Although she won’t listen, I’m giving my 16-year-old self advice: Guest Post on Krysten Lindsay Hager’s blog

Although she won’t listen, I’m giving my 16-year-old self advice: Guest Post originally on Krysten Lindsay Hager’s blog

I turn 61 today, so in a great age inversion, I’m again sending advice to my 16-year-old self: this was originally posted on May 7, 2015, on http://www.krystenlindsay.com/blog/although-she-wont-listen-im-giving-my-16-year-old-self-advice-by-sally-ember-edd. Thanks, Krysten!

Maybe she’ll listen THIS time…?


Dear 16-year-old Sally,

Sally 1971
Sally at 16

From the impossibly ripe old age of 61, I send you/me advice, based on knowing how things turn out for us and recognizing choice points we could decide differently about, if we are so inclined.

If so, given the simultaneous nature of time and quantum physics’ declaration that anything that CAN happen DOES happen, we will make millions of different choices, rendering some of this advice moot. Even so, here we go.

1) Friends
The “cool” kids aren’t better friends. In fact, they’re usually so intent on keeping their “cool” status (which is always precarious) that they can be deceitful, mean-spirited, unfaithful, disloyal and unreliable in every way. Cultivate and BE the type of friend who cares more about being a good friend than anyone’s perceived (and quite temporary) status. Keeping good friends is a lot more important than attaining “cool” status.

Status in high school will be long-forgotten and completely irrelevant as soon as you graduate. Decades after high school is over, you’ll still be friends with the people worth befriending. You won’t even remember the names of those you were so keen to impress at 16 or why you (or anyone) thought they were so “cool.”

Do you still like graphs and diagrams? Here are four quadrants explaining the four types of friendships people can have and where one’s distribution of friends are likely to fall.
—Quadrant 1 (Q1) is in the TOP RIGHT = IDEAL, which are friendships that are Healthy and Enjoyable, both. If you’re lucky, most of your friendships belong here.
—Quadrant 2 (Q2) is in the BOTTOM RIGHT = PROBLEMATIC, which are friendships that are Healthy but Not Enjoyable You can change what you think is “enjoyable,” but you can’t create “healthy” so easily. Change your point of view.
—Quadrant 3 (Q3) is in the TOP LEFT = PROBLEMATIC, which are friendships that are Enjoyable but Not Healthy What makes these “enjoyable”? Really? Cut it out. Get out.
—Quadrant 4 (Q4) is in the BOTTOM LEFT = “COME ON,” which are friendships that are Neither Health NOR Enjoyable if your’re smart, NONE of your friendships belongs here.

Friendship quadrant
image from http://waitbutwhy.com

2) Relationships with Boys (and Girls)
You will mostly be infatuated and not in love. Feelings of attraction, interest, lust, even love are not the same as being “in love,” but they SEEM to be and can fool you. These other feelings can be very strong and important, but they aren’t meant to help you choose a life partner, just a date or a relationship for a few months. Plan accordingly.

Never blow off a good friend (male or female) to go on a date or spend more time with your date or sex partner. Sex partners/dates will change frequently; friends can last a lifetime, if you’re careful and sincere. Be a good friend and you’ll HAVE good friends.

Great litmus test for whether or not your feelings are deep and/or significant for a date/sex partner: imagine that one of you is in a serious car accident and left with injuries that cause that person to become a quadriplegic. Would either of you be loyal and devoted enough to the other to take care of the paralyzed partner for the rest of your lives? You might never have sex again with that person (or, if you’re monogamous, with anyone else, either). You might never be touched again by/touch that person (paralyzed: remember?). You might never sleep in the same bed, never dance together upright, never take walks next to each other holding hands.

NOW: are you still convinced that you’re “in love”? That’s okay. Have a good time, but don’t make life-long promises.

young-couple-man-wheelchair-11763960
image from http://www.dreamstime.com

3) Sex, Birth Control, Sexuality, STDs, Sexual Identity
You don’t need to be in love to have sex. You don’t need to be having sex to purchase/acquire birth control and STDs protection (condoms, pills, IUDs, etc.), and, in fact, DON’T WAIT! If you are even considering having intercourse or fluids-exchanging sex with ANYONE, go to Planned Parenthood or a free clinic or your doctor and find out what your best choices are. BE PREPARED.

It is not romantic, fun, easy or worthwhile to become pregnant at 16 or contract an STD, ever. Get educated. Find out what is contagious, how easy it is to get pregnant even before or without having actual heterosexual intercourse, how quickly and easily fluids can be exchanged that carry diseases between sex partners and be SMART and PREVENTIVE.

If you can’t talk about these things with your potential sex partner, if you can’t take off your clothes and touch each other with some lights on, if you can’t talk about what you like and don’t like regarding sexual touching, YOU ARE NOT READY TO HAVE SEX and/or YOU ARE WITH THE WRONG PERSON. For real. Don’t do it.

