Thursday, October 19, 2006


I have always been adamantly pro-choice. Depending on the discussion at hand, I will argue in favor of Judith Jarvis Thompson's violinist perspective, take the position that even if it is a life, it’s okay to terminate a pregnancy, and support the legalization of late-term abortions. I attended to March to Save Women's Lives on the Mall a couple of years ago, and I always write cranky letters to my conservative senators whenever NARAL or NOW sends me an email alert.

But while in some debates on social issues I find it nearly impossible to see the other side of the issue (How does letting gay people get married threaten the quality of others’ marriages exactly?), when it comes to the abortion debate I can see where the other side is coming from. After all, if I truly believed that abortion was murder of a human being, I would feel a moral obligation to work to make it illegal, too. I think it was my ability to see the other side of the abortion debate that made me briefly question my beliefs last year after I miscarried.

I’m not sure what brought the idea to mind initially. I was lying in bed in the middle of the day, looking out the window and listening to the hum of the air conditioner while I let my mind drift. Suddenly I found myself wondering: if I am grieving like this for a nine-week-old fetus, how can I argue that it wasn’t a life? How can I believe that it’s okay to end a pregnancy on purpose if I’m this sad to see this one end for no apparent reason?

It didn’t take long for the answer to occur to me. I knew that I wasn’t grieving the loss of a life. Not yet. I was grieving for the loss of the hopes that I had attached to my pregnancy. For the plans I had made for my baby's arrival in April. For the transformation of my life and my self that I had looked forward to so eagerly. I wasn't grieving for "Elvis" (um, I'm apparently into the stupid fetal nicknames), but for the baby I had hoped Elvis would one day become.

Reading Sundry's post earlier this week about how having a child has tranformed her thoughts on abortion made me realize that I am still thinking about these things. It comes to mind on occasion when I feel Sticky kick my liver or shift so that I can feel her back through my belly with my hand. And once I give birth and hold her for the first time, my perspective may change again. I don't believe I will change my position on the legalization of abortion. I simply believe that it will add another dimension to the way I think about it.


aus blog said...

Something for Pro-choicers and Pro-lifers to concider.....

World estimations of the number of terminations carried out each year is somewhere between 20 and 88 million.

3,500 per day / 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 stagering 98% may have been avoided had an effective birth control been used.

I am a 98% pro-lifer, 2% Pro-choicer, who has no religious convictions at all . I didn't need the fear of god or anything else to come to my decision, just a good sense of what is right and wrong.
You see we were all once a fetus. Is it beyond the realm of possibilities that when your mother first learned she was carrying you, she may have considered her options? What if she had decided to terminate? Would that have been OK?
You would not exist, if you have children they would not exist, and your (husband or wife) would be married to someone else. You would have been deprived of all your experiences and memories. In this day and age with terminations being so readily available and so many being carried out, if you make it to full term
you can consider yourself lucky. Lucky you had a mother that made the choice of life for you. Don't you think they all deserve the same basic human right, LIFE?

At the point of conception is when life began for you. This was the start of your existence. Your own personal big bang. Three weeks after conception heart started to beat. First brain waves recorded at six weeks after conception. Seen sucking thumb at seven weeks after conception.

I am convinced that in the not too distant future, people will look back at many of the practices of today with disbelief and horror.

ann said...

I always enjoy your thoughtful blog entries, so thank you.

I think living a life where you are examining both yourself and the world around you adds dimension to your understanding of life. Subtle shifts and changes to ourselves and our thoughts based on our experiences are to be expected and perhaps even cherished.

As for the pro-life/pro-choice issue, it's been in my thoughts recently. The Republican gubernatorial candidate in Alaska this year is clearly (and perhaps adamently) pro-life. It's subtly influenced the way I'm thinking about legislatures, laws, elections and choice. And I'm downright fearful that her being elected to office would radically change the choices Alaskan women can make. In a state so far from everywhere else, it has tremendous implications for us.

Thanks again for the thoughtful blog entry.

jfh said...

Sandblower, you blow me away with your deep thoughts. On the question of pro or con abortion, I'm definitely pro abortion. I don't use the term 'pro-life' because that makes me pro-death, which i'm not. I'm pro using common sense. If a child is not wanted, if the time is not right, don't have that baby. I love Native American cultures. There is a good reason their women rarely had more than two or three kids. I don't believe that religion has any business in women's bodies--ever.