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katiebelle2882
was JUST coming in here to copy and paste that article. YAY for us. sucks its over 18 but this means at the very least people under 18 can have someone older get it for them very very easily. this is so so so good.
thingsarenice
It's nice to finally see some good news. True, it'd be better news if there were no need for anyone to show a prescription, but it's still good.
ginger_kitty
*throws up confetti!*

At least we get one victory, the war on bc has been discourageing lately!
maddy29
i was jumping around my room for joy yesterday. this is a HUGE victory! i can understand why it's tougher for them to make it available to people under 18, but hopefully we can keep pushing them to make it more available.

i'm so used to bad stuff happening, that i don't really trust this good thing. i feel like somehow bush and the religious zealots will find a way to fuck this up.

but, i'm still really happy and psyched! wooooo!!!!
tesao
SCORE one for the dudes in the white hats!!!! thank you for letting women make their OWN, INDIVIDUAL choice about what to do with their OWN bodies!!

now, if we could just get the government to stop teaching such nonsense as abortion causes cancer, and LET ADOLESCENTS have access to birth control, then there won't be any need for girls under 18 to have to obtain plan B illegally!

jeesh.

oh, and i'd like to ask people's opinions on something, because it has always upset me. why do people who feel that abortion is not a viable option feel the need to label themselves as pro-life? i consider myself to be pro-life. who wants to be pro-death?? that does NOT mean, however, that i am anti-abortion. i just feel that that sort of really important, LIFE-CHANGING decision should be left to the woman who will have to deal with the consequences, because it is HER body that will be dealing with ANY choice that is made. pro-choice is a good compromise to me, because though i probably would not choose to have an abortion myself, it does not mean that i want to restrict someone else's choice as to what HER best option is! any thoughts? monnikers that could be used for those who do not share my view to be called something else besides pro-life? without using a negative (as in ANTI-abortion)?
katze
The term pro-life is used because the emphasis is placed on the living growing fetus and what it's rights are as opposed to the emphasis being on the rights of the pregnant woman. The two terms are talking about completely different things really, and each have a different focus. People who are pro-life are not neccessarily anti-choice just like people who are pro-choice are not neccessarily pro-death.

I have a question for those that are pro-choice. Do you believe that a zygote, fetus, etc is alive? I know that pro-choicers don't believe it's a "baby", but is it life?
crazyoldcatlady
to stoke the fires....

to that end, every cell in my body is "alive". Does that mean I'm killing a "life" if I cut my skin, or get an organ removed?

:::shrugs:::

but yeah, katze, there's a whole spectrum of beliefs that can't possibly be pigeon-holed into those two categories.


i am still, anxiously, awaiting an anti-abortion perspective on hydatidiform moles and other anomalous fertilizations gone awry. is it still considered a "life" then?

(just curious; non-confrontational here)
erinjane
I don't like the pro-choice term either. When I'm usually talking about abortion debates I tend to say "anti-choice" but that's not the best either. I'm not really sure what else I could use though.

I guess i would say it's alive in terms of it being a bundle of living cells, but that doesn't mean a whole lot to me.
katze
crazyoldcatlady, I don't know what the typical pro-life position is on hydatidiform moles. I don't know a lot about them myself, but I would say they are a life which is malformed. They eventually die due to malformation, so there isn't really an issue with them in terms of abortion (since they are naturally aborted).

When I ask if a fetus is a life, I mean is it an individual life distinct from the living body of the pregnant woman?
jsmith
When you put it that way...
I'd say a fetus is not an individual life, as it cannot survive (depending on the age, that is) outside the woman's body.
BTW, what is a hydatidiform mole?
roseviolet
I have always suspected that the real question isn't "Is it a life?" but "Does it have a soul?". Is the soul created at the moment that sperm meets egg? Is it something that develops over time and experience? Or is the "soul" a fallacy? It's one of those things that cannot be proven. Hence, the disagreements.

