No Woman Wants to Have An Abortion, but
We MUST Support EVERY Woman’s Right To Choose
Of course that is true. Books about women’s experiences in choosing to have an abortion, having it, living with the decision, have these titles:
In Necessity and Sorrow, Peace after an Abortion, Healing after an Abortion, Dealing with the Emotional Aftermath of an Abortion, and similar.
Why in 2014, DECADES AFTER after the clarity of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v Wade, is women’s right-to-choose to terminate a pregnancy in the USA even in question?
Here is one main reason: MEN. More than a few very loud, conservative/reactionary, unfeeling, uncaring, ignorant and idiotic men. I call these men names with great care: they deserve every one of these appellations.
image from http://msmagazine.com
Last winter, Republican Allan Rothlisberg (Junction City, CA) who serves on a major House Committee (Commerce, Labor and Economic Development), stated: “If I was a woman over 50, I wouldn’t need gynecological services” (1/14/14). Bad grammar aside, the guy is a moron when it comes to women’s health care requirements.
Unfortunately, he is TYPICAL of the men in leadership positions spouting garbage. Offensive ridiculousness comes regularly out of those such as Todd Akin (R-Missouri), who invented the delightful term “legitimate rape” and claimed that there is no need for abortion to be legal in the case of rape because “women can just shut that down,” meaning, decide not to become fertilized, when we are raped.
I am not making this up.
Here is the other reason: RELIGION. Or, rather, the co-optation of Christian religious tenets and beliefs, tailoring and lying about the original teachings to “support” their platform. Nevermind that the same people who call themselves “pro-life” vote down tax increases or any funding for FEEDING, HOUSING, EDUCATING, and MAINTAINING HEALTH for actual, living children and adults, and that these same politicians and their supporters also want to exclude immigrants all together from ALL services. So much for being “pro-life” or even following their own Christian precepts.
image from http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com
As we approach another election, one in which the entire House of Representatives is up for grabs (and this part of Congress is the most culpable when it comes to misappropriation of politics and abusing their power in the name of religion), some facts seem important to know regarding abortion, a key issue (again). Please share. Please talk about this. I know I’m probably “preaching to the choir,” but we all have friends and relatives who could be better informed, and we ALL need to VOTE!
Who gets abortions in the USA?
What are the ages of women having abortions?
Anti-choice marketers would have us believe that most abortion-seekers are “irresponsible teenagers” who need “counseling” and “guidance,” implying that ignorance, carelessness, selfishness and a wanton disregard for life are influencing circumstances and driving abortion decisions.
However (big shock), they are incorrect. Only a small percentage (0.4%) of females who obtained abortions in this time period were under 15 years old. Interestingly, almost equal percentages (7 – 8%) were for women ages 15 – 17 and also for women 35-39. What types of circumstances and emotional characteristics could these demographic groups have in common, besides having an unwanted pregnancy?
82% of the women who had abortions in the 11-year period, 1999-2010, were between the ages of 18 – 34, with 34% as the largest single group, and it was for women ages 20 – 24.
Unsurprisingly, “older” women (NOT “ignorant” or in need of “guidance”) also get pregnant and decided to terminate the pregnancy: about 3% were over 40 years old.
What the reasons women choose abortion?
The conservative, anti-choice movement wants us to believe that the “primary” reasons for women’s choosing abortion are “selfish” and therefore not to be supported by law or community attitude. Their pie chart tries to illustrate that “most” women who have abortions do so because a pregnancy comes at the “wrong time” and /or they are “not ready” to have a child at that time. Even so, by their own research (which is questionable), only about one-quarter (27%) of the women gave that as their “primary” reason.
However, look at what the other survey options were and you can understand how so many chose the “not ready” category:
- “Lack of maturity” Who is going to self-select that reason? Very few: 8%
- “Relationship Issues” This is so broad as to be almost useless as a survey option. Only 9% selected this.
- “Fetal Health Concerns” and “Maternal Health Concerns” each received about the same, 3% – 4%, matching “School or Career Concerns” with 4% as well. These combined total about 12%, or one-eighth of the respondents.
- “Can’t afford the baby” (whose wording is already emotionally loaded, labeling the fetus a “baby” and then impugning the woman’s financial status at the same time) still garnered an almost equal percentage to those who said they weren’t “ready,” at 25%.
- “Finished childbearing” is fraught with judgment as well, but nonetheless, 20% selected this as their primary reason for terminating the pregnancy.
- “Rape” unsurprisingly received less than any, at 0.1%, while “Incest” isn’t on this chart (one could argue that all incest is rape, but to exclude it as a reason is significant, since conservatives keep voting down the right to choose, even in the case of rape or incest….).
image from http://www.conservapedia.com
The actual facts about USA women and abortion
About half of all women experience at least one unintended pregnancy in our lifetimes. This occurs mostly due to the fact that ALL birth control, even when used correctly and consistently, has a failure rate of at least 1% and most are worse.
image from http://www.abovetopsecret.com
The “Pill,” which is usually thought of as “effective,” fails almost 9% of the time. That means almost 1 out of every 10 women who rely on the Pill for birth control will become pregnant while taking it. In addition to causing all kinds of problems for the women that they were not expecting (no pun intended), pregnant women do not know they are pregnant until many months into the pregnancy (usually when the baby moves), which means the mothers are taking these hormones throughout the crucial first trimester. Birth control pills can have adverse effects on developing fetuses which usually causes birth defects and/or problems for these people later in life because of hormonal imbalances while they were developing in utero. The risk of ectopic pregnancies is also higher in women taking oral contraceptives after conception (which shouldn’t have occurred, but does).
Even worse, women who conceive while using spermicidal forms of birth control are counseled to have abortions because babies born to women using spermicides have astronomical rates of birth defects, up to and including stillbirth. The lesser problems include dwarfism, muscles missing or non-functional (eyelids’ muscles do not work, for example, so the eyes can’t fully open, which, without surgery, leads to blindness in newborns), hip displasia, clubfoot, cleft palate, and worse (New England Journal of Medicine), most of which, if reparable, require one or more surgeries and expensive rehabilitation.
image from http://www.nejm.org
Despite these facts, only about one-third of women who unintentionally become pregnant choose to have an abortion. This could be due to the fact that, of those with unintended pregnancies, about 60% already have one child. As I mentioned at the start: NO woman WANTS to have an abortion, and those who have already carried a pregnancy to term, parented a child, are even less likely to terminate. Statistics bear this out: most mothers choose NOT to terminate.
Furthermore, to refute another of the conservatives’ most specious arguments: the majority (73%) of women who choose to terminate a pregnancy ARE “religiously affiliated,” which means we are not ALL “godless heathens” (although, as a Buddhist, I am proud to be “godless” and couldn’t care less about being called a “heathen”).
image from http://naralprochoicewashington.tumblr.com
I could, but I won’t, tell my entire personal story, here. Bare facts: I was “typical” in that I was in my middle-twenties, educated, and pro-child (I was teaching Kindergarten-First Grade at the time). I chose to terminate due to my having been financially and emotionally unready and unable to care for a child at the time I got pregnant, which occurred due to a birth control failure (diaphragm, which has a 4% failure rate).
Please, whatever your story or gender, VOTE in or keep in a pro-choice candidate this November. The right to choose to terminate a pregnancy is a HUMAN right and, unfortunately, sometimes a necessity. Even if the choices are often made in sorrow, they must be safe and legal to make.
image from http://www.kylelife.com