Hot Topic - GUEST POST
Abortion has always been a controversial topic that produces heated discussions, no matter which side a person is in favour of.
My new American friend “LeeAnne” has written a heart-felt, sincere, articulate, common-sense post on this very volatile topic. The writer in me is a wee bit jealous of her words but I asked her if I could share her post and she graciously said yes.
So here it is:
(First) I will add a trigger warning for content related to politics, religion (mild mention), sexual assault/violence, strong language, and the unedited sharing of my opinion.
I've already lost a couple (hundred) "friends," some family apparently, on FB for the views I've shared. Some have told me. Some just disappeared. That's okay. I don't delete anyone for differing opinions. I do however for harassment, threats of violence, or just continually being an outright ass, unless I already know that's just your personality and how you come across. That said, I love all my friends. You are still allowed, at least on my page, to express your opinions. I only ask the previously mentioned things be kept in mind. If anyone that chooses to read this, decides they just cannot agree to disagree (you will NOT change my mind) and wants to leave, you are free to do so.
Some parts of some statements may feel like a repeat. Bear with me. My brain is fried. And overall, this is a collection of various responses to numerous people. I will try to edit some to keep it coherent, but no promises.
So hold on to your scarlet letters...
I have REALLY tried to have rational discussions about this Alabama law. And as I will make it make more sense in a minute, I am "pro-choosing-life." As someone who had 11 miscarriages from ages 18-37, even as a rape survivor, I do not feel in my heart that abortion would ever be MY choice. I don't think I would even be able to give the child up. (I am an adoptive mother and absolutely advocate for adoption as one of the options.) However, I would never presume to tell another woman that she HAD to endure a pregnancy that could be life threatening, or that was born of rape, etc. Even though I wouldn't agree with just aborting because she didn't want it, and/or finances or the timing was inconvenient, STILL her choice. I can talk to her. Tell her the options available. Put her in touch with resources for help she may not know exists so she can be better equipped to raise her child. But in the end if she chooses abortion anyway, STILL her choice. I will not judge her. I will love on her.
Just like God and I will have a discussion about all the events of my life, good and bad, and I will be the one accountable, and maybe, well likely, surprised by some of the ways I failed that I was convinced was so right, so will everyone else. That is between them and God when the time comes. I think MANY will be surprised about some of the things revealed to us. And I accept that some don't believe in a higher power. That is between them and their conscience in that case. There will come a day when we will all know the truth.
If it was my young daughter, raped or molested, under this current law just signed in AL, then I would have 2 murder charges. I could not in good conscience force a CHILD to carry a child in any conceivable circumstance really. I'm not talking about an older teen, though I would still not FORCE my want on my daughter. But girls are getting periods as young as 8 years old now. You can bet your ass, if I had to drive her across state lines, that's what would happen. I'd take the charge. And for rape/molestation, well, that tells you where the 2nd charge would stem from. Does my belief in God and the Bible and being saved by grace tell me that I would be wrong and should forgive the person? Yeah. But as a fallible, irrational, human prone to all sorts of emotions and temptations, could I forgive and let "justice" take its course?
Well, knowing that JUSTICE looks like Brock Turner with a commuted sentence after 3 months because it was too hard for him? Or looks like the so called pastor who was just basically finger wagged because he was a man of God and had done so much "good?" Or looks like the rapist that served a ridiculous sentence, got out, and then pursued and WON parental and visitation rights to the child his victim decided to keep, as so many seem to think is the ONLY right option for the woman regardless of her age. Oh, she can give the baby up? So what happens when her rapist gets out of jail and then says, I never signed over my rights to MY child and have been denied due process and he goes and sues for custody of that child and wins? Now that mother has to spend every day knowing her RAPIST is raising the child she lovingly and righteously saved in everybody's eyes and there is nothing she can do about it.
So, could I make my daughter or granddaughter keep the baby regardless of her age? Could I forgive her rapist as the Bible has called me to do and let justice take its course?
I DO NOT KNOW. DO YOU? For absolute certain, do you know how you would respond to the most extreme of circumstances???