There are many pro-life followers out there who are also pro-execution. That's the thing I really don't understand. But of course, that topic doesn't belong in this thread. smile.gif
pepper
souls are not created, imho, souls decide to inhabit a body for a time and then decide to leave it. how does one kill a soul, exactly? since it is not 'living' in the sense of a physical being... kind od a moot point in that case.
katze
I suppose the issue of a soul would affect the "value" of the clump of cells or fetus. I think that all living things have a soul including animals and plants. I think such a soul is neccessary for life, the soul being the life force. The issue of dependency of the growing fetus on the mother doesn't render it not an individual life. All life forms are dependent on one system or another throughout their life. In the case of a fetus, there is extreme dependence on the mother with less and less as the fetus/clump is born and grows into an adult human. Of course none of this can be proven, as it is my opinion/belief. The vast variety of such beliefs about the value of different life forms causes the conflict and debate, including the value of near extinct animals and plants in addition to the value of different stages of life in those animals and plants. The lack of value perceived in the human cell clump within the pregnant woman is what saddens me.

I don't understand pro-lifers who are also pro-execution either.

Again, I can propose a new thread if you would all prefer this stuff not be discussed here. I don't want to continue a discussion where it doesn't belong.
greenbean
Hi guys! I've been on vacation so I havnt been here for awhile...

Katze, I personally dont think a new thread is needed.
In regards to this discussion, I do think a fetus has 'value', but I dont think its a life
in the sense of the way I see myself as a life. I consider myself of higher value than a
fetus. To me a fetus is a POTENTIAL life. Sure it has value, but I think an actually living
breathing adult or child has more value. I also think that everyone who values children
should put their energy into caring for all the suffering children that have been birthed,
instead of trying to force more unwanted kids into the world.

I too am happy about the morning-after pill news,...but it still baffles me that its even
controversial. Besides its just birth control, and EVERYONE uses some form of birth
control. Pro-lifers should be embracing this news.

Thanks for the article ginger kitty! I did have an aunt who died right after delivering
a baby, so yes, it is still a risky thing to bear children.
tesao
greenbean: i think that the issue is problematic. it doesn't hold true in all cases, but in my political/professional career, which has very often dealt with access to quality, legal abortion and contraception, it has been my experience that people who do not like abortions do not like contraception, either. go figure. if contraception were more readily available to younger women, who are the largest group in terms of procuring abortions, then abortions would be less necessary. it's logical, but i think that the issue tends to be more of a moral one. you know the rationale: sex is for procreation. procreation should occur only within wedlock. contraception promotes illicit sex. illicit sex for the purpose of enjoyment = bad. therefore contraception = bad.

then again, i could be completely mistaken.
roseviolet
Tes, I think you hit the nail straight on the head. And this drives me insaaaaaaane!

When I was in school, we basically had a Just Say No chapter in our science books: say no to cigarettes, say no to crack, and say no to sex. It was ridiculous! Sadly, at the time I didn't realize how ridiculous it was. I only really learned about pregnancy risks and contreception years later when I first went to a Planned Parenthood clinic. I cannot tell you how furious I was a t my school system after that!

I can completely understand why it is better for my health to avoid cigareetes and drugs, but sex? If it weren't for sex, none of us would be here. Sexuality is not something we can or should ignore. And how on earth should we expect our children to pretend it doesn't exist? For one thing, our world is full of sexual images now. And even if it wasn't, there's no denying the changes that happen to a young adult's body. And the new sexual feelings they have are impossible for them to ignore. It's hardwired into their bodies. It's natural.

We shouldn't walk around with blinders on and pretend it doesn't exist. It is a natural part of who we are - a drive that is a part of every healthy human being. So the best thing we can do is learn about it. And the best way that we can prevent unwanted pregnancies is to educate people on how to have safe sex. This is so painfully obvious and I am extraordinarily frustrated by people who don't get it.
vesicapisces
For jsmith, or anyone else who was wondering:

Hydatidiform mole, AKA molar pregnancy

A hydatidiform mole results from over-production of the tissue that is supposed to develop into the placenta. The placenta normally nourishes a fetus during pregnancy. Instead, these tissues develop into a mass. The mass is usually made up of placental material that grows uncontrolled. Often, there is no fetus at all.

