Saturday, September 18, 2010
The Great Debate
I know that this is a long clip, but it is so important. The part that really caught my attention starts at 4:30. This world needs more Melissa Harris-Lacewells out there talking about womens rights and the right to choose. This country could backslide in a big way if abortion is made illegal. For a while I thought it couldn't happen but the rash of current Tea Party nominees for positions of power in the government is making me nervous. This clip really addresses abortion positions pertaining to rape and incest, which gets a big fat DUH from me- of COURSE a woman shouldn't have to have a rapist's baby. That's just ridiculous. But abortion in general needs to be talked about, so I'm talking.
When the abortion debate is brought up I am always amazed at a few things. First of all, people who take the pro-life stance act like abortion is just something women decide to do as flippantly as they decide to get a pedicure. "Hmmmm... what am I doing today? I guess I'll just go have an abortion because this baby sure could be a pain in the ass. Gosh, I won't be able to go out and party and have sex with strangers like I have been!"
The perception that women who get abortions are uneducated teenage party people has got to stop. There are also perfectly responsible, married, working, tax-paying women who get abortions too. Maybe they have enough kids already. Maybe their bodies wouldn't stand up to pregnancy. Maybe they just don't want kids. And it's absolutely no one's business but hers.
We live in such a puritanical, deeply sexist society. Men are allowed to put another notch in their bedposts and no one sees them as any different, if anything their status is raised and they get a good-natured punch in the arm and some ribbing from their friends. On the other hand, a woman who does the same thing is viewed so negatively that it is usually kept a secret. The power in a woman's sexuality is so strong it has to be contained, controlled, and regulated. And she needs to be punished for her actions by being forced to have a child that was the result of her sexuality.*
Abortion keeps women free. A woman who is forced to have children is also forced to put her dreams away. She won't have the time to devote to other causes in her life. She might have to work harder and longer to keep her family fed and clothed. And that is a very important role, but what else could she have done in her life if things had gone according to her plans? What other differences in society and the world would she be able to make if her time wasn't taken up with carting kids to school and activities for the next 18 years? Where else could she have put her energy?
There is always the idea that a women who doesn't want a baby can put it up for adoption. For me that would be a harder choice than abortion. It would be so hard to know that a piece of me was out there and I didn't know how they were doing. What if their parents weren't as good at parenting as I would be? The questions and guilt would be so hard.
The argument against abortion that baffles me is how god fits into it. Most people who are pro-life also use god as the reason that abortions should not be legal. But who are they to play god and make that decision for anyone else? If they personally do not agree with abortion that is fine by me, but to think that you can know what god wants and thinks? To me that should be the highest form of blasphemy. By the same line of reasoning if god didn't want people performing abortions, people would never have discovered how to do it.
Okay I don't know how this post got so long- I was just going to share the clip! When I feel really strongly about something I have a very hard time shutting up.
*I don't not mean to imply in any way that children are a horrible burden to society and that women who have them are putting their dreams on hold and not contributing to society in the ways that they should. We all know that the world needs parents who are committed to raising wonderful people, and I could never ever say that is a bad thing. I'm just saying that parenthood is not for everyone, and shouldn't be a punishment for those who don't want to do it. What kinds of people does the world wind up with when kids are raised in an environment of resentment and resignation instead of love and joy?