diagram, with a huge overlap in the middle.
We want the same thing: respect for women when it comes to their bodies. When and how to be pregnant. When and how to birth. When and how to feed their children.
Yesterday I saw the Ronald Reagan quote about how "everyone who is for abortion has already been born." I've seen it before, and ignored it, because it's a stupid quote pretending to be "clever." Unborn entities don't have opinions, so they can't be "for" (or against) anything. Plenty of people who have "already been born" wish they had not. Oftentimes they commit suicide. Or they turn to drugs or alcohol to dull the pain of living.
And plenty more of us would not have cared if we'd been aborted. You know why? BECAUSE FETUSES DON'T HAVE COGNITIVE PROCESSES OR THE ABILITY TO CARE.
The quote was not blog-post-worthy. What was, was where I saw it: I saw this quote on a birthing rights community page.
Those same women who are appalled that a doctor would force a C-section on a woman... are saying it's okay to force an entire pregnancy on her??
Here's my (first) response:
I'm surprised to see an anti-abortion statement posted today, when yesterday there was a question from a mom about doing a D&C for a molar pregnancy. I still don't know what a molar pregnancy is (haven't had time to Google it), but I know what a D&C is. It's one method of terminating a pregnancy (usually done in the second trimester, if I recall correctly). I had one, when I was faced with an unwanted pregnancy, just over a decade ago.
I have seen other posts (don't think it was on this page, but on another parenting/birthing-rights page) about moms seeking advice about a D&C after a miscarriage or stillbirth (to make sure all the tissue is actually out of the body, to prevent infection and/or other complications).
There are a bazillion different reasons why a woman may need to terminate a pregnancy. Sometimes it's because she's not ready to be a mother. Sometimes it's because she's not capable of being a mother -- financially, or mentally/emotionally, or physically. Sometimes it's because something is wrong with the pregnancy or the fetus -- like an ectopic or molar pregnancy. Sometimes it's because the fetus is already dead, but her body hasn't miscarried properly and removed all the tissue. I'm not and obstetrician, so I can't even begin to list all the medical reasons for an abortion.
Whatever that woman's reason is, SHE knows what's best for her. It's her body. She also knows what is best for that potential child -- deciding whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term is the first parenting decision a woman makes. Please respect her choice.
Just like a doctor doesn't have the right to force a woman to have a c-section if she doesn't want one, no one has a right to force a woman to have a pregnancy if she doesn't -- or can't -- want it.
One of the reasons the women who posted here and on other pages asking for advice on whether they should have a D&C for a doomed (or already terminated) pregnancy is because abortion has been so demonized in our society. It's a medical procedure. A necessary one. No woman makes the decision to abort a pregnancy lightly -- and any woman who would, is not apt for or perhaps capable of motherhood. Motherhood begins with pregnancy.
If you want to reduce the number of abortions that happen because of unwanted pregnancies, call your legislators and tell them to fund Planned Parenthood. Tell them to make birth control fully covered by insurance. Tell them to make hospitals stock emergency contraception in the ER for rape victims. Call your school board and your legislators and make comprehensive sex ed mandatory curriculum starting in middle school.
But don't criminalize or demonize abortion. You don't know that woman's story. You can't imagine what SHE is going through, because you are not her and you have not lived her life or survived the trauma that may be leading her to make that decision -- even for a very wanted pregnancy.
I went back and wrote some more comments (in response to one particularly rabid anti-choicer), which I may post here as their own mini-blogs, or I may dump in the comments here. Haven't decided yet.
But right now, my baby's calling me.