The cause is not completely understood. Potential causes may include defects in the egg, abnormalities within the uterus, or nutritional deficiencies. Women under 20 or over 40 years of age have a higher risk. Other risk factors include diets low in protein, folic acid, and carotene.
chani
I often use the following hypothetical situation to illustrate why the pregnant woman's rights are paramount:
What if your neighbour's child needed a kidney and you were a matched donor? Yes, ideally you would donate, but you can't be forced to donate! There's a risk of death, your existing family relies on you, you'd have to take time off and maybe lose your job. People would understand if you couldn't donate, even if that child might DIE waiting for a donor.
If you can't be forced to donate a kidney to save a life, how can you be forced to donate your uterus? Even if you believe the fetus is alive, your own body and health are yours to control.
tesao
molar pregnancies are not always spontaneously aborted.

i know of many circumstances when a woman was carrying a non-viable fetus (one that could not live outside the womb for various serious problems -- such as formation of the brain outside of the skull or a head with no brain whatsoever) in which the women carrying them were persuaded by right to life groups to carry the fetus to term, go through labor, all the time knowing that the fetus would either be born dead or die the minute that the umbilical cord was cut.

this is ONE reason why there is (and should be) an option for late term abortion.

essentially, what Roe v Wade stipulates is that the rights of the woman carrying the fetus outweigh any "rights" that people may abscribe to the fetus. that is the basis of the argument, and why so many people are trying so very hard to win fetal rights -- to prove that the fetus is a person, and therefore the woman's rights can not be considered more important.

if anyone suceeds in a legal court within the united states with a verdict that a fetus has rights, then it ostensibly confers on it the notion that it is considered alive, human. and Roe v Wade falls apart.
katze
QUOTE(chani @ Aug 28 2006, 06:26 PM) *

If you can't be forced to donate a kidney to save a life, how can you be forced to donate your uterus? Even if you believe the fetus is alive, your own body and health are yours to control.


Carrying a pregnancy to term is not the same as going out of ones way to save a life that is already on the verge of death. The fetus is in a state of growth. If you do nothing, it will continue to grow. Unlike someone dying of disease, if nothing is done they will die, requiring added procedures just to maintain their life. Certainly carrying out a pregancy requires sacrifice and inconvenience on the mother's part, but it is a natural function of the body that will go on as long as she continues to live noramally. Abortion is intervening in the process and causing death when it otherwise might not have happened.

For me this isn't so much a matter of rights. I'm not interested in limiting the rights of women, even if we choose to do potentially destructive things (and abortion is a destructive procedure that can cause permanent damage to the body). But there is a difference between what a person can do and what is best for a person to do. I can sit on my ass all day in front of the tv eating buckets of fried chicken, but should I? Would it be best for me to do this everyday? Republicans can continue to cut taxes for the rich and cut social programs for the poor, but should they? I'm more interested in whether abortions are good for women, not whether we can have them or not.
pepper
as to the question of whether abortions are Good for women or not, that depends entirely on the individual woman, does it not? and it should ultimately be her decision as to whether it is a "healthy" choice for her. assuming of course that "healthy" in this case encompasses more than the simple physical effects of pregnancy and all that it entails. since we aren't simply a physical shell devoid of emotions and other factors, i certainly hope that's what was implied by "healthy".
erinjane
I agree pepper. I don't think that you can say whether abortion is good for women as a whole. I think the choice is definatly good as a whole. Everyone's physical and mental capacity is different. I see the lobby against abortion as totally ignoring this fact.

For example, if I were to get become pregnant and it wasn't planned, i could be putting myself in a dangerous and extremely unhealthy situation because I have type 1 diabetes. For me, an abortion would be healthier then a pregnancy. If I got pregnant and somehow managed to get a couple of months without knowing, I could have already done irrevisable long term damage to the fetus and myself. So if I (knock on wood) did have to deal with an unplanned pregnancy the healthy thing for me (both mentally and physically, IMO) would be to abort. I've already been told by numerous doctors that if and when i want to get pregnant it has to be planned out carefully in advance to ensure safety to myself and the fetus.
greenbean
Totally. Abortions that hurt or kill women are usually because they are done illegally and in unsafe conditions. Pregnancies that hurt or kill women happen too, (perhaps more often, I dont know that stats) and even with state-of-the-art medical care. My aunt who died after childbirth did nothing out of the ordinary during her pregnancy and saw a doctor regulary. No one predicted that her body would not be able to handle the birth. My sister has also been told that she cannot get preggers without careful planning, bacause she has a medical condition. So really, we can equally ask "Is pregnancy good for women?"
lucizoe
Loving that ignore button

Carry on the reasoned, thoughtful debate y'alls

Peace!
pepper
ha ha, it's been awhile since i saw that lovely bold font eh? loving the ignore.

