Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Reproductive Rights

Not that this is news to anyone, but South Dakota has banned abortion. No exemptions for incest or rape, no D&X done in the state, nothing: they have unequivocally said that a clump of cells is more valuable than a woman. They have institutionalized lack of respect for pregnancy, and the major contribution women do for the creation of life.

But, this is just explicitly doing what forced-birthers have being doing for years.

Here in North Dakota, it is functionally impossible to get an abortion. We don't have a ban like South Dakota, but here are the laws:

-The parents of a minor must consent before an abortion is provided.

-A woman must receive state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided.

-Public funding is available for abortion only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.

-Abortion is covered in insurance policies for public employees only in cases of life endangerment.

-Abortion is covered in private insurance policies only in cases of life endangerment, unless an optional rider is purchased at an additional cost.

There is ONE clinic in the entire state of North Dakota that provides for elective abortion, and that's in Fargo. If you catch it right away, the abortion costs $525 dollars, plus travel expenses.

Grand Forks, Bismarck, Dickinson, and Minot: none of them have an abortion provider. 98% of the counties in North Dakota don't have an abortion clinic. There is not a single, solitary Planned Parenthood in the entire state: the last one got picketed out of existence some time ago.

And the strongest activism in the state? It is to pass a ban on abortion in North Dakota, to follow South Dakota's example, and make sure those uppity sluts get what's coming to them. Where I'm at in Grand Forks, there is NO pro-choice organization on campus. We have the "Collegians for Life" the most misnamed organization I have ever heard of, who actively trying and shame women into keeping pregnancies.

I'm willing to just go "Screw it; they made their bed, let them sleep in it. The majority wants this, let them have it. I have enough money to drive to Winnipeg or Minneapolis." Then immediately after that thought, I feel bad.

I lived in North Dakota when I was younger, a place called Bottineau. Bottineau was three hours away from Grand Forks, and four hours from Fargo. There are girls who live in Bottineau now, who live in Minot, live in Willow City: all of these communities that have no health center. Some of them may become sexually active; some of them may get raped, and for whatever reason are going to need an abortion. If I do nothing, and everyone chooses to do nothing, I'm condemning her to here. I am condemning her to nine months of forced labor, I am condemning her to be ostracized in her community, and I'm condemning her to a harder life because what her parents did. I am visiting the sins of the parent upon her.

I value self-autonomy: this is MY body. Mine. It cannot* be bought, it cannot be sold, it cannot be infringed upon. I cannot be compelled to give up my organs, my bone marrow, my blood to save a dying person. I cannot be compelled to have sex with someone against my will, and I cannot be compelled to not have sex with someone (with the option that they are willing as well). Similarly, I cannot be compelled, against my will, to nurture a fetus into a baby. I cannot be forced to give MY uterus, MY blood, MY nutrients, MY health for another: this is a choice I have to make for myself. I can't make it for someone else; I can't make it for another woman: and someone else can't make it for me.

Sex is not illegal, and nor is it immoral. Since it is neither illegal nor immoral, it is makes no sense whatsoever to punish women for having it. And make no mistake, unwanted pregnancy is a punishment: it easily falls under the cruel and unusual definition.

Before I get a troll in here that goes "you're trying to live without consequences", let me say this: not having punishment does not mean that I'm trying to shirk the logical consequences of my action. In valuing self-autonomy, I mean that no one can force me to give up my body BUT I should be aware of my actions. If I eat cheeseburgers every day, I have to accept the consequences of having poor health. HOWEVER: this does not mean that the government has the right to deny me health care on the basis that it was my choice to eat non-nutritious food. If I have sex, I fully accept that I may get an STD or get pregnancy, as a consequence of sex. But, that does not mean that I should be denied medical treatment of either problem: pregnancy is a medical condition that may be treated easily through abortion.

What gives anybody the right to demand that a woman, to demand that I, give up my health and autonomy for another?


At 2:45 PM, Blogger Squishy Cat said...

Wow, I didn't know any states had actual bans on abortion. I knew that a lot of places made it hard (like the laws in N. Dakota) but an actual ban? jeese.

That should be a violation of human rights. A woman shouldn't have to have an unwanted pregnancy. neither should a woman be forced into an abortion. It is a deeply personal choice.

The only law around abortion that should exist should be one that says no state can ban it, and it must be an available service.

At 10:52 AM, Blogger The Happy Feminist said...

Hey good post! And I really enjoyed the articles in the sidebar!

At 5:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 10:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just curious,

When did you become a human being?

When did you become eligible to have the right to live?

Are you racist?

What does abortion look like?

At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just answer two questions:
When did you become alive?
When did you become a person?


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