On Abortion – entering the war zone
30 June, 2013
I’ve been hearing on the grapevine about the Texas abortion vote this week. “D’ya know what I’m tawking bout?” (My texas drawl, good innit?). This thing has erupted like a goddam firework in a, er, firework factory. Y’all musta heard ‘bout it. So, what we gonna see-here do ‘about it?
Ok, enough inappropriate Texan drawl. No, there’s not point in begging me for more, I’m stopping it now.
I want to bring up a few points, in the great abortion debate. To summarize there are a few things that need to change (IMHO); they are;
- The pro-lifers
- The pro-choicers
- The single sexers
- The feminists
- The quiet ones no-ones listening to.
So, I’m just getting really tired of this and the attitudes that surround this. I think what’s going on is not helpful for anyone and all sides have to admit, they’re never going to get it all their own way.
So, let’s get on with it.
First pro-lifers. The pro-life-ers are dominated in the US by the Christian right. They don’t really exist to the same degree outside of American because, well honestly, they’re totally extreme. They have an extensive agenda for population control which is, on many issues, insane. Like, banning certain sexual preferences within consenting heterosexual marriage. I mean if they think they’re need to legislate sex in marriage, then just what do you think they’re going to do to control same sex relationships, minority religions, art, theatre, science, books and education? They are described as a western Taliban (by me). I have no problem with Christian denominations in the UK, I worked in interfaith for many years. But, based on four years of personal experience in the US, I have absolutely no time for the insane religious zealots, I encountered on a daily basis. You are damaging the debate on the rights of the foetus with your hatred. No one is going to come to you for help because you do not represent a genuine spiritual approach to this problem, or any other problem. Go home, read your bible and try to remember that people loved Jesus, not because he was holy and right, but because he was caring, tolerant and FORGIVING. He didn’t murder his opponents or throw bricks through their windows. Pro-lifers, learn to be human if you want to change humankind.
Now, Pro-Choice; they need to wake up to the year 2013 and accept they’re not living in 1967 anymore. They need to address the fact that medical advances have changed what we know about viability of the foetus/embryo/baby/zygote. Instead of shouting about incest and rape, let’s hear a reasoned discussion. Let’s include our knowledge and accommodate that within 50 year old abortion laws. Improvements in scanning and imaging (particularly 3D imaging) mean that we have far more understanding of what’s actually going on in the womb. Advances in medicine mean that the viability dates, have also changed. You can’t just ignore these issues and shout “incest/rape” anymore. You have to address them if you want to be taken seriously. If you’re just going to hang on to the fact that you won some legal precedents and are sticking to your guns or “rights” as you call them; hey, you can. But, you are behaving with the same dogma as the far right. Address our concerns, because we are concerned.
Same-sex community; Please step back from the front line of this debate. It is primarily (but not exclusively) a hetero/bi issue not a gay one. Please have opinions, do take a stance, but this is not your war. You have waged so many battles of your own, I don’t shout above you, telling you, I know best in those. Isn’t freedom to express yourselves over your lives, what you’ve fought so hard for? So, stand back a little and allow others to voice on this issue.
The feminists; the debate on abortion in terms of feminism has also changed, drastically in the last few years. I’m tired of hearing about the rights of women over their bodies. I think the rise in selective-sex abortions (where girls are aborted and boys kept) has turned the feminist abortion debate on its head. Birth rates of girls amongst immigrant communities in the UK (chiefly Chinese and Asian) have fallen far lower than normal variance. This medical community has published their suspicions of back-street selective sex abortions taking place. And the media have exposed this practice in some clinics. This is currently illegal in the UK. So, what’s going to happen? Are we going to legalise gender-biased abortions to prevent back-street abortions, which we all agree are so harmful and dangerous? What say yea, feminists? Are you ok with that? Because, I am not. I want to hear from you about how abortion is being used as a misogyonistic tool to cleanse us, women, from the population. Isn’t that an important feministic role in the abortion debate? Tell me, feminists, what are you proposing we do about this? It’s the biggest issue to come out of the abortion debate in years and you’re still harping on about a woman’s rights over her own body. Well, how about a man’s rights to force a termination his wife to a female foetus? I want to hear you speak about that. We live in 2013, the debate has moved on, when will you?
Lastly, I want to express the voices that aren’t heard in the great abortion debate. The zealots on all sides throw their sticks and stones, and shout each other down, but is anyone listening to the women of experience? The ones who’ve had abortions? There have been nearly 5 million abortions performed since 1967, that’s a lot. So why, I ask you, aren’t more women discussing them? Haven’t you notice that we chat openly over coffee about our eating disorders, our relationships, our bodies, sex, how we fail our children. But, if you’ve listened carefully, you might have noticed, we rarely discuss abortion.
This, the collective voice of experience, is the silent majority who need to be heard. It doesn’t compare experiences. Why is that? It’s because for many, the real voice of abortion, can’t talk about it in public. Many can’t talk about it in private either. No, before you post your vociferous comments, I’m not saying everyone. The problem is, that the voice of experience that we currently hear, is mostly those who are ok with the process. And in that sense, the represent themselves, but they do not represent a balanced picture of the whole.
Many silent others have had to close the book on that experience, out of trauma and guilt. They don’t want to relive it by talking about it. I’ve heard them, it’s my job to listen, and to heal some of the emotional scars cleft deep across their memories. Post traumatic stress from a late termination. (If you don’t know what a late termination is, then I suggest you educate yourself, before you voice an opinion on it). No many get through one of those unscathed. Infertility, an observed problem after abortion, another response of a troubled body and mind.
If my daughter came home and said she’d taken the morning after pill (er, when she’s older), I’d have a chat with her about being careful and responsible. If she came home having had an abortion, I’d hold her and take time to care for her in a completely different way. Recognise, these are not the same things. Abortion is not always a simple means of correcting conception.
I’m concerned about real women in the abortion debate. I’m concerned that women are rushed through the process and not given support they need to successfully recover. The far right wants to throw emotional bricks through their windows. So unkind. The far left tell them, “you’ll walk out of clinic, problem gone in a couple of hours”. For some, so untrue. Same sex community, do you feel like we feel? I don’t claim to share your feelings, can you know ours? Feminists, you stick to your guns, your rights, but that doesn’t make you right.
A crucial component is being ignored in this violent debate. Are we willing to stop the fight and let these silent voices be heard?