Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Friday, July 5, 2013

All Politics is a Personal Problem

It seems to me like I've probably not blogged enough of late about many things (I am having some news fatigue, and I haven't even touched the DOMA decision yet-WTF, me?) but definitely, the recent flurry of assaults on reproductive freedom is a thing I've been sadly neglecting. And you know what? I'm going to blame that lug in the picture. The bearded fellow who "regrets his abortion."

Dude with the "I regret my abortion" sign, I am trying to understand you. I really am. But I can't help but be very well aware that you did not physically have an abortion, yourself. Usually, your gender of reproduction concern troll carries a sign that says "I regret my lost fatherhood" or some more biologically possible flavored  nonsense. But even if you regretted your "lost fatherhood", I think you have a bad case of point-missing in this debate, and I want to try and fill you in.

My experience with male genitalia over the past 25 years has led me to the conclusion that y'all orgasm pretty quick compared to my gender. My vicarious experience of motherhood from all my female relatives, friends, and acquaintances who have experienced reproduction firsthand, is that this experience is long and deep and changes a person. If you, guy with an "I regret my abortion" sign, happened to have an orgasm, your partner did not owe you nine months of pregnancy and possibly several hours labor (maybe even an episiotomy) to bear that child, and a lifetime thereafter of motherhood, so that you could have some fond memories of playing catch.

This is not to denigrate fatherhood. I had an attentive father who taught me various things, among them, self-defense, wise-assery, and to value myself. I know full well I don't "belong to" another person because I engage in coitus with them, and I do not understand how one might come to believe that fucking a person means that one has an expectation of forced labor. If one does, in fact, want to be a father, one can certainly make it with someone who wants to be a mother. Or even adopt, if you have the love to give. But why slap all your guilt about what might have been on some long ago "Thanks for all the tail" lady friend--and worse, generalize all that to all female-bodied persons going forward?

And for what it's worth--I don't really think women who want to hold up a sign telling us "I regret my abortion" really have the right of the argument, either. So? That's you. I don't want to tell those ladies that they don't really regret their abortions (if they had them) because I don't live in their heads, but, really? Could they kindly explain "What does that have to do with someone who is not you having an abortion today and not when you had one?" Or "How does that relate to others' experiences, and by the way, do you recall what age you were and haven't your circumstances changed, and if you didn't know then what you know now, wouldn't you still have made that choice?"

And don't get me started on the "new middle" folks, as Charles Pierce has called out a couple of them, and let me add, Kirsten Powers in The Daily Beast. First, if one makes the mistakes of not knowing that 20 weeks isn't "late term" and doesn't know the details of the legislation and how it will affect women and their access to birth control, prenatal care, etc--spare us this natter:

 They want us to believe that a grown woman is voiceless, that she has less agency than the infant in her womb who relies on her for life. A woman has so little agency, we are told, that she is incapable of getting an abortion before the fifth month of her pregnancy. To suggest she should do so is a “war on women.” It’s an insult to women dressed up as “women’s rights.”

When the legislation in progress in TX reduces the number of clinics in that state to 5, or the legislation in NC reduces the number of clinics to one, when we are talking about a range of women who perhaps might not be able to get to a doctor or a clinic because of their actual physical circumstances like need to work or watch their other children,  may be disabled, may be perimenopausal and not realize they are pregnant, who might live with an abuser, who might have wanted this child, until some life event (illness, financial straights) interfered--

In other words, our hypothetical "grown woman" only has so much agency over all the details of her life, and this is one aspect we should be content to take away because...? (Wee little hands? Pattycake?) That's an insult to women dressed up as a boost, isn't it? Yay, us. We're so not voiceless that our elected representatives can be told to shut up, that legislation can be passed in the wee hours, that legislation can be tacked on at the last minute before we can even debate it. Our activists can be arrested and ignored. And we can be told that raped bodies don't conceive and that pregnancies oh so very rarely threaten our health and lives. We can be lied to and our doctors can be told to lie to us.  That is not okay. The theft of our agency is never okay. The assumption that others know best for our health and our lives in this matter is not okay.

There is no other way to say it. There was a time when I halfway agreed with those who would say "Well, I am pro-choice but I admire the anti-abortionists for their principles." But I just don't anymore. You could call it a personal problem.


Yastreblyansky said...

I kind of suspect your model is just one of those subliterates like people who choose their t-shirts badly--that he doesn't know what the sign says and doesn't think it's important.

That assumption that the women actually making the choice don't need to speak, though, is really pervasive. Can't admire principles that are dedicated to ignorance and imposing it on everyone else.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

How much of that "abortion regret" is due to a lifetime of hearing B.S. about how abortion is evil, and only sluts would ever avail themselves of it?

If the anti-choicers would stop berating these women, the regret would probably disappear for 95% of them.