November 5, 2011

No Excuse for Abortion

A person.

A proposed law in Mississippi will make it illegal to have an abortion except to save the mother's life. The new law will define "personhood" as a fertilized egg. Not even a growing fetus- a fertilized egg, two cells that haven't even implanted yet, which haven't even grown and don't have any nourishment in order to have a life. A fertilized egg will have full legal protection according to the law, which means it has the same rights as you and I and a person can be prosecuted for harming a fertilized egg. Including the mother carrying the fertilized egg.

So what if she has a natural miscarriage? Will it seem suspicious if she's unmarried? Or what if she does harmful things (drinking, eating mercury-laden fish) because she doesn't realize an egg has been fertilized? Sometimes women go weeks or even months before realizing they're pregnant, and if a fertilized egg is a person then a woman could be jailed for unknowingly harming or killing a "person."

What about birth control methods that prevent a fertilized egg from implanting? Or medical treatments that are lifesaving for a person but damaging to a fertilized egg? Even IVF is going to be sketchy under this law (and IVF is for people who want to have babies): an egg is fertilized outside of the uterus and then inserted in the hopes of implantation. Several eggs are used at once to increase the odds that one will implant and turn into a fetus and then into a baby. But what happens to those extra eggs? This new law will make it illegal for them to be discarded, which could mean parents who really want one baby might be forced to have several at once.

What about rape or incest? This new law insists that a resulting pregnancy will be more blessing than reminder of the rape, that women who go through with the pregnancy are happy they did, women who choose abortion regret it, and hey, there's always adoption (because there are so many families just waiting for an unwanted rape baby). One woman is standing up in favor is this proposed law, saying she is a rape survivor and regrets the abortion she had 13 years ago. Her words? "Rape is no excuse for abortion." She believes that what she did to her baby (the two cells that found each other in her uterus much like a tumor) was far worse than what her rapist did to her. And maybe it was. Maybe her 31 year old self is now regretting the baby she could have had at 18. But at 18 years old could she really have been in a good position to raise a baby she was forced to have? Does he really believe forcing other 18 year old women to have their rapists babies is for the best?

My biggest gripe with people who are so anti-abortion/pro-life as to want to legislate it and make it a crime for others to choose a different outcome is that adoption is always used as a fall back. Just have the rape baby and give it up for adoption, as if a life in foster care is good enough.

Maybe I'm just biased because I grew up knowing I was planned for, wanted (at least by one parent), provided for and taken care of, but I think all children deserve the same chance I got. Growing up in foster care, or in poverty because the mother had no choice but to give birth at a time she wasn't ready, or knowing you're unwanted and a burden, doesn't make for healthy productive adults. Sure there are those success stories of people who started out in shitty childhoods and became something great but they're not the majority. Shouldn't all kids be wanted? How would it feel to grow up in foster care because your mother couldn't bear looking at you because half your DNA and physical features belong to her rapist? How would you feel knowing our father was a rapist and probably has no idea you even exist? It doesn't seem reasonable to me. And that's why I believe the option to abort a fertilized egg or fetus should remain legal. It just means there's a choice, it doesn't mean that legal abortion becomes mandatory. If you want to have the baby you conceived after being raped you can, but if you decide that's an undue punishment you don't have to, and if you don't want an abortion but don't want a baby you can give it up for adoption. Three options to choose from, since no one chooses to be raped.

But that's just me. And if this thing passes Mississippi will be even more missable.

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