I just read a post over at tumblr, and started to write a reply. However, I feel that this is the better place, as it got rather longish.
When I first read about the “Pro-Life” movement, I thought that the lesbian and gay people should be glad that for once this didn’t concern them. Well, it does, of course, as the underlying what I will call “morals” here expose a climate where everything but sex for procreation is banned.
First of all, I strongly dislike the term “Pro-Life” as it implies other people were opposed to it.
All life is a choice. We have to face the consequences of our actions or non-actions. If this realization only sets in AFTER someone has become pregnant, something has gone terribly wrong. So, some thoughts, in no particular order.
From a relatively early age on you can become pregnant. Sexual education should set in well before that, and I mean the nitty-gritty stuff like contraception and protection against STDs. This includes an open-minded approach and explicit sexual education concerning gay and lesbian sex and for the heterosexual as well as the other faction should hint the idea that sex is more than intercourse. Which takes me to my next point…
The real sexual education takes place long before that age, as, maybe, sex is the cherry on the cake, but it involves a person with feelings, desires, and a soul. So it is all about self-esteem, self-respect and the respect for others. The simple rule #1 that can be applied to almost all fields of life, “Don’t be a dick,” should also have its place in relationships, however brief they are.
Everything that can consider itself education should render a person more unbiased, more relaxed and more comfortable with him- or herself.
This in turn brings me again to the “Pro-Life” faction, which has a huge foundation in the church which never had any great respect for women if they didn’t live in chastity or, best, were Holy Mary, freed of every sin. Suffering for the greater good is the lead motive here. The church — I am referring to the Catholic church, primarily — opposes contraception just as they refuse to accept homosexual acts as a normal human behavior.
The “Pro-Life” faction tries to make people feel guilty about being pregnant outside marriage, or of having aborted or pondering it, not even abhorring to use the word “Holocaust,” which is a blasphemy in the context.
Why do we bother to have sex?
People are born with the desire to sustain their lives and to make themselves comfortable, and maybe first and foremost to make the world around them a cozy place by social interactions. This includes sex. If the act wasn’t such a font of joy, no one would ever make babies. That does not mean by any means that other things aren’t just as much fun as well. A woman can bear a child about once a year, so that nature has provided us with a lovely sex drive that persists even during pregnancy shows another time that sex is meant primarily to maintain and stabilize relationships (I am not talking about fucked-up love-hate relationships here).
That it is possible to create offspring is one effect, but not the cause why we love to hug strangers, tickle our best friend into coma or fancy chicks in uniform, to pick some random examples.
Sex is more than sticking thingy A into thingy B, but if you indulge in the standard heterosexual sex, darn it, use frigging contraception, which by the way can be fun as well. What should lead you to do this is called BRAIN, which evolution or God gave you. Use it.
Flesh from your flesh?
When I was pregnant, I never felt my baby was a part of my body, even when it started to move. I perceived it as an individual, always. I sang songs to her, talked to her when she kicked me, tickled her feet pushing against my belly. Only since she was born I am really bonded towards her, before I just gazed in wonder at the 3D ultrasonics, looking at a stranger I was curious to get to know to. So, my perception and experience differ here.
A fetus doesn’t necessarily have the same blood group as the mother. That’s one of the causes why it is vital that they have a separate bloodstream from day one. A child has its own genome, and someone who bears another women’s child is just as pregnant, so the argument is just not true. A fetus is an individual, just hugely dependent on the womb. The question if you are bonded to the child in your womb isn’t the same as the question whether it is okay to kill it; those two things obviously have nothing to do with each other.
Some points of critique against some arguments used by “Pro-Choice”
Those are just exemplary, as the “Pro-Choice” movement seems a lot less unanimous than the “Pro-Life” faction, maybe because it is more liberal.
Being pregnant is not a disease
A woman’s body is constructed for it by evolution. (On average, and generally speaking.) Pregnancy is not harmful, it is in fact beneficial to your body in many ways. It lowers the count of periods you will experience in your lifetime as well as does things to your breast tissue, thus reducing your cancer risk significantly. In the middle ages it was always seen as a strange twist of God’s fancy that nuns in fact used to have the highest cancer rates among women.
A fetus is not a parasite
A parasite feeds on something, unwanted. The uterus, however, is lined with a tissue especially designed to make it a comfortable place, the umbilical cord is a marvel all by itself. So, maybe pregnancy has some parasitical aspects, but at any rate — the reference is off.
The comparison with a parasite is just as biased as the “Holocaust” reference on the other side. It is only designed to desensitize, respectively emotionalize, and thus, has nothing to do with the actual problem or its solution.
The Value Of A Man
Value of life is not determined by intelligence or the number of brain cells. We kill lifestock which surely is intelligent and surely has feelings. We kill in wars. People are different from animals? Yes, maybe, and surely in some ways, as cows, e.g., wouldn’t go to opera houses, even if they could.
The Now And The Future
When you decide for or against an abortion, it is your decision, as it is your body. It is wrong, though, to focus on what a fetus is. It is about what it may become. A grown-up asshole, a world leader, a bad musician, a great cross-dresser, or simply a happy person. Someone you could share your life with, someone that would maybe care for yours if you care for theirs. Someone you could be angry with, someone you could be proud of. Someone who will test your patience, causes you to reflect on your ways, and makes you grow up. Someone who would surprise you in many ways and would introduce you to very strange teenage idols and awful new music in about 13 years’ time.
However, you will never get to know this person if you decide for abortion, it won’t ever exist. You may regret your decision, in a year, in 10 years, or even in 30, and you won’t know it now.
What Is A Fetus, btw?
In humans, the fetal stage of prenatal development starts at the beginning of the 11th week in gestational age, which is the 9th week after fertilization.
Until then, abortion is legal in many countries. Considered that we have tender feelings for cute and tiny things, the cold way in which a fetus of that age is referred to as a mass of cells repels me.
In Ancient Greece it was mostly legal to kill children if it wasn’t possible to care for them; they didn’t have any civil rights. Nowadays this is perceived as right out of the question — of course — but we should give it a thought in the context. To belittle a fetus as a mass of cells seems to me just like a means to rid people of bad conscience. And as I said before, it is about potential, not the current status, as pregnancy is an evolution.
Misogyny and Misandry
Men usually have no word in the decision, and if they have, they are claimed to have talked a woman into an abortion, which is perceived as bad. Well, whatever they advise, they are usually called selfish. It is your body, surely, but not only your child. If you have some basic respect for the would-be-father, treat him like a human being. It is a strange curiosity that the often expressed misandry in the “Pro-Choice” movement somehow mirrors the misogyny on the other side.
Well, that’s about it …
Abortion is a hard decision to take. I judge no one for what decision she took. The decision you take there doesn’t only affect your uterus but your life henceforth. Things like whether your parents might be angry or not shouldn’t be your prime concern.
Children are either hyped as the best thing to have, the thing that renders your life fulfilled, or are portrayed as the cause of unemployment, social ruin and doom. Hey, children are fun, and even if it is a huge change: in the western world, hardly ever anyone physically starved to death because they had a baby.
So, be responsible, try to not get into the position to have to take a decision no one should have to make. You have a choice, which is: use frigging contraception. Only politicians and heads of churches are able to find an argument against this advice.
Well, America is a strange place. Just sayin’.