Thursday, March 08, 2007

Pro-Choice Voice

Last night there was a meeting of the Pro-Choice Voice, our one and only pro-choice campus organization. It was pretty good, we had a local nurse, a professor from the law school, and a professor from the medicine department. The discussion went all over the place, but it was expressly focused on women's reproductive rights.

The discussion, while awesome and well overdue, was disappointing in how few people actually showed up. For as "liberal" as college is supposed to be, this is a socially conservative state. There aren't very many people who support abortion rights. Heck, I can't even broach the subject at my table; it gets way to personal way too fast.

For instance, my friend, let's call him Mark, is a birth control baby. His mom was on the pill when he was conceieved (it does happen). Because of this, his parents had a somewhat rushed engagement and he was a magical first-born that gestated in 6 months. I once asked "Did your mom every think about abortion?" he got very, very offended, which I guess I get, but not really.

He was offended because I suggested that he could have not existed, and he felt that I implied that it would have been better. I feel this is a point of emotional contention: since abortion is illegal, there is just one more step that could have had you not existing.

The thought of non-existence bothers people. Yet, oddly enough, it does not bother me in the least. The thought that I was unwanted, the thought that I may have ruined my parents' lives THOOSE thought bothers me. Non-existence is a non-issue, to me, and it very well could have been me. I was not a planned baby: my mother was told she wouldn't be able to get pregnant for five years, and I was up in five months. Abortion was legal at the time, she could have done a cost benefit analysis and decided that her and my father couldn't afford me and had an abortion before I existed. And that would have been okay, because I wouldn't exist to care. The world would probably not be that drastically different. The "It's a Wonderful Life" is a fallacy for most of us, and very narcistic view most of the time. I like that it was available to my mom to have an abortion. Maybe not very likely, considering she had no money and was raised to oppose it, but she had the option. She was not coerced into giving birth by the government.

Mark was embraced and loved too, and my guess is that his mom had the option (seeing as he was born post-Roe as well). Maybe not a very practical option, but an option. And instead of seeing my question of one of embrace (Yes, my wasn't expecting me, but choose to have and love me anyway) he saw it as one of rejection (you were a mistake).

I am not entirely sure how to counter this emotional appeal of non-existence when talking about abortion. I suppose there is the other argument that, if there are tons of ways you could have not existed (a la Back to the Future) that have nothing to do with abortion, so please get over your existential crisis other ways than deny women the right to our bodies, but that sounds somewhat callous.

Any ideas?


At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an athiest, and a 98 % pro-lifer.

Largely pro-life due to my belief that life for "me" began at conception,
that was the start of my existance,
that was my own personal "big bang" (no pun intended).
Three weeks after conception my heart started to beat.
First brain waves were recorded at six weeks after conception.
Seen sucking my thumb at seven weeks after conception.

You see, although moments after conception I was no more than a clump of cells,
that clump of cells was me,
I might have had a lot of growing to do but that clump of cells was me just the same.
I am glad I was left unhindered, to develope further,
safe inside my mothers womb until I was born.

Shouldn't they all be so lucky ?

They are our equil, no more, no less.


At 6:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh boy: let's start at medical facts:

At 3 weeks there is not "true circulation because blood vesel development is still incomplete".

At 6 weeks you don't have visible brain waves. You have a forebrain (that does the breathing, heart rate, et cetera that's starting).

At 6 weeks you START to get brainwaves. You're fingers aren't even devoluped yet, your limbs are just now in the right spot.

Now, getting to the excellent illistration of my point, namely that people have this "Oh no, I may not have existed" knee-jerk reaction against abortion, and your passive sexism.

You can "believe" that life began at conception. That's stupid, but that's your right. The US government protects your rights as a citizen at birth (which is why you have a "birth certificate" and not a "conception certificate").

There is nothing special about those clumps of cells. It can't think, it can't do anything, it doesn't feel pain, it doesn't have it's own mobility. It is a clump of cells, 2/3 of all the clumps of cells won't even hit implantation.

Furthermore, you say "I am glad I was left unhindered, to develop further". YOU (presuming that there was a you to speak of) didn't do a GODDAMNED THING. Your mother did the work. "You" weren't "unhindered" you were actively nurtured by your mother (a real, undisputed person I might add).

You weren't lucky (assuming your mom had access to abortion), you were choosen.

I wish that for everyone: to be choosen and embraced. Not to be a punishment, and not to dismiss women's contribution to giving life (which, fyi, is more than coming).

Goddess Cassandra

At 2:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said... really like them don't you ...or is it more like you don't like using birth control.

Abortion numbers are far too high…

Over 3,500 per day / Over 1.3 million per year in America alone.

50% of that 1.3 million claimed failed birth control was to blame.

A further 48% had failed to use any birth control at all.

And 2% had medical reasons.

That means a staggering 98% of unwanted pregnancies may have been avoided had an effective birth control been used.

There are an estimated 34 million women in need of contraceptive services in America — those who are not sterilized, pregnant or trying to conceive.

34 million…if the pill is 99% effective that means 1% of 34mill = 340,000 + 26,000 for the 2% = 366,000…………….

366,000 abortions per year..Doesn’t that sound better than 1.3 million…
And it could be even less, some of the implants are 99.9% effective….
0.1% of 34mill = 34,000 + 26,000 for the 2% = 60,000………WOW……..

1.3 million per year or 60,000 per year….


