Sunday, February 18, 2007

More heartrending stories of abortion

Where were we - ah yes: Alas, a Blog: "What if your mother was pro-choice?". Most of the respondents said, what if she were? She is! or So what? I would never notice! Others answered in more detail.

Anonymous writes:
By the same logic, we could ask people who was born out of wedlock, “What if your father had used a condom?” Or for Catholics, “What if you parents had waited until marriage?” Or even, “What if your mother hadn’t been raped?” Certain past actions might seem to have turned out well in hindsight, but they don’t necessarily make for good policy in general.

Mary writes:
My mother didn’t want to have kids but my dad got her pregnant and she didn’t want to have the baby but my dad was Catholic and eventually she learned to get into the baby but my dad only became more abusive.

What if my mom was pro-choice? Would I be at peace now?

silverside writes:
My mother, a red-state moderate Republican, is probably even more pro-choice than I am, a raving pinko loony. That’s because I am prone to all kinds of moral nuances, and my mother can’t stand that crap. Bottom line: she used to work in the emergency room of a midwestern city back in the 1950s, so she knows what all these young women coming through there looked like. Those of us under 50 or so believe in the right to choose for all kinds of high-minded reasons related to personal liberty and such. My mother believes in the right to choose because she still has a visceral memory of sliced up cervixes in a pool of blood.

With South Dakota looming, I thinking our historical amnesia is just about complete. I fear it will take a generation of seeing spilled blood and guts and thousands of butchered young women before the public will suddenly “get” that the alternative to legal abortion isn’t “pro-life” but lots of dead woman and dead babies.

imfunnytoo writes:
I believe that had my mother had both a. access to safe legal abortion and b. lived in a culture that did not demonize those who have abortions almost as much as those “not-so-nice girls” who got pregnant and “had to get married” she would have terminated the pregnancy that resulted in my existence.

My mother found herself in that situation, and chose not only to have me, but chose not to take precautions because there was a family history of high risk pregnancy.

She had me prematurely. I’m here. I’ve had cerebral palsy since birth.

I of course, find myself “on the fence” about abortion.

If I hear of another wealthy white couple that chose abortion rather than having a disabled child …in other words the reason to abort was soley based on a disabling condition diagnosed in the fetus…I’ll be honest. I get well and truly pissed off. I see that as confirming the societal stereotype of “better dead [read never existing] than disabled.”

But, I firmly believe the choice has to be there. Even for the reasons that piss me off.

Because no one gets to dictate when someone *must* produce a child. Period.

jenofiniquity writes:
This post has a lot of resonance for me. It’s common knowledge within my family that my mother (who is an Evangelical xtian, by the way), almost had an abortion with her third pregnancy, which turned out to be my little brother. We were living in a foreign country, her birth control failed and her doctor had already told her, after her second, that another pregnancy would seriously endanger her health — if not her life. She’s always said that she would have had no qualms about having an abortion; she couldn’t see leaving two very young children and her husband for the sake of an as-yet unformed third. As it happened, she didn’t get sick as she had feared and went ahead with the pregnancy, and she’s still pro-choice contra her church’s position on abortion.

larkspur writes:
I admit I feel grief for children who weren’t born - specifically, the children a friend of mine never had. She’s a little older than me. She was supporting herself and putting herself through college when she became pregnant. She wanted to finish school before starting a family. But abortion was illegal then. Illegal but not uncommon. She went to a well-meaning abortionist (not a horrible predator like you read about), but a week later she ended up in the emergency room. The abortion had been incomplete, so she had an emergency D&C and treatment for an infection.

And yeah, ten years later she had medical confirmation that she’d never be able to conceive again because of scarring. She had looked forward to having a family, with two or three children. A mean person could look at it as being proper punishment. A totally weird person could speculate about how one of her children might have grown up to discover an AIDS vaccine. I just think it’s sad, and I wish so much that things had turned out differently. By now, I guess, I might be sending baby gifts to her brand new grandbabies. But that’s material for an alternate universe.

Woman writes:
My Mum was pressured into having children by my Dad. She never wanted any. While growing up my brother and I were very much aware of that. My Dad f*cked off, as all good Daddies do, and left us all to it. I got pregnant by accident when I had just turned 21. While I had no problem with abortion in general, I didn’t feel it was right without a damn good reason, so I kept the child. The Dad left us, and now I’m alone on benefits raising my autistic son. I don’t enjoy being a mother. As much as I love my son - and I do, dearly - I feel, just as my mother did, that my life has very much taken a turn for the worse as a result of having a child. I now avoid relationships with men out of fear of pregnancy. It breaks my heart because there’s a man out there who I love but can’t be with. Supposing I did get pregnant again somehow, I would be heading straight for an abortion. I for one am deeply grateful such a procedure exists and that I’m lucky enough to have that choice.

FurryCatHerder writes:
...my kid brother is a miracle baby, conceived before any kind of birth control was available. Mom had some health problem (which turned up while pregnant with me) which made additional children a life-threatening proposition. As the story goes, she was extremely ill with him, after having only been very ill with me.

Later, a woman I was with (no details because of privacy concerns …) nearly died from a pregnancy that her doctor refused to terminate because he was “pro-life”. But apparently not her life. She had to go to an abortion clinic (not that anything is wrong with that) because the hospital where she should have had the abortion wouldn’t do it because hte doctor didn’t think it was needed. And then she nearly died (she coded on the table) having the abortion because her health had deteriorated so badly.

So, I’m pro-choice, pro-contraception, pro-lots-of-good-stuff.

As others have pointed out, many things come together to make “me” or “you” be who we are. Even if my mother hadn’t had an abortion — or hadn’t miscarried or died — would I still be “me” if she’d not become ill the year after my kid brother was born? Or if she’d died from that illness? I’d obviously be in this body, but would my personality — which I think is more “me” than my skin and bones — be the same? How much has growing up knowing the health problems she had (I remember when she was bedridden for over a year — it greatly affected me) made me “me”? How much might my growing up knowing I was an unwanted child she was forced to have affect “me” if that had been the case instead? And that, I think, is a fair question to ask abortion opponents.

Sheelzebub writes:
I’m sick of the adoption option trotted out like it’s just that easy. Especially for a raped woman. The last thing I’d want to endure after a rape is ten months (forty weeks, do the math) of pregnancy, with all of its risks and complications. And while adoption is a good option for some women, it is hardly something we should push on women. I’ve known women who had to put their babies up for adoption (long story) and it tore them apart. Funny how we don’t hear about “post adoption syndrome.”

If it’s not your body, it’s not your choice.

Dianne writes:
Sheelzebub said
Funny how we don’t hear about “post adoption syndrome.”
Yes, you do, but in the medical literature, not the popular literature. [links]

Studies on adoption show that, basically, adoption leaves the relinquishing mother with lifelong depression and regret. Essentially, giving a baby up for adoption is highly likely to send the relinquishing mother into a lifelong hell of regret and grief. Grief from abortion, by contrast, is less frequent and resolves much more quickly. If a woman who is pregnant understands the risks she is taking by chosing to have the child and give it up for adoption because she hopes to give some other woman or couple joy, great, wonderful for her. But telling a woman that adoption is a safe or easy alternative is criminal. It is neither.

Delany writes:
Odanu - my grandmother also got rubella while pregnant and didn’t live in a state where abortion was legal - so she was forced to continue the prenancy for 4 more months, until the baby was stillborn. Between her, and my other grandmother, who watched her own mother die on the kitchen floor after hemorraghing after having baby #10, all of the women in my family are extremely prochoice and support easy access to birth control.

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