abortion manifesto

[i originally wrote this as an email to a friend who asked me my about my stance on abortion.  when i started writing, i was surprised that i had so much to say about it, and was proud enough of the result that i saved it with the intention of publishing it... somewhere.  minimally edited from the original email, here goes:]

i think you already know that i've been pregnant three times.  the first time, i had an abortion.  the second, i gave the child up for adoption because i waited too long to get an abortion.  the third time resulted in séan.  :-)  my experience has definitely informed how i think about abortion.

i am unequivocally pro-choice.  even the experience of birthing a child i did not want and giving her to a family that wanted her-- one of the coolest things i've ever done-- has made the importance of having *options* very, very clear to me.

i believe that a woman should not be forced to carry a pregnancy she does not wish to carry.  i also believe that a woman should not be forced to abort a baby she wishes to birth.  i believe there should be no exceptions for any woman, regardless of how she conceived-- be it rape, or incest; a good time at the frat-party or love-making with her lawfully-wedded husband.  i believe that a woman should be able to abort for the first time or the sixth, with equal lack of shame or browbeating.

in my perfect world, laws protecting the right of a woman to abort would be unnecessary-- they would be as superfluous as laws protecting the right of a woman to conceive.

i believe that life begins at conception, but personhood does not.  and even if i did believe that personhood begins at conception, i believe it's still wrong to force the use of one person's body to save the life of another-- whether it's the use of a person's liver, kidney, or uterus.

i believe that every woman wanting to have an abortion should know exactly what it is that she's doing.  terminating a pregnancy is ending a life, and if a woman can't wrap her mind around doing that, then she should rethink her decision to have an abortion.

i believe that women should be allowed space to grieve for an aborted pregnancy.  i also believe that women should be allowed space to feel relieved or happy or nothing at all.

i believe that regret or remorse for an abortion usually happens because a woman has an abortion against her better judgement.  a woman who feels regret is not weak.  a woman who does not is not a monster.

i believe that abortion-- regardless of the method-- is *not* a natural act, in that it disrupts a (usually healthy) biological process.  because of that, abortions should not be done lightly, since a woman is taking a risk with her life, health, and future fertility with each abortion she undergoes.  because of the risks abortion poses to women, i believe that we should be making every possible effort to address the reasons women typically have abortions.

i believe that children are not valued in our society nearly as much as our politicians say they are.  if women were given the support to birth and raise their children with as much care as women generally want to give to these endeavors, i don't think there would be nearly as many abortions as there are.

i believe that childbearing should not be the end of the world, regardless of the age of the mother.  good mothers come from all age groups, and with support, good mothers become great ones-- ones with the strength to follow their dreams, while they're raising good people.


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