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Those bleeping protestors give me a headache, and other thoughts on Roe Day

January 22, 2010

image copyright PPFA

I think a lot about abortion.   I work on the issue almost daily at my job; I’ve counseled women who are about to have one, and some who have decided not to get one (their choice).

I have friends who’ve had them, and who are alive because they’re mother didn’t have one.   It’s a medical procedure, like many other medical procedures, full of woulda, coulda, shouldas, but to me, that’s mostly it.  At the core of an abortion is (no, not a child), a woman’s (and her partner’s, family’s, etc.) most intimate essence — their right to decide for themselves and their bodies what shall be and not be.

I’ve considered Peter Singer’s and others’ controversial thoughts on this interminably sticky issue, and it’s not a closed book.  What IS a closed book, is who has the right to tell me what to do with my body, and that is no one.  And yes, I realize that principle does extend into other issues like commercial sex work, sky diving, etc. etc.  I’m OK with that.

I understand that there is no black and white and, like GAB blogger Emily, I respect the opinion of those who don’t believe in abortion for themselves, and only hope that we who do support abortion rights, can get the same respect in return.

I don’t support the argument that the potential rights of an imagined human being — whether that is an unfertilized egg to some people, or a zygote in utero — supercede the rights of a living, breathing, contributing human being, a woman.  I thought it was put best in this post on Jezebel,

The claim that anti-choicers speak for a marginalized group — here, “children without a voice” — is a common cover-up for their effective marginalization of women.

On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I want to reflect how far we’ve come in the scheme of realizing our reproductive rights in the US, but I can’t push away the thoughts of how far we have yet to go.

Anti-choice groups are more seamlessly connected worldwide than Visa, and are almost as scary as the Taliban.

It just occurred to me last night that reading anti-choice websites and news stories (as I often do as I troll the opposition) is like getting your daily news in the Enquirer or The Sun.  Um, pathetic.  Science, medicine, and plain old rights mean virtually nada to these people.

I’m all about constructive dialogue and engaging other points of view, but not when they’ve drunk the koolaid and think we live on a planet called Zork, and eat babies alive or something. (i won’t link to these news sites here because they’re not worth your time).

I spent the summer in Kenya, where abortion is largely illegal.  Not just because it’s illegal, but mostly due to that, unsafe abortion is a festering, growing plague that few want to talk about.

The rhetoric about ‘murdering unborn babies’ there is so loud you cannot hear the screams of agony as thousands of women, mostly low-income, die each year from grotesque infections, blood loss, or other gut wrenching injuries due to preventable unsafe abortions.

Simply put, it’s an excuse to neglect women, as they have so long been neglected there.

As I walked to the abortion clinic every Saturday, I pass by a smug and clueless protestor.  He/she is protestor X, like a million other protestors who plague the staff and clients at other clinics around the country.  If you haven’t already, check out Planned Parenthood’s “I am Emily X,” a site that documents the experiences of pro-choice providers, supporters and employees across the US.

Maybe it’s because I’m a self-righteous person that I always ask myself, “is it my business” and “why do I really care?”  This is what I suggest anti-choice people ask themselves, and that also goes for those opposing gay marriage, by the way.

Back in Kenya, things are getting worse.  The same mentally unstable, hateful crazies who created the Nuremburg Files, a veritable hit list for abortion providers in the US, has made a new website targeting Kenyan and American rights supporters in Kenya.  Their photos, names and titles are displayed on a gruesome and ridiculously amateur webpage (think dripping blood and clip art of baby killers, or whatever).  They are sowing seeds of hatred and fear when women are dying from a preventable cause.

It’s absolutely disgusting.  The hatred I feel when I see such things scares me, and I realize how easy it is to make this the war that never ends.  But we need to be better than that.  Reproductive rights advocates and feminists need to be bigger than them.  We need to be coordinated and unified, remember the solidarity we have.

As Dr. Tiller used to say, “trust women.” Just make sure those women support your rights and freedoms, and are truly looking out for your own best interest (ahem, Sarah Palin).

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