Monday, March 26, 2012

Silent all these years...

I have been silent too long. In college I was a passionate advocate for women's health care. I stopped. It is my fault and every woman like me's fault that the GOP has decided it is ok to fundamentally wage war on women and women's health care. It must be stopped. They must be stopped. I won't go back. I will not allow my daughter to be denied access to medical procedures and therapies and treatments, based on the bigotry and stupidity of 55 year old white men.

Let's get this out of the way...

Fundamentally I am 100% pro-choice. I am 100% pro-birth control. Furthermore I am 100% woman controlled birth control. On the other end of the spectrum I am actually a passionate believer in hospice and frankly I am fine with euthanasia and physician assisted suicide - as long as the person making that choice is of sound mind and not being pressured.

I am no longer pro death penalty. We are so far from having a fair and balance court system. There are simply too many examples of botched test results, ignored evidence, and a gender and racial bias.

I used to waffle on later term abortions, with the advances in medicine, premature births can happen  earlier and earlier with amazing odds of survival. That said, after this relentless war on women and OUR fundamental right to have a voice in OUR health care and the adoption of state laws that really do border on rape at worst and emotionally abusive at best, in order to be eligible for a medically safe, FDA approved MEDICAL procedure. I have decided, that even later term abortions should be up to the woman and her doctor. Period. End of discussion.

I am happily the mother of two beautiful, busy, intense, energetic and wonderful children. I lost a baby at 13 weeks. I miscarried at home, a week after my doctor failed to find a viable heartbeat via ultrasound. I passed the entire gestational sac. It was amazingly painful, extremely bloody and totally soul crushing. I was very sad for a very long time.

I also had a miscarriage in college at about 6 weeks. Had I not been granted a free pass by the Universe, I was ready to have an abortion. I had already called the clinic and I was stressing about where I could come up with the money for the procedure. At the time I was an emotional mess, I was drinking more than I should, I was smoking pot regularly, I was also cutting on a very regular basis. I also was not eating right, at all. My boyfriend at the time was older, likely gay, and our break up had not been what one would call amicable. I didn't love him. My parents had just split up, my father was on again, off again MIA. My mother was pissed at the world, was verbally taking it out on me regularly and frankly my life was one big pile of shit. I did manage straight A's somehow that semester, but I think that was a freak accident. (and as messed up as I was, we were using two forms of non hormonal birth control. Those are not the most effective choices and there is a higher than average failure rate...)

I should probably mention that my mother, and her friendly sex talk, didn't fill me in on many details about sex, but she was very clear, "that if I got my ass pregnant, she would kill me." While I was dubious that she would actually kill me, I was 100% certain that she would NOT be helping me, in any way for any reason, should I find myself pregnant, not married and 19.

Abortion is a legal medical procedure. There are a myriad of reasons women seek to have an abortion.  Unlike many anti-abortion activists claims, most women do not simply wake up one morning and think, "Oh, I think I will stop by Target, hit the post office and have an abortion on the way home." Many make a very difficult choice. Many make a choice they would rather not be making. Do some women use abortion as birth control, yes. Then again, unlike what many people have been lead to believe, hormonal birth control is neither cheap and all that easy to get.

Some women seek an abortion after having all the children they think they can manage and their birth control fails. Some women have been the victim of rape or incest. They have been forced to have sex against their will, I do not think they should be forced to bear the child of their rapist. They already had their right to consent taken away once, the state should not do so a second time.

Some parents choose to end a pregnancy where it has been determined that the child is likely not going to survive to birth or after birth. It isn't that the child isn't wanted, but when the outcome is so very likely not going to be positive, I think we allow them to make the choice most comfortable for them. Some parents might choose to see the pregnancy through, while others might make a different choice.

Some women are not in a place to be mothers, don't want to be a mother. Being a mother is a full time job. I am a wonderful mother now, at 19, I would have damaged a child permanently for life. I was not mother material and given my choices with respect to chemical substances, I was not incubator material either.

Look, I get it, women's ability to bear new life is a unique and incredible gift. Some women want to have as many children as they can. Honestly, I loved being pregnant with L. I felt amazing and powerful. Giving birth, naturally both times, absolutely in the top 10 most profound experiences of my entire life.


Just as it was my choice in college, to decide, that in that moment, I wasn't able to be a mother. Nor were my lifestyle choices likely to bring about the best outcome for the said new life. In the end the Universe decided for me. Had the Universe not stepped in, I would have been keeping that clinic appointment.

The reality is, women have been making this choice since the dawn of time. In many cultures, the decision to keep the child, was made after birth. Infanticide was the leading killer of children until the last 200 years or so. It is still being practiced today in parts of the world.

Make no mistake, women have also been ending pregnancies since the dawn of time. Has it been as safe, no. Has it meant sacrificing future fertility, yes. Has it lead to both the death of fetus and the woman. You betcha. Anyone remember seeing Dirty Dancing? Penny nearly died after a back alley, illegal abortion. She was in love with someone who was using her for sex, made promises and had no intentions of keeping them. She was left to deal with the consequences.

Is abortion a risk less choice, no but neither is child bearing and child birth. The entire process has inherent risks.

This is a complex issue. With lots of emotional landmines, but the reality is, abortion is not new. It is safer now than it ever has been. It should remain an option. Birth control first, but abortion is and should remain part of the broad spectrum of reproductive health choices on the table.

And lest anyone thinks I am only poking at the GOP. I am not. I would hazard a guess that just as many of the men on the other side of the aisle have a kernel of misogyny in his heart. The reality is when men and the government accept the fact that women are equal and have an equal say in their lives, in the government and over their own bodies, those same men lose power. The easiest way to control women and limit their choices is through reproductive control. If the GOP in many states get their way, I see us moving closer and closer to a Handmaid's Tale type environment. A society that bases female worth on her ability to breed for the ruling class.

I am not saying that everyone has to have an abortion. I am not saying one should be able to have one at the local CVS. I am not even saying that a Catholic Hospital has to offer them. I am saying that the Federal and State government have to stop creating artificial road blocks. I am saying that women who seek this type of care should have access to it. Abortion should be on the menu of reproductive choices.

I might think that the GOP was truly concerned about the rights of the unborn, if they were as equally concerned with seeing that maternity care, well baby visits, and other vital standards of care were easily available, federally required standards of care, and affordable. Many employers don't offer maternity care and frankly maternity leave, paid or otherwise is not a federal requirement. Hello GOP -- how are women supposed to care for all these children you seem to think they should be forced to have, if they have no jobs to return to?

But they don't. They seek to block at every chance presented, to cancel these programs, defund them, and limit women's access to care or at least limit her ability to gain access to this care at a price they can afford. The employer's rights have been highlighted as being superior to that of the female employees. Why should I be buying an insurance policy, selected by my employer, that does not cover the types of care I need?


The fact is my body can do something that no man's can. That is what makes me a women. It is 2012 and frankly the only person, who has a right to decide what is best for my body is ME. It is my right to determine how and when I will bear children. It is my right to decide what I eat and what medical procedures I will allow to be carried out on my body. I also happen to think, that I should have some say on how and when my final days will play out, should I find myself facing terminal illness.

It has been a mistake, that I have been relatively silent all these years.

That stops now!

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