Sunday, January 16, 2005

Looking Beyond the Abortion Rights War

I see the abortion issue as more than as women's rights versus the fetus or a matter of control. Let's look past the abortion rights war to the core issues.

The need for abortion is a symptom of a greater problem. I see a dire need for better support systems and resources, and better education on birth control and the body. No, no woman should be pitted against her child, this was not the way of our feminist foremothers. My understanding of feminism is the goal to achive equal rights and opportunities, but not at the expensive of another nor by domination. I am anti-abortion yes, but I'm not for outlawing abortion. Rather than making abortion illegal, let’s listen to what these women think were dire and sufficient reasons for abortion, and come up with solutions based on them. In many stories of an untimely pregnancy we find the woman might want to carry to term, but because of a lack of emotional support (from the partner and family) and social circumstances pressure she feels she must choose abortion. The common re-occurant voice of women who've had an abortion is that of having been abandoned, "It's better that they don't live in this horrible world which won't care for them or help me care for them!" Might some women choose to carry to term if she had the resources and support, perhaps. Much like many pro-choice I'm wanting to see the number of abortions reduced, but not through outlawing abortion, but rather addressing the challenges women face that lead to abortion. This is also the goal of Feminists for Life. Regardless whether abortion is illegal or legal, the same issues that drive women to abortion will be there, unless someone is willing to offer a helping hand to these women and their families.

Below, I've provided the websites where I've read abortion stories to better understand women and their circumstances.
PASS Awareness Site

Quotes from Feminists, including our feminists foremothers:
"When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something wrong in society - so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged." Mattie Brinkerhoffn, The Revolution, September 2, 1869, pages 138 and 139.

There is tremendous sadness, loneliness in the cry, A woman's right to choose.' No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg." -- Frederica Mathewes-Green in her essay, 'Beyond "It's a Baby" '

"It is a cruel joke to call this a woman's "choice". We may choose to sacrifice our life and career plans, or choose to undergo humiliating invasive surgery and sacrifice our offspring. How fortunate we are--we have a choice!" -- Frederica Mathewes-Green in her essay, 'The Bitter Price of "Choice" '

"When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -- Elizabeth Cady Stanton, organizer of the first Women's Convention, Seneca Falls, N.Y., 1848

"Every woman knows that if she were free, she would never bear an unwished-for child, nor think of murdering one before its birth."
Wheeling, West Virginia Evening Standard, November 17, 1875
~ Victoria Woodhull, first female presidential candidate.

"By promoting abortion instead of working for social changes that would make it possible to combine children and career, abortion advocates have betrayed a majority of wage earning women who want to have children...No woman should be forced to choose between relinquishing education and career plans or suffering through a humiliating, invasive procedure and sacrificing her child. Abortion is a last resort, not a free choice."

Edit 01/22/05: Some Additional Thoughts

I am pro-life and and while I don't believe in outlawing abortion, I do not condone it. I believe that abortion is the taking of another human life and wrong. However, I also acknowledge that women who choose abortion do so out of desperation and fear, not necessarily choice. Yes, we should be teaching prevetion, but when the woman is already pregnant, we should be offering better support and alternatives. Women and their families deserve better than abortion!

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