Further I have read posts and comments from a few people I considered very good friends that I know/feel were at least somewhat aimed at me (personal FRIENDS, not just people I know or that know our situation), saying that they couldn't believe the stance being taken considering *that person* (me) was "an *adoptive* parent herself." How I should know better. That abortion for any reason is murder. And how could I advocate for murder. That so many others would love to have the opportunity I had.
Well, there are over 6,000 foster children in Alabama with the majority living in group homes with only 1500 foster families available. Now, I know well the stories of the difficulty getting through the red tape to be approved to foster as well as to adopt. And I agree there are improvements that could streamline that process and get more willing families qualified. NOT arguing that. But if there are ALL THESE FAMILIES JUST BEGGING, then why aren't they getting certified and fostering/adopting these children? Could it be because they find most of these children "undesirable?" Most of them aren't babies. Lots of behavioral issues which are really only to be expected from children wounded in turmoil and separated from the very people that were supposed to love and protect them the rest of their lives. Having to possibly deal with biological parents in recovery from addiction or maybe even that aren't even pretending to try. Maybe one of those children sexually assaulted and having to deal with feelings way too big for them. Children that would be "too hard" to deal with.
If people were honest, they'd admit all these "people" they keep saying would adopt all of these children, really mean they would love to adopt a BABY. They hope and pray for some poor woman who got pregnant in unfortunate circumstances will agree to be their incubator and give them a baby. Those other kids...oh! "Somebody" else would love to adopt them, of course. They're lined up. Call DHR and ask. 😏
Now, I want to address something that seems to be falling to the heart of this. Abortions due to rape, molestation/incest. Those most upset about the law are really laser focused on protections for those victims being absent. Proponents say that it is such a small percentage, it isn't the big deal everyone is making it out to be. And that *they* have said they intend to add those protections back in after all is said and done and they amend the law. That more than 90% report it is just because they don't want the baby. Actually over 90% reported no reason (elected) or rather declined to provide a reason. Well, let's talk about that.
There are those that have expressed a line of thinking that while recognizing that there are conceivable and recognizable medical reasons that could jeopardize a woman's life, or where the baby would be determined to have a condition to be incompatible with life, as well as recognizing that even if we disagree with abortion outside of those reasons, there is still a compulsion towards acknowledging grace, mercy, and compassion towards victims of rape or incest; but that statistically as reported by women who have had abortions, that even with all of the reasons combined, abortion should be rare vs common place. Therefore, they feel that we need to put forth guidance and legislation for abortions that acknowledges and provides for them as safe, legal, and rare, as they should statistically be, while working on ways to prevent the other 90% +/- abortions that were not reported as having occurred for one of those reasons.
So -- okay. I get what they're saying. I still don't think we have the right to take away someone else's bodily autonomy as long as they are not harming someone else or encroaching on another's freedom or autonomy -- and that's where the personhood issue I will address later comes in.
I would also like to make the point that statistically, not even accounting for incest/molestation, that 65-70% of rapes go unreported. To put that in perspective, in women over the age of 18, a woman is raped every 92 seconds in the US. So, while most likely not ALL of the previously mentioned 90% are due to unreported rapes, and some women do keep the babies or give them up for adoption, it is still reasonable to conclude that at least a pretty substantial percentage of that 90% (I'd conservatively guess at least 25%) are due to rapes that were never reported. And that if a woman was too ashamed, scared, or whatever to report the rape to the police, the likelihood they would disclose it at the time of abortion is almost non-existent.
Let's look at some other statistics. One in four girls will be sexually assaulted/molested by the age of 18. More than 80% percent of those occur before the age of 8. (Same for 1 in 6 boys.) Is your stomach churning yet? And 90% of those assaulted or molested will have been victimized by a close male family member, family friend, child's friend's family member, or other TRUSTED ADULT. How about now? Just look at all the student - teacher incidents, and church leader - child incidents. Is your brain starting to formulate the numbers?