the way that the medical establishment acts pregnancy is the worst kind of disease there is requiring massive amounts of intervention and monitoring. i chose to forgo all medical treatment during my pregnancy and i'm so glad i did. it's not an illness, though it certainly gets treated like one. the way doctors behave towards a pregnant woman, i'm surprised anyone gets pregnant at all!!
sheffield_steel
QUOTE(katze @ Aug 29 2006, 12:32 PM) *

... there is a difference between what a person can do and what is best for a person to do. I can sit on my ass all day in front of the tv eating buckets of fried chicken, but should I? Would it be best for me to do this everyday? Republicans can continue to cut taxes for the rich and cut social programs for the poor, but should they? I'm more interested in whether abortions are good for women, not whether we can have them or not.


Good luck finding someone to debate this with you. In my experience, there are precious few people who think abortion is a good thing. On the other hand, plenty of Busties have quite strong opinions on the subject of choice (hence the title of this thread).
_octinoxate
Hey everyone, I don't have anything to contribute to the discussion itself, but I just wanted to drop a line and say that I really appreciate the high level of respect in this dialogue. In the great debate of, well, Katze v. Everyone Else, I do think both sides are providing worthwhile points in a calm and polite manner. It's refreshing to see this in a dialogue about this topic!
princessinabox
Yeah, underpopulation is a real world problem. It may lead to horrible things like underusing the world's resources. Hopefully we'll get more bans on abortion here in the states so we can reproduce like bunnies to make up for those irresponsible Europeans.
pepper
psst, princess, did you know that you can put certain posters on 'ignore' (in my controls)?
please don't feed the trolls while you're here. thanks!
princessinabox
good to know...I'll use that in the future smile.gif
sheffield_steel
I love the way that so many anti-choice people completely overlook the whole area of sex education and contraception. It's as if it's simply too painful for them to look at the beam in their own eye. These people behave as if abortion is the only way of not having babies (other than the ever-popular idea of abstinence of course).

Once you have made the fundamental error of assuming that your choices are abstinence, abortion or childbirth, it's easy to see why you might think that abortion is the reason why birth rates are dropping in countries where women have access to education, employment, contraception... (whisper it) all those good things that are associated with lower childbirth per capita.
katze
QUOTE(sheffield_steel @ Sep 5 2006, 06:11 PM) *

Good luck finding someone to debate this with you. In my experience, there are precious few people who think abortion is a good thing. On the other hand, plenty of Busties have quite strong opinions on the subject of choice (hence the title of this thread).


As a feminist, I think it's important to focus on what is good for women and fight to protect those things first. From what I know of abortion and why many seek it, it seems that women often feel pushed into a corner and actually without choice. Many times unmarried young women from conservative backgrounds are pressured to have abortions by parents because their family would suffer too much embarrasement if everyone found out their daughter had sex. Other times they simply don't have the support of parents or their boyfriend to go through with the pregnancy because the unplanned preganacy is seen as a problem with no other solution. Sometimes women are a bit older and more mature and are actually in a position to make their own choices, but feel they have no other way of continuing with education or career goals than to have an abortion. To me none of these situations are about choice. True choices would include the potential to have both career and kids, and to have support during such a stressful time in a teenager's life as an unplanned pregnancy.

The female reproductive system is thought of in our culture as a burden that women must endure. And when it functions normally by producing offspring from time to time this is seen as a major burden and a problem that women have to deal with oftentimes alone. Abortion is championed as the great savior to women, a way to relieve them from their womanhood, in a way.

What would be good for women is for our culture to support this fundamental aspect of womanhood. Pregancies are usually unpredictable. That is their nature, and this should not be seen as a problem, but as something that can be dealt with. Young women should not be shamed into abortions. Unplanned pregancies should not be assumed to be unwanted. Many out their cannot have babies and would gladly adopt them. A change in attitude that celebrates the female reproductive system and new life is what's needed for women to have a real choice.
sybarite
Katze, as octinoxate remarked, I am glad this discussion has been reasoned and calm thus far. Debate gives us all a chance to articulate our views and hopefully to hone our ability to do so.

Abortion, legal or illegal, will continue to take place. Women will always need abortions for different reasons and will seek them out. It is important therefore to provide safe abortion which is easily accessible to women, instead of endangering them any more through delays caused by travel or saving up the cost of a termination, or by putting them at risk of an unregulated abortion which is unsafe.

