Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday in the Park with Daddy

BabyG and I attended a rally in support of women's right to choose. Even though I like to talk about politics with friends and family, I generally do not bring up abortion. People have such deeply entrenched positions that discussions never lead anywhere. The vocabularies of each "side" are so overdefined and embattled that even if two people want to have a meaningful conversation about abortion, it can be difficult. The terms are set. The arguments have been rehearsed. When I taught writing at the University of Houston, I told my students not to write about abortion because I have never seen a college paper that manages to present the issue from a fresh perspective, or that showed the writer had listened to those who disagreed with them. I won't pretend to make a unique contribution to the debate.

That said, I won't be silent either. I firmly believe that my daughter and all other women ought to have the right to choose what happens inside their bodies. I believe that if abortion is thought of as an abstraction, it is easy to condemn. But the particular stories behind each decision are far more difficult to judge. And I believe that criminalizing abortion creates a public health catastrophe.

The rally itself was very calm. It was at Bell Park off Montrose. The temperature has finally cooled here in Houston. BabyG had been grumpy, but when I put her on the ground next to her friend Cos she relaxed and enjoyed herself. There were some speeches, but none of them were shrill. There was a wonderful vibe of love and community.


aus blog said...

No offence intended - just something for Pro-choicers to concider.............

Over 3,500 terminations per day, 1.3 MILLION per year in the United States alone.
50 or 60 MILLION per year World Wide.

I am a pro-lifer who has no religious convictions at all . I didn't need the fear of god or anything else to come to my decision, just a good sence of what is right and wrong.
You see we were all once a fetus. Is it beyond the realm of possibilities that when your mother first learned she was carrying you, she may have considered her options? What if she had decided to terminate? Would that have been OK?
You would not exist, if you have children they would not exist, and your (husband or wife) would be married to someone else. You would have been deprived of all your experiences and memories. In this day and age with terminations being so readily available and so many being carried out, if you make it to full term
you can consider yourself lucky. Lucky you had a mother that made the choice of life for you. Don't you think they all deserve the same basic human right, LIFE?
I'm all for contraception, prevention is certainly better than termination.
Did you know you can get an implant that is safe, 99.9% effective, and lasts for three years? Just think girls not even a show for three years, wouldn't that be great? I think too many people rely too heavily on the last option (abortion), I think if abortions weren't so readily available people would manage their reproductive system far better resulting in a fraction of the number of unwanted pregnancies.
World wide there are over 50 MILLION aborted pregnancies each year. In America 3,500 terminations carried out every day, that's over 1.3 million every year, 50% of all cases claimed that birth control had been used, 48% admitted they took no precaution, and 2% had a medical reason. That's a stagering 98% that may have been prevented had an effective birth control been used. Don't get me wrong, I suspect the percentages in Australia would be much the same.
Just a lot of unnessessary killing.

At the point of conception is when life began for you. This was the start of your existance. Your own personal big bang. Three weeks after conception heart started to beat. First brain waves recorded at six weeks after conception. Seen sucking thumb at seven weeks after conception.

I am convinced that in the not too distant future, people will look back at many of the practices of today with disbelief and horror.


GreenDaddy said...

Thank you aus blog for your comment.

What I notice about your comment is that it does not engage with anything I wrote in my post. I think this is the problem with the so-called abortion debate. I get the sense that you have a standard comment for all pro-choice people. It reads as if you could have pasted in from a template.

For example, I wrote that women ought to have a right to choose what happens in their bodies. Your comment does not engage or consider this argument.

The crux of your argument seems to be that life begins at conception. By what authority do you know that? According to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, as many as 50% of all zygotes – as in conceptions – miscarry during the first trimester. Another way to put it is that half of all conceptions end in a natural abortion. That number dwarfs all of the statistics that you listed. Based on the way that the human body handles zygotes and first trimester fetuses, I don't think life begins at conception.

I'm saddened that anti-choice people almost never engage questions of women's rights. There are all kinds of abortion-related issues that are never discussed. What about the relationship between state-supported childcare and abortion rates? Why is it that people who are against women's right to choose also generally oppose state support (welfare, childcare centers) for mothers? Why do family values always have to do with legislating what a woman can do with their body instead creating the kind of society where women can choose motherhood?

Here is the reference for the statistic I used:
Wilcox, A.J., et al. Incidence of Early Loss of Pregnancy. New England Journal of Medicine, volume 319, number 4, July 1988, pages 189-194.

Ellie said...

That's nice, stand there with a pro-choice sign in one hand and your daughter in another!

What message are you had a choice and decided NOT to terminate your daughter, but could of if you wanted too?

I don't normally impose my pro-life beliefs on anyone, but that picture is way tacky!!! I hope you never show it to your child.

Ellie said...

As for the women's rights debate... At what point did women stop thinking about what "Could" happen when they have sex. What about the right to live...since you brought rights up and all.
Making the decision to be an adult and participate in adult sexual activity means also considering the fact that you might get pregnant. I do not agree with pro-choice, but I do not think that there would be a resolution to the debate. I hate having to compromise, but believe abortions should be limited to first trimester only..since there seems to be no end to the practice. I think that the acception would be medical reasons or rape.
Other than that...there is always adoption.
Yes women have fought for their rights to do what they want, and the rights to our bodies is very important, but you cannot ignore the fact that some women are careless and use abortion as a form of birth control. I believe in God (not all might) but life is life regardless. In the first week of conception, you have a heart beat.
When you look at your daughter, do you look at her as a "choice" you made because of your rights... no... you look at her as your daughter... a part of your "heart".
Think about that.

Teaching her about the other issues you have posted, are fine, but you should also not 'impose' your beliefs on her if you want her to be an independant woman with something to say that could make a difference in this world.

GreenDaddy said...

Dear Ellie,

Thank you for your comments. I have been thinking about them for several days now, because I want to constructively engage with what you are saying.

You wrote: "I hate having to compromise, but believe abortions should be limited to first trimester only..since there seems to be no end to the practice. I think that the acception would be medical reasons or rape." That compromise is what most pro-choice people agree with. So I think that is common ground we share. I actually don't know anybody who advocates for abortions after the first trimester for any other reason than medical ones.

You wrote: "What message are you had a choice and decided NOT to terminate your daughter, but could of if you wanted too?" That's not exactly how I would have phrased things, but it's not far from what I was trying to get at. I do believe that having children should be a choice. My daughter is both my child and a choice. Ideally, there would be some perfect form of birth control and people would never behave irrationally when it came to sex. But birth control often fails and many people -- for a variety of reasons specific to their life stories -- do not behave rationally when it comes to sex. And that's when abortion should remain a last option.

Here is Texas, the right of women to control what happens in their bodies is under threat. I see that as a threat to my daughter's well-being. For this reason, I feel passionately that I should involve the family in this debate. I don't see how that is tacky. Tacky, for me, is not making our voices heard and believing that's good parenting.

I hope you find my response helpful in understanding my perspective. I welcome more questions and comments.