Wednesday, August 22, 2012

An Ounce of Prevention

Lady parts are back in the headlines again, their magical properties,  proper manners and property rights.  Pro Life and Pro Choice can be argued endlessly and never agreed upon by more than two people on any given day, much less the days leading up to a presidential election.

I know a thing or two about Lady Parts, having been a proud owner these many years.  I have used my magic for both good and evil and have a little something to say on the matter.

When it comes down to Right to Choose versus Anti-Abortion, there are more than two sides to the debate.  Everyone has a story, a different set of circumstances and none of it is black and white.  Here I am, an educated middle-class woman with a liberal democrat ideology and a host of friends who say we must have the right to choose.

But what if we don't get to choose?

Once upon a time, I was a happily married mother of one, planning to add to our family with another bundle of joy. I saw my doctor, I took the vitamins, I peed on the stick.  Happy, happy, joy, joy--it was positive, I was pregnant.  Then at eight weeks I began bleeding and miscarried.  To me this was a child I'd lost.  A planned for, dreamed about, wanted baby.  At eight weeks, with no heart beat and no chance of survival, this was still a child.  I cried, I grieved, I blamed myself. Eventually I went on to produce two more healthy children, but my miscarriage has colored how I view this issue. 

Can I say that it's okay to abort a fetus at eight weeks because it feels no pain, has no mental cognition, no finger prints, no rights?  I think of the child I lost and cannot say for sure, cannot know when life really begins or even when it ends.  That is my set of circumstances, my opinion, my personal feelings.

On the other hand, the thought of someone as out of touch with what goes on in my uterus as Todd Akin telling me what I can and cannot do with that magical organ makes my blood boil.  This is not the price of gas, the rules of the road, or Roberts Rules of Order.  This is my life, my uterus and my own damn business. 

I choose to believe the Anti-Abortion groups really think they are preserving innocent lives when they picket Planned Parenthood and try to pass broad legislation on reproductive rights.  I may be giving some of them more credit than they deserve, but I think of the child I might have had and realize they might not be able to see past the word "baby," either.

The male politicians with a limited understanding of basic human biology, the teenage girl who feels betrayed and trapped by her own body, the Christian groups who feel it is their divine duty to protect us from ourselves and the mother who can't afford another mouth to feed will never agree.  Too many different view points, backgrounds and circumstances.  Doctors can study it until the end of time and still not be able to pinpoint when life begins and a cluster of cells becomes a human being.  It seems this is one of those things only God can know--when we reach those pearly gates and He explains it all to us, it will all seem so obvious--but for now perhaps it's time to let it go.  Give this decision making process over to the woman, her doctor and her god.

Yet, there are still unwanted, ill-timed and dangerous pregnancies occurring.  Perhaps we're all going at this argument from the wrong end.  Maybe instead of fighting over what to do or not to do about unwanted pregnancies, we could put that energy into helping women prevent these pregnancies to begin with.  Support Planned Parenthood instead of bombing it, help those women find decent jobs and reliable child care instead of hurling insults at them.  And, yes, there is still the birth control issue to get through--who pays for it, who can use it, is my church-run hospital legally obligated to provide it--but think about how much time and money has been put into the abortion debate.  Divide this number by 100 and we could still have this problem solved before Todd Akin concedes the senate race.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

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