Implanon is new to the US but has been widely used in Aus for about five years.
The only bad report iv’e heard is if your a smoker you can’t use them due to increased risk of cardiovascular conditions.
Good incentive to give the cigs a miss…………
(not hard to work out which one I'd rather give up.)
Any way my daughter has one, and no problems, no pills to remember,and she is protected from unwanted pregnancies for three years.
(in fact our GP told my daughter they were 100% effective but they've left a 0.1% margin for error in case)

But wait, how do we get them all to use birth control, many I’ve encountered spit chips at the mere mention of the idea.

I know their are a number of people who can't use birth control for one reason or another.

But is that true for all types of birth control,
there are many different types to choose from,

surely one to suite most every-one.

I would suggest that the number of people that can't use any of them at all would be very small

but many use this as their reason.

If only people would choose to use birth control,

They wouldn't have to make another choice........

Cash payments for using birth control..............


At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now where on earth did I say I didn't support birth control? I *heart* orthotricyclin.

BUT, as my friend illistrates, birth control can fail. It happens. And abstienence-only education leads to people not being aware of or good at birth control.

Until this changes (everyone has access and knowledge of birth control, and can use it every time, and it never fails, and there are never any hazards to pregnancy) I want there to be abortion available. I no more like it than I like open-heart surgery: but it is a necessary tool for the lives of women.

I support birth control. And one part of birth control is abortion.


At 7:37 AM, Blogger Noumena said...

Bruce, Cassandra refuted pretty much everything you said in your first comment, and you responded with a spectacular non sequitur. Even if it's true that the average number of abortions per year would decrease significantly with better access to other forms of birth control, that doesn't have anything at all to do with whether or not `that clump of cells was [you].'

(And, because it's irrelevant to the actual topic of the post, I'll just mention in passing that your `98%' is wildly divergent from all the decent research I've seen on this issue. You should always give a citation for your evidence, and make sure you're paraphrasing accurately, not just using numbers rhetorically to make your point.)

Cassandra -- Remember, when you back someone into a corner for making a crappy argument, don't let them dodge the point by sending the debate off in another direction. Make them respond to your criticisms, either by defending the original claim or replacing it with a more defensible (but still related) claim. If they try to weasel out, call them on it, don't buy into the distraction. Keep the topic of the debate focussed!

At 7:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cassandra, a college student should at least know how to use a spellchecker. I've often thought that liberal women will eventually abort themselves out of existence. Do you think that's reasonable? I'm not pro nor anti; I believe that a women should choose whatever her heart will allow her to do. Two friends have had abortions. They both regret it bitterly. I feel bad for them, but they only know this after it's too late. It's a terrible quandry for any woman.

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What exactly did I spell wrong, and I will be more than happy to correct it. I did, in fact, run this through spellchecker.

Liberal women will not "abort themselves out of existence". Politics are not genetic, and that, quite frankly, is the dumbest idea on the face of this earth. Why don't you try googling "memes"?

It's too bad that your friends regretted their abortions, but feminism isn't about never regretting anything you do: it's about the full rights and responsibilities of being human.


At 9:24 PM, Blogger Logipundit said...

Yeah Cass, I'm gonna come at this from a slightly different angle, and sort of dissect your perspective.

Let's forget for a moment the scientific argument of when "life" begins...and let's forget for a moment whether we should have "conceptions certificates" or birth certificates.

Your original questions were:

1) why wasn't there a better showing at the Pro-Choice rally?

2) how do you counter the emotional appeal of non-existence when talking about abortion.

The QUICK answer to both of these questions is VERY simple:

People do not approach this subject logically. Anyone that does is not human.

We attempt to. You attempt to (eg: "[my mother] could have done a cost benefit analysis and decided that her and my father couldn't afford me and had an abortion before I existed." (PLEASE take no offense, but I laughed out loud when I read that...sorry, but think about it a second.)

...But we ultimately fail at logic "Heck, I can't even broach the subject at my table; it gets way too personal way too fast."

I could be mistaken and correct me if I'm wrong, but I think very few people actually consider their own existence or non-existence when it comes to abortion; they generally either say, "It's murder" (someone else's) or "Women have the right to choose" (women have the right, not "my mom had the right").

Yet none of this has ANYTHING to do with having a baby. Most people don't consider abortions when they get pregnant. Really. There's a portion of the population that having a baby would be a real, crippling, and impossible financial strain on...true. But how many of your friends fit into that category (hint: people in this category typically aren't big bloggers).

But most people, believe it or not, have babies in a monogamous relationship (shocker!!! and it's 2007 for crying out loud!) and never even CONSIDER getting an abortion.

I've strayed from my point, but here it is. Even in the most Liberal of environments, odds are more people will show up to a pro-life rally than a pro-choice rally, because it's way more emotionally positive to be "pro-life". Trust me, even if you're an uber-feminist that's probably best.

Who wants to be "anti-life?" Even if I was the most pro-choice of pro-choicers (I'm not) I'd rather a crowded pro-life rally than an exuberant pro-choice rally. By the same token, even if I was the most neocon of neocons (I am-sort of), I would rather a raving anti-war rally than ANYONE showing up to a "pro-war" rally...(can you imagine...a pro-war rally?).

Drop the logic, and acknowledge that people have an emotional (and equally valid) reason for not believing that abortion is ever the right choice.

And, REGARDLESS OF YOUR VIEWS ON THE SUBJECT, if you ever find that more people are excited about the right to choose an abortion than the sanctity of life...MOVE.


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