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Instead of writing he or she or he/she, and for the sake of simplicity, I'm going to use he or him.  That does not indicate my position on equality, since I believe the sexes are potentially equal.  It's just makes for easier writing, and anyway, "he" is shorter than "she"!

I don't understand how any human being can be so arrogant as to state categorically when a life begins.  Whether it's when the ovum is fertilized, or when it's a fetus at 4 weeks, 8 weeks, or 20 weeks etc. Who knows? Nobody knows.  It's like arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. People have opinions, and they may all be wrong.  Or they may all be right.  I don't understand how any person can be so sure he is right, not only for himself but also for everyone else, that he feels justified in imposing his point of view on others.  I don't understand how anyone, without standing in another person's shoes and understanding that person's intellect, emotions and value systems, can have the impudence to tell her what is right for her.  I do not understand a politician feeling justified in standing between a patient and her doctor making a difficult decision.  I do not understand a politician feeling justified in standing between a patient and her religious or spiritual advisor making a difficult personal decision of conscience.  I do not understand any person feeling he has the right to make medical choices and decisions of conscience for any other person.  I just don't understand.

I was born into and brought up in a restrictive religious environment.  That was the value system I brought to London University in the 1950s.   In the few years I was in London I learned much more than I was taught in medical school.  The world is much bigger than my small corner of origin. People have widely different backgrounds and widely differing viewpoints, and pretty much all think they are right. Not only the world, but also the universe is huge, and the chance that my corner is the only corner which "has it right" is zero in a billion billion billion.  Probably!  Many of society's rules are not logical (I read and enjoyed Mark Twain).  I need to make up my own mind about matters, and I might be wrong.  On the other hand I might be right, along with many other points of view conflicting with mine which might also be right.  Almost a lifetime later, I'm still learning these lessons and with the self-contradiction characteristic of the human condition, wish that I could inflict them on a world of insanity overtaking the U.S.  

Abortion was in almost all cases illegal in the 50s.  We students were initiated into the real world.  It was very disturbing for those of us from a rigid religious background.  We saw many women from poor and middle class backgrounds, and maybe some from upper class backgrounds, die of septicemia after botched abortions with knitting needles and coathangers and the like.  It was not a pretty sight.   Neither anatomy nor sterile conditions was understood by the operator.   There were not many antibiotics, and what was available did not touch the lethal bacteria.  On the other end of the scale, wealthy women had a surgical procedures in the operating room using an abdominal incision.  Prior to the procedure they were seen by psychiatrists who would predict dire psychiatric consequences should the pregnancy go to term.  In any case, by the time all this was determined, the pregnancy was far enough advanced it was possible to see the features of a child in the fetus.  It was quickly covered with a towel, and removed.   I hated it.  If you think that kind of situation would not occur in the US, think again. If the pro-lifers get what they want, and abortions become illegal again, it will NOT stop abortions.  The poor will get what they get, and the rich wives and mistresses and daughters will get what they want in secrecy, since anything can be bought.

My own experience of control of women came when I was about to be married. I went to a Family Planning Clinic to be fitted with a diaphragm. I was refused no matter what my religious persuasion, because I was not yet married.  There was nothing I could do.   Note well however, that condoms were available to men without question in pharmacies.  As far as pre-marital sex was concerned, women were sluts.  But I heard it said many times, "Boys will be boys".  

The change in the abortion laws in the UK in 1967 was a relief.  The US followed suit in 1973.  Methods of accomplishing abortion have changed, and there is even a "morning after" pill available.  The kind of abdominal procedure I saw as a young student is rare I understand.  Approximately 88% of abortions are done before 12 or 13 weeks.   Many people say that a woman should make up her mind before 20 weeks, but that shows ignorance on the part of the person making the statement.  It's not only ignorant, but criminal to my mind, when that kind of ignorance exists in a politician voting on the issue.  Many fetal abnormalities do not make themselves known until about 20 weeks, and there are several other sound medical reasons why a pregnancy should be terminated at a similar stage in the pregnancy.

I believe that having an abortion is never an easy decision to make.   Since it takes two to produce a pregnancy, it would be ideal to have two participating in the decision of what to do about it.  The fact that there are so many women raising children alone without the support of the biological father testifies to the fact that there are many men who abdicate responsibility for their sexual activity.  The woman cannot escape the responsibility, and without an involved partner, ultimately she alone has to decide what her path will be.  No one knows what she has already gone through in the relationship except herself, nor what she goes through in making a decision to abort.  She should not be judged.   "Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged".

