Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On Killing Women and Saving Babies

I'm writing this in response to a request from a young lady who asked me my opinion on abortions; she said I need to shout this from the rooftops, but I guess Blogger will have to do. People get radical about the right to live vs the right to choose.  I understand why abortion is a heated topic: because of lack of knowledge. I want you to read this with a open mind. Be pro-life or be pro-choice, but please just read my arguments on why it is of the upmost importance abortions remain legal. As Texans, we most stand up for our rights to make the choices that will define our lives, as men and as women, and this persecution coming from old men in suits sitting behind desks in our government must be stopped.

First I just want to say, if you feel abortions are morally wrong, then do not get an abortion. I personally do not think I would get one, but I also have never been faced with an unwanted pregnancy. I do not have the authority to say who can or cannot go have an abortion. Neither do you, for that matter.

I think that a country of unwanted children is a hellava lot scarier than a country that allows easy access to cost-efficient abortions. Rising out of poverty is almost impossible- especially for women. Huffington Post says a full 4.1 million single-mother families are living in poverty. A full 40% of families headed by single mothers are below the poverty line, and child support is a joke. As in, it still costs about the same to raise a kid whether the kid is one-parented or two-parented. Considering the average payment wouldn't even cover daycare, we really need to make dead-beat dads step up to the plate.

Comparison of estimated expenditures* on children by single-parent
and husband-wife families, overall United States, 2004
Age of child     Single-parent              Husband-wife
                          households                 households
0 - 2                     $5,860                         $7,040
3 - 5                     $6,640                         $7,210
6 - 8                     $7,460                         $7,250
9 - 11                   $6,930                         $7,220
12 - 14                 $7,420                         $8,070
15 - 17                 $8,180                         $8,000
Total                    $127,470                     $134,370
*Estimates are for the younger child in two-child families with 2004 before-tax income less than $41,700.
Check out this Expenditures on Children report from 2004 if you wanna look or see more for yourself. That was a decade ago, so imagine what a decade's worth of inflation has done to the numbers.

And what about the child? Have you seen what student loans are running these days? Adoption is a beautiful gift of a mother to parents that are unable to conceive, but please remember that not all children are adopted. Children growing up in foster care systems are shown as social deviants on TV. The actual foster kids are known to suffer from abuses ranging from physical to verbal to sexual. Is a child better off being molested for years than never knowing of its conscience? I'm not sure.

What about the foster kids that don't get abused... just put out on the streets to fend for themselves at 18? I am 22 and my parents still pay for everything. I'm sure I couldn't do it. I just signed a petition on for a foster kid that wanted her northern college to not kick her out of the dorms between breaks: she would be living under a bridge in the snow for Christmas; she didn't have a stable home to go back to on breaks.

You would think that with all this Christianly love in the pro-life crowd, some of that go-get-em attitude about stopping abortion would have people putting their money where their bull-horned mouth is. But hey, if the kid goes to bed hungry every night its okay! The kid is alive, right?
But are they okay?

There are certain humans who will never, ever, in a billion years ever face an unwanted pregnancy. They perform the "fathering" job. These same certain humans are the one's making the laws that control the reproductive freedom of women. Its sickening. There has been a trend through time that the more powerful women get, the more eager weak men get to "put them back into their place." The easiest way to do this? By controlling when and if women become moms. The rate of abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44 has dropped, both nationwide and in Texas, by nearly 10 abortions each. You wouldn't know it judging from the bills being passed: more laws restricting abortions have been passed in the last 2 years than the previous 10 years combined. Funny considering our government literally was shut down for part of this year... priorities, people, priorities.

Most of these men running our government (Average age of the Senate is 62, House of Representatives is 57) were born during a time before birth control was legally available. It was not until 1965 that married people were even allowed to get birth control, and 1972 marked the year single people were allowed to purchase it legally. A doctor in Connecticut was convicted of helping married couples get birth control; the case went all the way to the Supreme Court before he was released from jail. Can you imagine how being raised in a time where mom vacuumed in pearls before serving dad his martini and a pot roast could influence progressive thinking? How can men raised in the 1950s be capable of thinking about women's rights fairly? They cannot.

So you think abortions are wrong: I want to be a mom someday, I get it... dead babies are terrible! But let me ask you to follow the logically argument to abortions regarding bodily autonomy. I am an organ donor. That means that when I die, my organs will be used to save the lives of those injured or the sick that are in need of my heart/lungs/kidneys because of some disease. No one has the right to steal my organs or to use them without my consent. By signing a paper that puts a little heart on my driver's license, I am consenting. Imagine now that I was not an organ donor and then was in some terrible car crash and I died. I am young. I'm relatively healthy so my organs would be in high demand; I would probably save the lives of quite a few people. It would not matter what two year old little girl or elderly grandfather around that hospital was in need of my organs- even to save their life- because I have the right to bodily autonomy. My organs cannot be used without my permission, for any reason, no matter how noble the cause.