Where I live, abortion is illegal. This does not stop women getting abortions; however, it restricts access considerably as women have to travel some distance. What this means generally is that middle class women travel to get a termination; working class women, who have less financial resources, often can't afford to. These women also have less resources to take care of an unwanted child but their choice is hampered and restricted; hence an unwanted child is born who in some cases is then funded at least partly by the state.

As sheffield said, abortion in itself is not a good thing. It is, however, a necessary thing, and women will continue to seek it out however obstacles are put in their way. Increasing the amount of unwanted, potentially neglected children is no solution, IMO.
msp
QUOTE(katze @ Sep 11 2006, 06:48 AM) *
From what I know of abortion and why many seek it, it seems that women often feel pushed into a corner and actually without choice.

In the examples you cite, the availability of abortion for women isn't the problem. It's the parents, partners, lack of support system, etc. that compel women to seek abortion. That isn't choice, the choice that those of us who support full reproductive rights for women are talking about. You're talking about forced abortions, and I don't think you're going to get many people on these boards coming out in support of that.

QUOTE(katze @ Sep 11 2006, 06:48 AM) *
True choices would include the potential to have both career and kids, and to have support during such a stressful time in a teenager's life as an unplanned pregnancy.

You'll find a vast majority of feminists do support programs and governmental policies that would make it easier for women to work and have children.

QUOTE(katze @ Sep 11 2006, 06:48 AM) *
Abortion is championed as the great savior to women, a way to relieve them from their womanhood, in a way.

I find this deeply troubling. The ability to conceive and bear children is not the essence of womanhood. There are many women who will not or can not have children, and here you're suggesting that they are somehow less.

QUOTE(katze @ Sep 11 2006, 06:48 AM) *
What would be good for women is for our culture to support this fundamental aspect of womanhood.

I strenuously disgree with this statement. It's painfully reductionist, for one. We are far more than our uteruses. I say this as a woman who does plan to have children, hopefully sooner rather than later, and happily so. But the sun does not rise and set over my uterus and what it can do. Again, what of women who don't, or can't, fulfill this so-called "fundamental aspect of womanhood?" As a self-identified feminist, you're describing a fairly one-dimensional and regressive view of what it is to be a woman.
ginger_kitty
Wow, katze, not to be rude but you seem really misinformed. *bangs head on desk after reading your post*

I have to say I disagree with 80 to 90 percent of the things you said. A lot of women choose abortion b/c based on thier situation after weighing all of thier options, that is the best choice for them.

And please, please exlpain what you meant by "fundamental aspect of womanhood." Surely I have misunderstood that statement. You can't possibly believe the core of a woman's importance is to bare children.

katze
msp, I understand that many issues I brought up are not related to women's access to abortion. These are examples of coerced abortion, but this type of situation is all too common for many women facing an unplanned pregnancy. I wish more feminists would speak out about the lack of choice for women to have babies and either raise them or give them up for adoption, but I rarely hear this perspective. That is why I brought it up in here.

ginger kitty and msp, when I say that childbirth is a fundamental aspect of womanhood, I don't mean that this is the only aspect of womanhood, it's just one major aspect. Of course women do not have to have children to fullfill thier purpose or anything like that. I just meant to say that this is an outstanding quality in women and one way in which we are unique. This natural quality of women ought to be celebrated rather than treated like a burden.

Unplanned pregnancies are assumed to be a problem, particularly a woman's problem (the fact that a man was involved seems to be forgotten.) Why should a woman be forced to sacrifice, either her own life or that of her unborn fetus? Is this really a fair choice? Ginger kitty, many women, particularly teenage and young women feel they have no other option than abortion. Many women that I know that had abortions faced this situation when they were young. For those that you refer to who were able to make a thoughful informed decision after weighing their options, I'm curious to know why they chose abortion. I'm curious to know if they felt that this was a good solution.
katze
QUOTE(sybarite @ Sep 11 2006, 07:55 AM) *

Katze, as octinoxate remarked, I am glad this discussion has been reasoned and calm thus far. Debate gives us all a chance to articulate our views and hopefully to hone our ability to do so.

As sheffield said, abortion in itself is not a good thing. It is, however, a necessary thing, and women will continue to seek it out however obstacles are put in their way. Increasing the amount of unwanted, potentially neglected children is no solution, IMO.