90% of sexual pleasure is in your BRAIN. So, if you’re not feeling safe, cared about, respected, listened to, wanted, known, you won’t climax (come; have an orgasm) AND you won’t feel good afterwards about what you’re doing with that person.

Consent must be given and received before having sex, but it is NOT an obligation to give (or get) consent.

Sex WON’T “fix” a relationship, “bring you closer” or make a tentative connection “better.” It’s just sex. You might temporarily feel more connected after having some sexual contact, but when your clothes are back on, you’re back to being yourselves and you’re stuck with whatever relationship you already have.

Having sex doesn’t cause you to become more mature, smart, “cool,” or ready for responsibility. You’re still YOU; you’ve just added sex to the mix and that is usually NOT a good idea at your age. TRULY.

Be honest with yourself. What turns you on? What/which kinds of people? Are you attracted only to certain types of people? One or more genders?

Here are some clues: “Nice” is NOT boring. Meanness doesn’t signify someone with higher intelligence, just a facility with sarcasm. Humor that is unkind reveals a person using it who is not kind. Pretty eyes, a great voice, fascinating hands or other body parts do NOT lead to having a good relationship: a PERSON has to be attached to these features whom you actually like.

Sex aids
image from http://www.nydailynews.com

4) School, Science and Writing You will have some horrible science teachers and some excellent English/writing teachers. Your math teachers will mostly be all right, but not great. Same with social studies and other subjects: good, but not great. Don’t let the qualities of your teacher determine what YOU are interested in pursuing.

You will use writing throughout your life, for almost everything related to education and work. So, continue to improve your writing/editing skills. You will never regret becoming a good writer.

If you love science (or anything else), stick with it, even if the teachers are awful in high school. It gets better in college and beyond. You can also learn on your own throughout your life, so learn how to learn: that is key.

High school is only 4 years of your life: don’t let it define you or your future choices overly much. Right now, high school is one-fourth of your years on earth, but the older you get, the smaller that percentage becomes. By the time you’re thirty, these four years aren’t even one-eighth of your life. See?

Dr. Seuss quote
quote from The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.

5) Meditation and Religion You won’t feel connected to Judaism, regardless of how many years you are forced to attend religious education classes and how many of your friends and family members are Jewish. That’s all right.

You will find meditation, then Buddhism to be spiritual “home” for you. Say “yes” when your friends offer to bring you to meditation classes. Say “no” when people try to push you into anything that doesn’t feel right to you.

You will have to pave your own way, even though you’re the only one in your family to travel this spiritual path. You’ll be happy with yourself and you don’t harm anyone else, so go for it.

Buddhist meditation pose
image from http://www.opendharma.org

I hope you’ll take these pieces of advice to heart and follow them. If not, you’ll not be any worse off, at least.

Love,

Older Sally


Sci-fi/romance author, former writing teacher and editor and LIVE talk show host of the almost weekly G+ HOA/Youtube videochat, CHANGES conversations between authors, Sally Ember, Ed.D., is my guest blogger today.

Profile pic fewer distractions 2015

“I have been passionate about writing since I was nine years old, when I wrote and published my first story, a fairy tale about an inquisitive princess (see? I started out autobiographical). Always competitive, I’m absurdly proud that I won prizes for my poetry, stories, songs and plays early in life. Did I use up my creativity good karma too soon?

“I was born Jewish on the cusp of Leo and Virgo, which seems to mean that my life has been infused with change. Currently, I meditate, write, swim, read and host CHANGES most Wednesdays, 10 – 11 AM Eastern time, USA, in St. Louis, Missouri. I have one older brother and two younger sisters (none lives in St. Louis but we’re in close contact) and I used to have seven step-sisters and two step-brothers (we’re not in touch).

“I began meditating at age 17 with Transcendental Meditation (T.M., like the Beatles) and have been meditating for over 40 years. I became a Buddhist in 1996 (in this lifetime, anyway).

“In my ‘other’ professional life, I have worked as an educator and upper-level, nonprofit manager in colleges, universities and private nonprofits for over thirty-five years in New England (every state), New Mexico and the San Francisco Bay Area before returning to live in St. Louis, MO, in August, 2014. I have a BA in Elementary Education, a Master’s (M.Ed.) and a doctorate in education (Ed.D.).

“I enjoy blurring the lines between fact and fiction in a multiverse of multiple timelines, often including exciting elements of utopian science fiction and Buddhism. My sci-fi /romance/ speculative fiction/ paranormal/ multiverse/ utopian/Buddhist-infused, Jewish-themed ebooks for New Adult/adult/YA audiences, The Spanners Series, which are unique, uplifting, intriguing and challenging, according to readers. Vol I, This Changes Everything, is now FREE everywhere since Vol II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, released June, 2014. Look for Vol III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, in 2015, and Vol IV – X in subsequent years; about two per year is the plan.