How then is the right to choose to carry a baby to term any different?  Do embryos not need a living human womb to grow? Maybe I do not want a child to use my organ (my womb/uterus) because I have a right to bodily autonomy. My possession of a vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes is not my consent to become pregnant. Having sexual intercourse is not my consent to become pregnant. Nothing but my willingness to produce this hypothetical child could be considered consent to lease out the use of my organs, my energy, and the food necessary for growing a fetus that would die, otherwise. To say that a woman does not have the right to choose to keep, give up for adoption, or abort her own baby is to give a corpse more rights than every woman on this Earth.

I am coming at this from a practical point of view. Because all religions are a belief system that means that some people believe and some people do not believe. Otherwise, such belief would be "fact" and would not require "faith." Believe what ever you want, or believe nothing at all. Believe in Jesus. Believe in Allah. Believe in Zeus and Buddah and Osiris. Believe in little flying purple space people, if you want. Believe in nothing at all. But do not use a belief to negatively impact the availability of life changing medical procedures- life saving medical procedures- for people that choose to think differently than you.

I was raised Catholic, and I was taught in Mass and CCD classes all of my childhood that birth control is sinful. Even happily married couples that have finished with growing their little family is forbidden to use contraception by the Catholic church. Going along those teachings, I used to be the most pro-life person you could ever meet. I volunteered at the Coalition for Life in College Station. I tried to be a full-time counselor, but it didn't work out with my school schedule. I truly felt that if you are grown-up enough to have sex, you are grown-up enough to take responsibility for everything that goes with that- including a pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease.

And then I saw this billboard in class: A woman in the 1970's was on her hands and knees, and the picture frame was shot from above her head, aimed towards her feet. Her butt was in the air- naked- and her face was lying in a puddle of her own blood.... her "lover" had failed at a coat hanger abortion.  When he pushed too far into her body, the sharp point had perforated her uterus:
She bleed out. He simply left.

The fact that even one young woman died in this senselessly violent tragedy has forever changed my opinion on the necessity of easy access to abortion. Please do not think I am running up and down streets skipping about all the dead babies that will never grace this earth- I am NOT. But I am insisting that the current state of affairs in Texas needs to be talked about. You should really check out How Republicans Won the Fight over Abortion in Texas. Its terrifying.
  • Did you know that by September 1, 2014, there will be six places serving 26,448,193 Texans. 
  • Did you know that 1 in 3 women will obtain an abortion before the age of 45? 
  • The last two clinics- Beaumont and McAllen- in rural areas have closed. The next provider closest to McAllen is over 200 miles away.
To put that in perspective, there are ten McDonald's in Bryan/College Station. House Bill 2 in Texas, passed summer 2013, is one of the most restrictive attacks on the availability of abortions in the country. I was actually in Austin with Jeannette and saw a protest in the streets of Austin against it; Sen. Wendy Davis stood for 11 hours to filibuster the law. Then Governor Perry passed it, anyways, despite the filibuster. Guttemacher Institute  research website says:
  • In Texas, 533,500 of the 5,404,124 women of reproductive age became pregnant in 2011. 71% of these pregnancies resulted in live births and 14% in induced abortions. 
Clearly, abortion is not an uncommon thing. The H.B.2 law lines out these restrictions starting on April 1, 2014 as follows:
  • A woman must receive state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided. 
Idk about you ladies, but information designed to discourage me, then giving me a day to think about my abortion doesn't seem very woman-friendly- especially after I had just barely made up my mind that a child isn't the best choice for me right now.
  • The parent of a minor must consent and be notified before an abortion is provided. 
So, a female teenager might be kicked out of their home by their parents and entire life ruined because of this parental consent clause. It happens. And if children in kindergarten are "having sex" in the bathrooms at schools in New Jersey, I would bet my bottom dollar teens are doing the same in Texas.
  • Public funding is available for abortion only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest. 
So now poor women, who can't afford abortions to begin with, are now faced with what? A coat hanger? Stairs? Pills? A swift punch to the stomach? What about a bleach martini? If they can't afford an abortion, the mother probably can't afford a child either.
  • A woman must undergo an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion; the provider must show and describe the image to the woman. If the woman lives within 100 miles of an abortion provider she must obtain the ultrasound at least 24 hours before the abortion. 
The six abortion clinics will be located in Austin, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio. Kind of hard for a poor woman to come up with the $500 or so to obtain an abortion, find a ride to the clinic, then find a place to stay for the 24 hour wait period required by law. Planned parenthood is actually building a $5 million facility in San Antonio to comply with these new "regulations," so those poorer women can afford the health care. I wonder how far five million dollars would go for providing mammograms or birth-control.

I hope you agree, or can at least understand, why shutting down all but 6 clinics is a big problem; whats going on? The Texas legislature is saying they want to "protect women," which I'm all for, of course. When he signed the bill into law, despite Sen. Wendy Davis's filibuster, Gov. Perry said,
"This is an important day for those who support life and for those who support the health of Texas women."
Except he is wrong? The chance of dying from an abortion is 1/10 of the chance of dying from giving birth. There is no "save the women" campaign happening...Maybe controlling the women. Looks like it just might be working.

Think about it.