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Ruminations on Abortion

I've been ruminated more about abortion since doctor Tiller was murdered, and his clinic closed. I disagree with both sides. I don't like the idea of a woman waiting until her second trimester to decide to end a pregnancy. It seems to me that any reasonable woman under most circumstances would be able to choose wholeheartedly to bear the child, or to abort the fetus, before 3 months had passed. Or let's say 2 months, that she did not know she was pregnant for the entire first month. Still, it is long enough. Maybe to some people this is splitting hairs.

So what about abortions in the first trimester? Are they any better? Well to tell the truth, I don't like any of the business of women going to embattled clinics with male doctors to get their uteri scraped clean. I got my uterus scraped out once for non-pregnant medical reasons. It is a routine procedure for some doctors, called a D&C or dilation and curettage. But if I were pregnant....maybe the "procedure" wouldn't feel so routine. For me a life matters, but if I am bearing that life, I would want to feel I could offer it certain guarantees, and if I could not, I might not choose to bear it.

It seems to me that there are some adults who are alive but not really living. More than we want to admit. There is a lot of ranting and raving about wanting to save lives, but the hypocrisy is miles deep. If the life of a few living cells in a woman's uterus is worth so much, what are we willing to do for the life of an 80 year old man who worked on the railroad? Why do we keep a terminally diseased 10 year old alive years into the pain? Why don't we let people die when it is their time? It just seems that we have no principle or standard as a society that is really guiding our actions. Many of the values trumpeted are only shallowly held.

I understand the military thinking of a man who kills an abortion doctor. The thought is that by killing one man he can defend many unborn. He may even be right, that by killing one man he can save others. But maybe not. It all depends on how it plays out. If a thousand extra children are born to women who do not want them, many more people may die violently as a result? Not being aborted is no guarantee of a happy or fruitful life. The action and reaction ripples spread far into the future. It is beyond me to say which is better.

Another thought colors my reasoning, and that is that women used to take care of such matters as fertility, pregnancy, birthing and abortion largely without the assistance of men. In many cultures that I know of, traditionally the choices and methods of reproduction were left to women. There are many herbs that can induce abortion. There are other ways to induce a miscarriage besides a coat hanger. We need to know them. Women do not want to bear every fetus that is implanted in them. We have our own reasons, and our own ways.

To me life is continuous. There is no time when an egg and sperm are not alive, or a blastocyst is not a person. The life force runs strong like a current through the whole chain of events. Anywhere that you break the chain is breaking the chain....but is it murder? Does it justify murder? Never. When is it murder? Well that is the question, isn't it. It is definitely murder when you shoot someone. When a woman throws her children off the Sellwood bridge, and the 5 year old boy drowns, is that murder? What will the 7 year old girl say? When a woman swallows herbs every night for a week, is that murder? When a man hits a pregnant woman and she falls and aborts, is that murder? Keep this in mind: 31% of pregnancies are spontaneously aborted in the first trimester. THIRTY ONE PERCENT. Are they really all "spontaneous"? How many of those abortions are caused by the choices of the mother? There are men who would say that it is a crime for sperm to spill on the ground, that "every sperm is sacred". Well maybe so, but not every fluffy seed from a dandelion is destined to grow in the yard.

I guess to me, as a woman, it seems time that we women take this issue away from the men. It now becomes my project to research natural methods for ending and supporting pregnancies. Also to consider counseling methods to help women come to suitable and timely decisions when pregnant. As women we are responsible for the children we may bear. We cannot afford to take this question lightly. Let us trust our own wisdom. Let us not allow violent men to rule us in any way.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 12th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
This issue has left us with more un-answered questions than have been resolved in a long time.

First, so you don't have to guess. I am generally against abortion. Life as a force begins at conception. I would like to see that when this event is set in motion that it not be interrupted.

Having said that, and knowing that abortions do and will occur, either in a safe and clinical setting, or in a back alley with a coat hanger or such, then allowances need to be made.

Need a reasonable digression into the topic? Pick up a copy of the Cider House Rules by John Irving.

Once the technology of abortion was discovered, the management game was on. It is not going to go away. So in consideration of that, I would rather see safe and responsible services being offered than the option taken away, and we return to the days of poorly done and botched abortions where many women, mostly poor and underserved, would suffer. Have no doubt, abortions will occur whether they are legal or not.

To manage this matter, people from both sides of the issue will need to be able to see and empathize with another person's situation and come up with a functional, and occasionally dynamnic, solution. So far none of us have done a really good job of this.
Jun. 13th, 2009 01:34 am (UTC)
Re: abortion...
Well I think that what we all need, on all sides, is a dose of the compassion that you mention. I can understand so many different ways to reason it through that I myself sit on the fence, unwilling to admit that I would seek an abortion, and unwilling to support making it illegal. Frankly, the best answer I have to the entire quagmire is better education and birth control and rape prevention such that nobody gets pregnant unless they want to be pregnant! Then we would have no issue with abortion. Sure, it's impossible to attain 100%, but we could go for 99% and then let the other 1% sort itself out using ample compassion.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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