Now how many abortions do you think occur "unreported" period? Meaning it's not done in a clinic. I'm guessing there are very few that ever make it to a clinic in those instances, especially with long-standing incest and sexual abuse by a family member. They're likely beaten until they lose the baby. Or given a home abortion. All kinds of horrors to imagine. If you're not sick by now, I'm starting to wonder about you a bit? And a younger female 10, 11, 12 is going to be even less likely to understand what's really even happening, much less report it. I survived nearly 12 years of childhood sexual abuse, as well as rape as an adult. So I have a little experience with both situations. Thankfully, I never ended up pregnant from either scenario. I didn't have to make that choice. But numbers. Let's conservatively say that at least another 10% out of that 90% is child sexual abuse/incest/molestation.
Now we are talking about exponentially more women and children, making that the 2nd most common reason, just by statistical deduction.
Other childhood statistics from RAIIN:
From 2009-2013, Child Protective Services agencies substantiated, or found strong evidence to indicate that, 63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse. ***That was just the ones reported to CPS for investigation.
A majority of child victims are 12-17. Of victims under the age of 18: 34% of victims of sexual assault and rape are under age 12, and 66% of victims of sexual assault and rape are age 12-17. *** A bit different from a different source that said 80% occur before age 8 -- but also states that those are also by and large continuous occurrences, not one time isolated events.
Alabama legislators unabashedly and unashamed admitted, ADMITTED that they knew the law they just passed was absurd, extreme, and unenforceable, ON PURPOSE! They said it was written that way because people would react to it more strongly. Lawsuits would be filed to challenge it. And their hope was to end up in front of the SCOTUS and to force a review of Roe, with the hope of overturning it, as well as establishing as a standard of personhood -- when a baby is a person, a living being with a reasonably expected right to have their bodies protected and not be able to be destroyed or discarded merely because their mothers or fathers found themselves inconvenienced or financially unprepared, as well as the further reaching implications regarding criminal charges when a pregnant woman and/or her unborn child is murdered or the victim of manslaughter or other death due to negligent or purposely harmful actions by an individual or even the mother herself.
Now, I want to talk to you about the personhood language. What I am about to tell you is from a personal experience and in talking to a friend I heard a very similar story from them and I know at least one other mother it happened with as well. One of the women has told her story openly on occasion and I don't think she'd mind me sharing. But, I will let them share their own stories if they are comfortable with doing so. If you know either of those women, or someone with a similar story, I am going to request that you not disclose that here. Please respect their privacy and their story and allow them to speak when they are ready.
As I mentioned previously, I have suffered multiple miscarriages, and they've been at varying gestational ages. With one of those, (the last one particularly) I had progressed almost to the point that would have been considered the 2nd trimester, but not quite there. Having been devastated by a loss that would be our last as a hysterectomy followed, and since my husband was out of the country when we lost the baby, I had asked about the possibility of getting the baby that was extracted during D&C for the purpose of burying or cremating, privately. So we could grieve together. I was told that it was not possible. That the "products of conception" had been disposed of. They were considered "medical waste." What was a very real child to me, had basically just been called hazardous GARBAGE, trash, WASTE, and thrown in a F***ING waste bin with a red garbage bag.
I remember when I first heard my daughter's heartbeat and I, to my forever heartbreak and devastation, remember when I heard her last as it faded and the technician scrambled to find it again before getting the OB in the room. So, I don't know at what point we decide it is actually a "baby" or a person that has the rights of personhood, not just a clump of cells. But I DO know that the very same people that are RIGHT NOW talking about the heartbeat at 6 weeks (it actually begins around day 18 and is detectable between 4-6 weeks depending on the available technology) are the very SAME ones that have looked me in my eyes after at least one loss and told me how it wasn't like I lost one of my living children, that I had to "get over it" and move on for those children, that it wasn't like we couldn't always "have another," and the million other cold and heartless and de-humanizing things that people say to a mother that has suffered a miscarriage. I was never treated as if I had lost my baby. Women are not allowed to grieve miscarriages by such a large majority of society, at least not for more than a day or two. The fathers are allowed even less so.
