Reproductive freedom is the right to life. My life. This life that I have spent years dreaming of and building up is a life that needs protection from the vast right wing attempts to take it from me. They want to hand me, and all women of reproductive age, a potential death sentence by taking away our reproductive rights. They are succeeding
. Some people call this a "single issue," a "pet issue," or even a "losing issue." I call it a human rights issue
According to the World Health Organization
, 46 million women have an abortion annually
and almost half of those take place in unsafe conditions. These unsafe conditions result in death for approximately 70,000 women every year. Let that sink in - 70,000 deaths
because a woman's right to freedom was denied. Women risk death to end pregnancies every single day.
It is no different in the United States. It is estimated that between the mid-late 1800s and 1973, when abortion was illegal in most or all states, five thousand women died every year because of unsafe abortions. Several hundred thousand women a year were treated for health complications due to an unsafe abortion, many of whom were left with lifelong disabilities.
Without reproductive rights, half of this world's population will be reduced to baby-making machines. Baby-making machines do not have economic, social, or political power; they are voiceless. The liberals in this country can not afford to lose any more voices and the world cannot afford to lose any more liberals. And yet, some liberals are willing to support Democrats who do not support women's rights. My uterus shudders at the audacity.
If you are bothered by war, hate crimes, domestic violence, poverty, environmental degradation, slavery, child abuse, the death penalty or any of the other abuses against humanity, then you should be enraged at any attempt to take away women's rights. We will never have human rights until women have their rights, and women will never have their rights until they can choose whether and when to be pregnant. And let us be very clear, abortion is about pregnancy, it is not about parenthood.
Women who choose to have an abortion do so because they cannot bear the burden of carrying a child to term. Abortion is about ending a pregnancy, it is not about being unwilling to raise a child. If a woman does not want to raise the potential child, she can give the child up for adoption once the pregnancy comes to term. Adoption is simply not an option for women who choose to have an abortion because adoption does nothing to eliminate the lifelong financial, physical and emotional costs of pregnancy.
Financial Costs of Pregnancy
- Medical Costs - Depending on whether the pregnant woman has insurance, and how complicated the pregnancy, the medical costs of pregnancy can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
- Loss of Wages - Depending on how long the woman can work while pregnant and whether she is covered by a maternity leave program, a woman's income may be cut or completely eliminated due to a pregnancy.
- Loss of Promotion - Loss of perceived or actual productivity may put her out of the running for a deserved promotion.
- Loss of Job - Yes, it's illegal to fire a woman for being pregnant, but employers can either find or create other reasons to fire the pregnant employee. It still happens.
- Loss of Education - Of course there is the age old story of a woman getting pregnant and dropping out of high school or college because of it. Public schools also have a tendency to push pregnant girls out of school.
Physical Costs of Pregnancy
1. Illness - Almost all pregnant women experience some form of morning sickness, including dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. Some pregnant women experience the extreme version known as hyperemesis gravidarum, or HG. Women with HG spend most of their pregnancy in and out of the hospital. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 40% of all pregnant women experience some complication.
Besides morning sickness, pregnant women are at risk for incontinence, preeclampsia, cramps, hemorrhoids, back pain, heart burn, urinary tract infections, constipation, diarrhea, vaginal discharge, twitchy legs, infections, memory loss, fluid retention, depression, exhaustion, changed appetite - including pica, changed sense of smell, headaches, insomnia, loss of bone calcium, low immunity, high blood pressure and sore breasts.
According to WHO, "For women of reproductive age, pregnancy and childbirth are the leading causes of death, disease and disability, accounting for at least 18% of the global burden of disease in this age group." All of these complications can be exacerbated by a pre-existing condition. Some of these complications can be life-altering and last a lifetime.
- Appearance - It is tough, if not impossible, for a woman's body to be as tight and firm as it was prior to the pregnancy. This is true of her abs, her butt, her breasts and her vagina. On top of that, she may also have hair loss, acne, stretch marks, rashes, varicose veins, and a scar from a c-section. Now I know that appearance shouldn't matter, but it does. We live in a society where appearance is important and a woman's appearance is permanently changed by being pregnant.
- Death - According to the CDC, there are between 300 - 500 pregnancy-related deaths per year in the US. The numbers are not clear because of inconsistencies in record keeping from state to state. It is clear that some women die due to complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Women also commit suicide because they are pregnant.
- Violence - Pregnancy can be a catalyst for abusive behavior brought on by feelings of jealousy, abandonment, and stress in the non-pregnant partner. Many women are murdered because they got pregnant. According to The Family Violence Prevention Fund, "homicide is a leading cause of traumatic death for pregnant and postpartum women in the United States, accounting for 31 percent of maternal injury deaths. Evidence exists that a significant proportion of all female homicide victims are killed by their intimate partners."
Besides the joyous emotions felt by some pregnant women, there may also be:
1.Despair - What if I am a horrible mother? What if he is a horrible father? What if we can't do this?
- Fear - What if something is wrong with this child? What if I have complications? What if I die?
- Stress - How can we afford this? What if I get fired? Will my life be over once I have a child?
- Guilt - Am I doing all the right things to insure a healthy baby? Am I giving my partner enough attention? Am I giving my other kids enough attention?
- Anger - especially if the pregnancy is not planned or wanted.
The issue of abortion is about ending a pregnancy due to the reasons above or others, it is not about being unwilling to raise a child. This is an important distinction that gets lost when the issue of adoption is introduced into the debate. Adoption has no place in a discussion about abortion. In fact, to say that adoption is an alternative to abortion is to miss the whole point of having an abortion.
Abortion is about ending a pregnancy. Adoption is about ending parenthood. Everyone can choose to end their parenthood. Men and women do it everyday. Some leave a single parent to care for the child, some leave the child to be raised by relatives, some leave the child to be raised by strangers, and some just leave. Every parent has the option of ending their parenthood. That is where men get to make their choice. Men do not get to make the choice about abortion because they are not the ones who incur the cost of the pregnancy.
No one is ever forced into raising a child. No one should be forced to stay pregnant. No woman should be forced to pay the costs of a pregnancy just because her body is capable of conceiving. Pregnancies end all of the time for natural reasons. Many a miscarriage has ended in a flush down the toilet. Why should a woman who does not want to give birth be forced to continue a pregnancy when Mother Nature aborts many pregnancies all by herself?
I know some people have religious reasons for opposing abortion. That's fine. But, in the United States of America religion cannot be used as a basis for law. Those who oppose abortion should not have one. They have no more of a say in whether I have an abortion than I have a say in what religion they practice.
Frankly, it doesn't matter how people rationalize their opinion about other people's pregnancies. Continuing a pregnancy is a personal issue, only the pregnant woman incurs the costs. Nobody has the right to demand that a woman shoulder these costs for the purpose of adding another life to this planet. Women are not baby-makers and when they are treated as such the whole planet suffers. If you care about this planet and the humans that roam it you must stand up for the rights of women. In doing so, you will be taking a huge step toward insuring all humans know what it is like to live a life of liberty. That is no single issue.
Originally posted at My Left Wing.