Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Process of Elimination

"you worried 'bout the wrong thing..."--Kanye West

Let me first say that I believe and fully support a woman's legal right to choose. God gives us the right to choose; the least the government can do is follow suit. And I, for one, could live without the litany of fetus legislation that's constantly being proposed. I also think it's the dumbest, red-herringest argument in the world to propose defunding Planned Parenthood, which happens to provide abortions in some of their nationwide clinics.

But. Having established legislative loyalties, I am also a person who does not believe in abortion personally, even while remaining dedicated to legally supporting it as an option for American women. The issue I take is simple, and it delivers a message to the larger culture: Stop trying to coax 'the sexy' out of abortion. It's not going to happen.

I am not one of those nutjobs who advocate endlessly counseling pregnant rape and incest victims about 'the right to life'--if you get pregnant by your father, counsel concerning the right to life is probably one of the last things on your mind. And, really, who among us but women who have gotten pregnant by rape or incest understand the level of trauma it results in, and who else but someone who had personally suffered that trauma could truly measure the weight of it on her shoulders? Every woman should make her own choices regarding what's right for her, her family, and her body. That's different for everyone, for a myriad of reasons. I want abortion to be, as Hillary Clinton once put it, "safe, legal, and rare". Incredibly rare.

But.

Even being "pro-choice" (not, as right-to-lifers put it "pro-abortion"), I am also not one of those people who think it appalling for there to be some rules and prerequisites for an abortion or for an order to be observed once the choice is made. I don't think it's some shockingly intrusive imposition for a woman to be shown a video of what's going to happen once she's on the table, and I don't see any harm whatsoever in having the process described in detail by the administering doctor. In short, I don't think we need to be fighting so hard to protect the delicate sensibilities of those who have opted to end a pregnancy, because, hello: An attempt at deterring a woman from having an abortion is not a bad thing. I am, however, obviously in the minority of choicers with this position, evidenced nearly every time I log onto my favorite "girly" blogs, at least the ones with fairly liberal feminist sensibilities. Which is pretty much all of them.

It seems as though every time I enter the blogsphere I come upon an angry feminist rant about how disgusting the attack on the 'right to choose' is, and I get it--sometimes. I believe in a woman's right to choose, mainly because it's dangerous to take that right away. The legality of the choice of whether or not to eliminate a pregnancy is a slippery slope, legislatively speaking. There's a such thing as the concept of giving the government too much power--let them legislate restrictions on whether or not a birth happens, for instance, and next thing you know birth *options* are on the congressional chopping block and natural births are suddenly mandatory except where medically impossible. And then the next thing you know, not breastfeeding is against the law and the tax on Similac mirrors that of the tax on nicotine. It might sound crazy, but you know it's not. All I know is: No one better try to force me to deliver anything naturally or I'll be having an Epidural and/or caesarean section with each of my beautiful little Canadians.

There is most certainly a war on women's bodies across the globe, and if we're truly going to be the land of free and home of the brave, that freedom has to include a woman's right to govern what happens in her own body in the same manner that will always be true for men. That said, we don't have to champion abortion like it's the automatic reaction to pregnancy. It's almost as though a portion of the population wants women to consider abortion no matter what their circumstances. The advertising campaign would go something like this:

"Pregnant? Happily married and wanted to be a mom your whole life? Consider an abortion!"

"Pregnant, 35 and in a committed relationship with a man who wants more kids than the Duggars, but not yet married and don't want to bring shame on your family who doesn't really care because you're almost 40? Consider an abortion!"

"Being pregnant sucks. Have an abortion."

"Worked really hard on your six-pack this year? Consider. An. Abortion." It's as though babies have become some type of feminist burden, as though they're no longer viewed as a gift from our Creator.

Well, they are. And it really boils my blood to see people wasting precious time picketing about parental notification, waiting periods, procedural education, and all the other legal rigamarole surrounding abortion debates. Let's keep it legal, but let's not make it akin to getting a pedicure. Let's not get so coarse as a society that we lose sight of the weight of ending a life. Children are God's most precious miracle. Yes, I believe in a woman's right to choose because I believe choice is a gift. But life is an even better one. Treasure both.

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