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Gabbin' about abortion

By Sarah Trachtenberg ~

Abortion, that perma-controversy, is in the wind with the GOP putting the “grand” in “grandly coming down on women for being sluts” and restricting abortion while making rape laws less victim-friendly. Delightful.

A woman swats away the stork which has brought...Image via Wikipedia
Perhaps it’s foolhardy of me to write about abortion in any context, thus generating a lot of antipathy, but I’d like to state my reasons for why I think abortion should be safe and legal. I realize that while anti-abortion people seem to be overwhelmingly religious (especially Christian), there are a number of atheists who share that point of view. I am sympathetic to why people think abortion should be illegal. They make good arguments for their case and I respect that they are only doing what they think is right. I felt the same way, in the respect of life, as a kid until I hit thirteen and was convinced that abortion is necessary.

It would be wonderful if there was no such thing as an unwanted pregnancy. It would be wonderful if women and girls weren’t called sluts and whores for having pre-marital sex, but that’s not the world we live in. Many people would staunchly thwart the progress towards this goal. They want this double-standard of sex. They let unwanted pregnancies happen by their counterproductive ideas.

If one incident would make me pro-abortion rights, it would be this. A professor I had, a Christian minister and liberal cool guy who taught my sexuality class, told me about an acquaintance of his who was the president of a pro-life organization. When his young daughter got pregnant and told the family, they supported her decision to get an abortion. She got one… and he went right back to work the next day.

I’ve heard of people doing similar things often enough. President George Bush the Elder said that he would support a hypothetical granddaughter’s right to an abortion– but apparently, not the rest of us.

Looks to me that when it’s a conservative’s term to benefit from something, the shoe is on the other foot.

In defense of the anti-abortion people, they are right in that a lot of people do stupid things that result in unwanted pregnancies, but I don’t think making abortion illegal will curb this behavior. It didn’t pre-Roe v. Wade and it won’t now. I can’t defend the behavior of a college friend of mine who made a stupid mistake with his girlfriend, resulting in abortion, but I don’t think they should suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives, either.

You know what would curb people doing stupid things? Sex education and good access to birth control, something anti-abortion people often oppose (not all anti-abortion people oppose these common-sense measures, but it is only anti-abortion people who do.) It’s exasperating to me that the same people who want to end abortion thwart the very things that would drastically reduce unwanted pregnancies. Their solution, abstinence education, is not realistic and is proven to not work. I don’t know how much more evidence they need! For these folks, teaching kids how to use a condom is somehow worse than the abortion that ignorance of condoms could easily lead to.

Another thing: perhaps it’s trite to say this, but I think that if men got pregnant, abortion would be in the bill of rights. Restricting abortion and birth control are ultimately about controlling the sexuality of women and girls. A man, after all, can simply walk away from an unwanted pregnancy. Men do this and have been doing so forever. A woman can’t walk away. Should the law force her to carry this burden? What punishment is there for the man involved? I should note here that many teen pregnancies are caused by older men, hence statutory rape. Some sleazoid twenty-something out there looking to bed gullible young girls got his way, now she is left with the consequences, and if anti-abortion people have their way, she has no relief.

Abortion is never an easy choice. It is never taken lightly. Women and girls don’t say, “You know what’d be fun? Let’s get pregnant and get abortions!”

I do wonder, though, why more girls and women don’t elect to give their unwanted babies to adoption instead of raising them. Adoption appears to be an unpopular option for crisis pregnancies.