Yes, I'm glad too that others are willing to discuss this with me in a calm rational way. I had no intention of causing a heated debate. These are issues that I'm deeply concerned about in terms of how they relate to feminism and the progress for the lives of women in our society. I brought it up here, because I wanted to discuss these issues with other feminists.

If several in here agree with me that abortion in itself is not good, then why is it so heavily promoted by feminists?

I understand that abortions will always be sought out regardless of the law. That is why I'm not in favor of making it illeagal. But are abortions really necessary? If so, then why are they necessary? Is the lack of support to carry a pregnancy to term the real problem? Is the lack of support for raising children, adopted or otherwise, one of the many problems?
snafooey
I don't have a lot of time to comment too much right now, but I would just like to add that I do not look at abortion in terms of "bad" or "good." I see it as neutral. As far as medical procedures go, no, it's not getting your tonsils out but if I honestly thought it was "bad," (as in, morally wrong, which is how I would define the word "bad" in this context, although I'm not sure if that's what you're getting at exactly) I wouldn't be pro-choice. I don't think abortion should be used as birth control, but I am not just pro-choice b/c I know women will have them anyway and I want them to be safe. I'm pro-choice because I don't think a woman should have to carry a fetus to term if that's not what she wants to do. If a woman is in a loving partnership and is financially stable, takes all the right precautions and still manages to get pregnant but doesn't want to carry that pregancy to term, that's still her prerogative - and I say that as a woman who loves babies more than anything and hopes to have one myself one day. Disenfranchised women are often denied access to abortion, but they are not the only ones seeking them. Unless you're saying that every woman who doesn't want to have children shouldn't even have sex, accidents will happen even with the best of intentions.

Having a child isn't any more a fundamental aspect of womanhood than it is of manhood.
roseviolet
QUOTE(snafooey @ Sep 12 2006, 12:38 AM) *

Having a child isn't any more a fundamental aspect of womanhood than it is of manhood.


Thank you for this, Snafooey. I could not have said it better.
anoushh
Control of my reproductive system and choices is a fundamental aspect of personhood.

msp
I think what's bothering me the most here is that Katze seems to fault the availability of, or access to abortion, rather than the lousy circumstances that compel women to seek an abortion. I identify the problem as a country in which single mothers are far, far more likely to live below the poverty line, where the availability of affordable day care is crap, where young people fail to receive accurate sex education, where young women are all too often valued for their ability to please men rather than their intelligence or strength, where families and communities fail to support women who do choose to give birth, where women recognize that in this sexist world her hopes of an education and/or a career may be dashed if she has a child. To me, that's the problem, and abortion is only a symptom. If we could actually and honestly address the sexism... nah, why sugarcoat it... the misogyny in this society, I strongly suspect the abortion rate would go down.
snafooey
I agree completely Msp, but I would still argue that even in a utopian society, abortion would still be an issue.

Katze, I just wanted to add that I don't see abortion as "heavily promoted" by feminists - I see reproductive freedom, i.e., the ability for women to make informed choices about their reproductive health and access to the education and services that would allow them to make those choices as a basic feminist value. I don't think anyone here is saying that women should be having abortions - the point is more that a woman's authority over her own body should be a right, not a privilege. If a woman can't even have that, than how can she have authority anywhere else? That's the issue for me anyway, and that's why I think it's a major feminist issue. Not b/c feminists are "pro-abortion" or because it trumps issues like poverty, education, personal safety, the glass ceiling, etc., but b/c all of those issues are related to one another. If a woman doesn't have control over own body, she's not going to be in control on the streets, in the boardroom or anywhere else.
msp
QUOTE(snafooey @ Sep 12 2006, 11:42 AM) *

I agree completely Msp, but I would still argue that even in a utopian society, abortion would still be an issue.


No, I agree. I'm sorry if that wasn't clear in my post. My point is just that with societal, economic, political, etc. supports in place, fewer women would seek abortions. I suspect we're on the page there.
ginger_kitty
Snaf and msp, took the words out of my mouth. Another really important reason most feminists allign themselves with the Pro-Choice movement is we know what happens when the option is stripped away. countless women have injured and accidently killed themselves or been killed seeking out illegal abortions. I can't really label it as good or evil, since it's a medical procedure, I don't think of it those terms.