My baby may not have been a "baby" by a medical definition. She was a 10 week old "fetus." She was barely the size of a raspberry. But she had a heartbeat. She was my child, my baby. And she died as I laid on a table in my doctor's office almost 6 weeks after I found out she was going to bless our family with her existence, while I watched and listened. If you doubt the profound sense of loss that I have felt over her death, you can ask my husband, who 8 years later still comforts me when he wakes me up from crying in my sleep, who recognizes before I do that I have been incredibly off kilter and tearful and that it's "that time of year." Ask him about his loss...I tell you now, he can barely talk about it.
I know laws aren't ruled by emotions and shouldn't be. That's why we have the rule of law. If we ruled by emotion, we would have already completely wiped one another off the planet. But I am tired of people deciding when a pregnancy constitutes it being a *baby* because it suits their cause and when it's an embryo or a fetus because it doesn't.
An Ohio legislator suggested that an ectopic pregnancy could just be moved to the womb. Problem solved. :::giant eye roll::: I didn't think anyone could top the most temple-rubbing thing said thus far in this whole brouhaha. Oh! But I was wrong.
A Missouri legislator, Barry Hovis, had this to say concerning the abortion ban in Missouri:
“Most of my rapes were not the gentlemen jumping out of the bushes that nobody had ever met. That was one or two times out of one hundred. Most of them were date rapes or consensual rapes, which were all terrible, but I sat in court — sat in court — when juries would struggle with those types of situations where it was a ‘he-said she-said,’ and they would find the person not guilty. Unfortunate, if it really happened, but I had no control over that, because it was a judge or a jury making those decisions. But we’ll just say someone is sexually assaulted. They have eight weeks to make a decision.”
Number 1: "Consensual rape" -- what in the Handmaid's Tale, Scarlet Letter, 400 year trip to the past, man-splaining hell is "consensual rape"? By definition, rape is defined by the lack of consent, either expressed or by means of coercion/fear, or mental incapacitation.
Number 2: Do you think that if Mr. Hovis was raped, he would be in a healthy place mentally, physically, or emotionally to be able to make a decision within 8 weeks regarding a pregnancy conceived from a situation from which all of his control and protection had been stripped from him from the very second it occurred? (A pregnancy that he may or may not be aware of by week 8.) As a rape survivor, I am going to say no.
I used to say I was pro-life. After talking with my 24 year old daughter in numerous conversations, and all the discussions and articles and happenings of the past few days, I have to sincerely amend that. I am pro-choice. Understand that pro-choice does not necessarily mean pro-abortion. I am pro-choosing-life. I am also pro-choosing-f***ing-common-sense, pro-responsibility, pro-accountability (for men, as well as the women), pro-sex education, and most importantly, pro-compassion. AND I am pro the government keeping their damned nose out of my religion, my marriage, my bedroom, and my uterus.
So, until MEN are the ones FORCED to carry the huge physical, emotional and mental burden such as pregnancy and child birth (which is inherently life threatening, especially in Alabama if you look at mortality rates), or they want to legislate mandated birth control for men, either chemical (meds) or by mandated vasectomy by age 12, or the male penis and each ejaculation which holds the potential for millions of lives with the same veracity and audacity that they dare to put forth against a woman's uterus, and until they also make the man accountable for supporting the child beginning at 6 weeks of gestational age and helping pay for prenatal care of that child, then I am going to need Mr. Ohio and Mr. Missouri and Ms. Alabama to pay attention to what their wives, daughters, granddaughters, grandmothers, sisters, nieces, mothers, coworkers, church members, mistresses, and friends as well as members of the medical community, rape survivors, survivors of childhood sexual assault, and well documented and substantiated data and statistics are telling them.
Leave a Reply.
Me? Canadian, writer, RN, crafter, Girl Guide Leader, Red Hatter, 3-dog owner, photographer, geocacher, cool Mom, and all around FUN and FUNNY person!
Shana Matthews's books on Goodreads