As for the politicians making these decisions.  Well, in my mind they are practicing medicine without a license and should be taken to task legally for doing so.  REAL doctors take about 12 years to become board certified in their field of expertise, and even after that have to carry malpractice insurance against medical problems occurring following their decisions.   I wonder if the politicians thought of that?  A nasty lawsuit can ruin a career.

It's easy to see that these anti-abortion bills are the work of ALEC, since so many states have been introducing them, and since the bills are so similar.  It's also easy to see that in addition to the bills being anti-women, they are also all about money, not the "sanctity of life".   Take Texas for example.  It can be seen that Governor Perry cares significantly less about the CHILDREN of Texas than the FETUSES of Texas.  In 2011 he scaled back $10 BILLION dollars of child support over two years.  Yes, TEN BILLION DOLLARS!  This despite a report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities which found that nearly one in four Texas children lived below the poverty line.  This was also despite Texas having an $8.2 billion rainy day fund.  (Info from ThinkProgress).  The New Civil Rights Movement says "The citizens of Texas are stuck with a governor who has delivered to them the highest rate of repeat teen births."   Of all states, Texas "Ranks #4 in population living below the poverty line;  RANKS # 1 in CHILDREN WHO LACK HEALTH INSURANCE;  RANKS #50 in $s SPENT ON MEDICAID FOR THE POOR AND CHILDREN."   Lt. Gov. Dewhurst has acknowledged that the ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO SHUTTER ABORTION CLINICS.   The new abortion law will see to it that only 5 of the 42 clinics will be able to stay open to serve the needs of women in Texas, and none of them are in rural areas.   Oh, and as a bonus, nothing to do with abortion, Perry vetoed a bill on paying women equal pay for equal work.  Nice work Perry, champion of women and the sanctity of life!

But all is not lost.  There is a continuing movement to fight this injustice.  As the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said, "Texas women are renowned for their strength, courage and smarts."  And women across the nation likewise.   Great work all women, supportive men, and pro-choice organizations working hard to keep women's options open!!   Keep up the pressure!  Keep on letting America know what's really happening!   Let's all show the controlling right-to-lifers, and the rich and powerful that this is truly "...the land of the free and the home of the brave!"      

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Morning After Pill Does Not Induce Abortion (8+ / 0-)

    The forced birth crowd likes to say that it does, a misrepresentation that gets their followers all hopped up on the righteous indignation.

    Nice work on the main story, the reminder of how women will suffer and die if the laws are rolled back to the hideous days before Roe v Wade.

    Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies have nothing to lose but their chains -Marx (-8.75,-8.36)

    by alain2112 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 10:35:31 PM PDT

  •  its easy to know when life begins. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leftcandid, Goldmund

    a blastocyst is alive, there's no disputing that.

    •  life/ a life (0+ / 0-)

      In my article I wrote "a life". There is a difference between "life" and "a life".
      Quote, (capitalization added) :-
      "  I don't understand how any human being can be so arrogant as to state categorically when A LIFE BEGINS."

  •  Man created God in his own image -- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    what he imagines he would be like, if he weren't mortal, fallible and dumbfounded by the external world. Consistent with his creative impulse, man has determined that the future of manking rests in his loins and the sperm he implants deserves/demands to be nurtured. That some other human should countermand his intent is insufferable. That man must rely on a woman to reproduce himself is beyond the pale -- an insufferable insult to his authority.
    That Mother Nature eliminates the vast majority of his sperm, his vital fluids, is bad enough. For some mere woman to exercise a veto is, as I said, insufferable.