PS my favorite part of the ignore feature is you can add as many lame alias(s) as you need to. wink.gif
katze
QUOTE(msp @ Sep 12 2006, 09:42 AM) *

I think what's bothering me the most here is that Katze seems to fault the availability of, or access to abortion, rather than the lousy circumstances that compel women to seek an abortion. I identify the problem as a country in which single mothers are far, far more likely to live below the poverty line, where the availability of affordable day care is crap, where young people fail to receive accurate sex education, where young women are all too often valued for their ability to please men rather than their intelligence or strength, where families and communities fail to support women who do choose to give birth, where women recognize that in this sexist world her hopes of an education and/or a career may be dashed if she has a child. To me, that's the problem, and abortion is only a symptom. If we could actually and honestly address the sexism... nah, why sugarcoat it... the misogyny in this society, I strongly suspect the abortion rate would go down.



msp, I feel that you are putting words into my mouth. Once again, I am not speaking about access to abortion here. I'm not personally concerned about that issue, though I do prefer that safe abortions be availble rather than women seeking unsafe ones.

I am speaking about the lousy circumstances that drive women to have abortions, whether it be financial or pressure to abort by family, etc. These circumstances are a major problem that affect women in many ways beyond even whether or not they should bear children. I feel that focussing on the availabilty of abortion takes the focus off of solving these problems.

For example, if I had gotten pregnant a couple years ago, it would have been a very difficult time for me. I was unmarried, just starting grad school, had no money, etc. I would have faced possibly dropping out of school just as I was starting, plus the stigma that I had somehow been irresponsible by getting pregnant and putting my future at risk. But it is easy for our society to not thouroughly address these problems because I could avoid it all by simply having an abortion. Personally that is a choice I could never make because I do believe that it is killing, plus abortion would be physical violence to my own body. I would have felt like I had no choice other than to put my education on hold and endure the whispers and judgements of others (yes they do still exist in our culture). The emphasis on abortion as a solution gets in the way of real solutions to these problems affecting women.

When I speak of pregancy and childbirth as something fundamental to women, I mean the physical aspects and the ulitmately the responsibility. Men can be fathers, but they cannot be mothers. They can be a parent but they cannot carry a child, birth the child, breast feed the child. These are experiences unique to women and the bond experienced with the child is unique to women. This is a very special thing that we are capable of and it's something that profoundly affects the baby throughout their life, even after infanthood is over. If this special quality that women have were cherished more, than an unplanned pregnancy wouldn't be a "problem" that needs a solution.

When I ask if abortion is "bad" for women, I don't mean morally. I mean is it beneficial or detrimental to women. Does abortion further our cause, so to speak. I feel that it doesn't, as I addressed above.
pepper
reading your post what i'm taking from it is not that abortion is not good for women but the attitude that fosters abortion as an alternative IS. that's basically what you already said except for the end part. so we're having a chicken and egg discussion here. does abortion as an alternative foster a culture that promotes it and doesn't support the alternative, or do we have a culture that is inhospitable to woman having babies in anything less that an ideal situation thereby making abortion such a viable solution?
yes to both. it's unreasonable to address only ONE side of that expecting a cultural turn around. ceasing to make abortion available through safe and legal channels will not change the attitudes that make it so neccessary for women (ie your story in particular) to have as an option.
what's the solution? it isn't one side or the other, i think the answer lies midway. creating culture that is more accepting of pregnancy, birth, healthy sexuality etc might possibly reduce the incidences of abortion in women who feel that there is no alternative to them. but those aren't the only women who choose that option, not by a long shot. what about them?
sybarite
Katze, personally it seems to me that that 'special quality' of women-as-childbearers is already celebrated, as long as the child is born in socially sanctioned circumstances: i.e. within a traditional marriage. If anything, women as potential mothers is overemphasised, leading to legislation which considers all women to be pre-pregnant, for example. Yet, as others here have pointed out, there are deep contradictions in this emphasis as support systems (in the US) are still lacking for poor and working mothers. As pepper says, there needs to be a greater acceptance of pregnancy and childcare for all women, not just the socially and economically approved.

I think what you may be getting at is the idea of abortion as a 'quick fix' solution for women who don't want a child and feel they can't pursue alternatives like adoption. I think looking at abortion as a fast and easy solution is erroneous, not least because it's getting more difficult to attain one but also because so often it is not a knee-jerk decision but something the woman has thought carefully about.