“I have one son, Merlyn, who is a computer network engineer and musician. Merlyn, my sisters, my mom and several friends serve as my beta readers and sounding boards for much of my writing and also contribute ideas and characters for my books, as do others in my family and friendship circles (voluntarily or not). The stories in The Spanners Series are completely true and all these characters and situations exist in some timeline or another.

“Since I alternate the POVs and focus on characters and situations to feature those who are younger/YA/NA for even-numbered Volumes of The Spanners Series and feature older adults (primarily) in odd-numbered Volumes, I plan to ‘crowdcreate’ Volume VIII with younger writers and Volume IX with those closer to my age (older adults). I invite readers to submit to me your ideas and suggestions and/or volunteer to collaborate in other ways for either of these Volumes (your choice) no later than January 31, 2016. sallyember AT yahoo DOT com

logoAuthorsDen

“I am also a some-time editor/proofreader, infrequent reviewer (but PLEASE do not send me your books or requests; I choose what to review and I rarely do it since I focus on writing and hosting), frequent blogger and talk-show host, so I geared the ‘rewards’ for my Patreon Crowdfunding campaign to be useful to those who choose to donate (as little as $4 gets a donor something). The Patreon page features videos of me singing (a capella; be nice) an original song about my campaign and describing the campaign goals and rewards. Link is below.

“I blog regularly on a wide range of topics and I also include reviews, interviews, guest blog posts, and excerpts from my ebooks. Visit and comment, follow, ‘like,’ and share.” http://www.sallyember.com/blog

BOOK BLURBS:

Volume I, This Changes Everything, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., PERMAFREE

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks
Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of  beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse.  When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are. The MWC selects Clara to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions. In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth? This Changes Everything spans the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series. Are YOU ready for the changes?

Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, The Spanners Series $3.99

51-N7O96ZSL._UY250_
Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back in Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever. Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II. How would YOU do with the changes?

LINKS:
WordPress Blog and main Website: http://www.sallyember.com
Tumblr: http://sallyember.tumblr.com/
Twitter: @sallyemberedd
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sallyember
FB Spanners Seriespage: https://www.facebook.com/TheSpannersSeriesbySallyEmber
Personal Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sally.ember (Sally Sue Fleischmann Ember)
Google+ Spanners Series page: http://goo.gl/tZKQpv
Personal G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SallySueEmber
Youtube Channel: The Spanners Series books’ trailers, author readings, CHANGES shows and more:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqnZuobf0YTCiP6silDDL2w/videos?view_as=public
Patreon Crowdfunding Campaign: http://www.patreon.com/sallyember
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Ember/e/B00HEV2UEW/
Amazon ebooks’ pages:
Vol I: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8
Vol II: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyEmber
Vol I: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197
Vol II: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969
Kobo:
Vol I: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/this-changes-everything-3
Vol II: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/this-changes-my-family-and-my-life-forever
Barnes & Noble nook:
Vol I: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/this-changes-everything-sally-ember-edd/1117444256?ean=2940045417921
Vol II: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/this-changes-my-family-and-my-life-forever-sally-ember-edd/1119080804?ean=2940045805957
iBooks/iTunes:
Vol I: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/this-changes-everything/id746840776?mt=11&ls=1
Vol II: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/this-changes-my-family-my/id853674553?mt=11
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7237845.Sally_Ember
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/sallyemberedd/en
Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/myworks
Library Thing: http://www.librarything.com/profile/sallyember
BookLikes: http://sallyember.booklikes.com/
Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/authors/a1002726320/Sally-Ember-Ed-D-/books
Authors’ Database: http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/5338-sally-ember-ed-d

Covers and Logo Art by Aidana Willowraven: http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/

Archived CHANGES conversations between authors LIVE shows: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq 
Authors can learn more about and get yourselves scheduled on as guests:  https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/ 

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No Woman Wants to Have An Abortion, but We MUST Support EVERY Woman’s Right To Choose

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.

Men do not get pregnant

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.

Jesus policy preferences

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?

ages of women abortion

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….).

AbortionReasons

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.

Birth control failure rates

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.

Spermicide problems

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”).

Abortion stats actual

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.

Vote smart

image from http://www.kylelife.com

No Woman Wants to Have An Abortion, but We MUST Support EVERY Woman’s Right To Choose

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.

Men do not get pregnant

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.

Jesus policy preferences

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?

ages of women abortion

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….).

AbortionReasons

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.

Birth control failure rates

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.

Spermicide problems

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”).

Abortion stats actual

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.

Vote smart

image from http://www.kylelife.com