    Humans are inclined to think that what is done to them has something to do with them or, at a minimum, is prompted by them. That's a mistake. The fixation on the vital fluids has nothing to do with women. That women are not similarly fixated on their eggs is beside the point. Perhaps they would be, if they could see them, as men see their sperm projected from their organ. Superficial optics account for much.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 03:28:53 AM PDT

    •  "the future of manking .........." (0+ / 0-)

      I have a really hard time with this point of view.  If it were true, then why do so many men abandon the results of their "creative impulse"?
      Some intellectual men may think like this occasionally, but I am assured by a reliable source that when planting their seed, most men are only interested in "getting it off", and it's perfect if the woman "gets it off" too.
      My aim in writing this diary was to keep the discussion alive on the topic of abortion. To keep alive the anger at intrusive government and controlling organizations who would like to practice medicine without a license, and dictate morals and values.  Texas has ALREADY filed a new bill to ban abortions after 6 weeks.   The medical and sociological consequences of that are enormous.  It's a topic all to itself.  Do you remember in the movie, "Zorba the Greek" when the widow was stoned for having a sexual relationship outside marriage, while her partner got way "scot-free"?  In many cultures and in our own history, the woman is the punished one for "sexual impropriety".   But if I point the finger at someone else, there are three pointing back at me.  My guess is that these bills arise from sexual guilt carried by the proponents.  It's about time we grew up.  Power to those who are pro-choice and do NOT want us to go back to the middle ages!

  •  Speaking as someone who was anti-choice before (0+ / 0-)

    he became pro-choice, I think the pro-choice movement shouldn't shy away from the when-life-beings thing.  We should accept openly that a fertilized egg is, as science reveals, a genetically unique individual human life that is ended if aborted, and that that's OK.  What a blastocyst is definitely not is a person, which is a legal definition of someone who has been born & is thus in communion with society.

    If a woman can miscarry a pregnancy based on internal biological factors, why can she not choose miscarriage based on internal mental factors, that take all kinds of other factors in her life into account?  It's a moral, sane position, because people do not generally believe women to be moral monsters who would, for perverse reasons known only to them, willingly carry pregnancies into 2nd & 3rd trimesters only to choose abortion in order to torture a fetus to death because of whatever sick motive.  That does not happen... but some people like to imagine it does, in order to persuade others to oppose choice across the board, in order to promote the social domination of women.

    What you must understand is that far too many people in this ostensibly modern age remain premodern with respect to female independence and freedom.  They remain stuck in a dominating patriarchal mindset according to which women are most definitely NOT EQUAL to men.  They insist on the past ruling the present, against all indications of progress.  They insist on men dominating women; that the role of women is to be subservient birthing units who receive cock & sperm at the male whim.

    Please understand this, & learn more about it, because we can't afford to have anyone not understand it.  Ancient, often tribalistic patriarchy is at the root of the oppression of women, & we must drag all our citizens through an evolution up & beyond it in order for all women to be free & equal participants in cultural & political life.  This is necessary to save the world from the imbalance of male power & influence.

    It's time to start letting sleeping dinosaurs lie, lest we join them in extinction by our consumption of them.

    by Leftcandid on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 05:37:47 AM PDT

    •  Thought provoking (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Your comment that internal mental factors (and external environment) deserve consideration as well as biological factors sunk home with me. It took society many years to recognize what goes on in our heads is part of our health and biology. I think your premise comparing this is excellent.

      I also realized the term "miscarriage" has completely replaced spontaneous abortion in our lexicon. Presumably due to the negative connotation of the word abortion.

      It's easy to be a libertarian if your finances are secure, you have good healthcare and your future is bright.

      by Cecile on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 07:05:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "life" is a red herring (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LadyMiseryAli, Goldmund, Eyesbright

    The sperm and the ova are alive.
    The zygote is alive.
    The fetus is alive.
    The newborn is alive.
    The child is alive.
    The teenager is alive.
    The adult is alive.
    The elder is alive.
    They all have human genetic code.
    On the basis of "human" and "life" they are all equal.

    The discussion should be focused on personhood.  We have ample precedent for according different rights to different points along the personhood spectrum.  The very young and the mentally diminished may have others make decisions for them including life or death decisions.  Why do we treat one side of the birth canal differently from the other?  Is it because on one side of the birth canal women would be the primary decision makers?

    Why is "pro life" TX Gov Rick Perry proud to sign the anti-abortion law and proud to have executed more inmates than any other governor?



    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

    by Mosquito Pilot on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 06:52:24 AM PDT

  •  Why would a "loving god" put a soul (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in a fetus that was going to be aborted.  And if "god" did view fetuses as fully alive, you would think Jesus would have bothered to mention it.

    The old testament does touch on the issue, when it mentions the penalty if someone attacks a pregnant woman, and ends the pregnancy "but the woman is not harmed." Hint.  It is not murder.

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