Women who have chosen to have an abortion often do so because it really is the best choice for them, not because they were coerced into it, and they make that choice for myriad reasons. Because of this their right to that choice and to their privacy must be upheld. Otherwise you open up the potential for a scenario in which some reasons for having an abortion are considered to be more valid than others.
katze
QUOTE(sybarite @ Sep 13 2006, 07:10 AM) *

Women who have chosen to have an abortion often do so because it really is the best choice for them, not because they were coerced into it, and they make that choice for myriad reasons. Because of this their right to that choice and to their privacy must be upheld. Otherwise you open up the potential for a scenario in which some reasons for having an abortion are more valid than others.


We can go on and on about whether or not women are coerced into abortion. I know it happens, though of course not in all cases. I would bet most women are not happy to have abortions or even neutral, like someone said it's not really as simple as having tonsils taken out. Personally I just don't see the choice to abort or live less of a life as really being much of a choice. Neither of these options leads to feeling empowered. Of course I wouldn't want to feel forced into carrying a preganancy to term either. The best way to handle the situation is to continue access to abortion, but to promote other options and create a system to sustain them. This would include better health care, better child care options, streamlining the adoption process and making it more affordable for those who want to adopt, more education on reproduction and fertility, more flexibility with careers and jobs for mothers, etc.

I think knowing all the reasons women choose abortion and understanding them is essential to solving any problems leading to abortion. It's not about justifying one reason over another, it's about understanding the real issues involved. Just from talking to all of you, I'm better able to understand the feminist pro-choice position. I'm finding that more than anything it is related to protecting a certain "right" and maintaining power over one's own body. And while I don't disagree with this, I see that my focus is really quite different.

Sure, our culture does celebrate women's reproductive system in ideal circumstances. This isn't helpful for women in general. Most will not be in such circumstances due to either being poor or uneducated. Many will not be white or not married. So really our culture is celebrating a certain way of life and promoting the reproduction of these select few. In our society reproduction of the rest is not valued, so the womanhood of the rest is not valued.

I find it interesting that this discussion has remained so polarized with many (or all) of you feeling like you are on the opposing side of my position. I'm only arguing for true respect for women and our bodies and thier natural functions. I'm advocating focusing on celebrating this in all women, regardless of race or income. I'm advocating valuing this in addition to all the other qualities women have to offer. Yes, a woman can be a great mother in addtion to other callings or responsibilites she might have. I believe true empowerment for women comes with supporting and promoting this.

While I wouldn't want to deny the right to abortion, I feel that promoting it does not empower women to be all that they can be. Abortion halts the functioning of a woman's body (at least temporarily). To have this be the standard practice in a culture says that this is not a woman's world.
snafooey
I'm rushed and functioning on very little sleep but. . .

I would bet most women are not happy to have abortions or even neutral

But that's based on your own opinions and biases - I know women who have had abortions who have felt mostly relief, and these are not thoughtful, uncaring or heartless women.

An abortion is no more "violent" to a woman's body than a open heart surgery is. Yes, it's elective. . .but again, not exactly when you look at all of the factors surrounding it.

It's an old argument, but my body is not just a support system for a fetus. If a woman is raped on the street on her way home from work, many people who who are normally pro-life tend to support the position that her case should be an an "exception" to the rule. And yet if that same woman decides to go to a bar after work, meets a man and possibly goes home with him, if that encounter results in an unplanned pregnancy, she's shit-outta-luck. If the issue for pro-lifers is really the value of human life, then abortion would always be "bad for women" and not just in cases where it's so clear-cut. I think it's "bad for women" when woman are forced to make decisions that could be harmful to themselves, and carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term is just as harmful as a "coerced" abortion.

I'd have to dig it up, but I once linked to an article about how many pro-lifers have actually gone and had abortions and how more likely you are to have sought an abortion if you were raised to be pro-life. These are not women who have been forced by anyone to have abortions - if anything, they are having them in secret so that they are not found out. I personally do not know anyone who has been coerced to do anything. Yes, there are social pressures involved. . .but those pressures go both ways.
lucizoe
You know, whenever snafooey is in a thread I never have anything to post except "word, snaf."

So: word, snaf.
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