Thursday, May 30, 2013


I feel about Photoshop the way some people feel about abortion.  It is appalling and a tragic reflection on the moral decay of our society... unless I need it, in which case, everybody be cool.
- Tina Fey

It's so unpleasant to talk about abortion even if you're talking with people who agree with you about it.  But it's less unpleasant.  So let's start from a place where everybody agrees: fewer abortions are better.

That's about as much middle-ground as we're going to get between the pro- and anti-choice movements.  For us on the pro-choice side, the best way to minimize the number of abortions is to make sure that contraception and contraceptive education are affordable and available.  I think free is best.  Schools should be mandated by the government to tell kids how babies are made and how you can prevent making them.  Anyone who tells girls to imagine they're a stick of gum and once they have sex they're like a chewed up piece of gum (seriously!  Did you know that was something people told girls?  Isn't that horrifying?) should be hauled in front of family court and slapped by someone feisty like Judge Judy or Jim J Bullock.   Anyone who wants contraception should be able to walk into a clinic and get it, no matter how old they are, free of charge and judgment.  A country with a populace that is educated about (and not terrified of) sex and a country where contraception is readily available is the country with the least abortion.

A country where abortion is illegal is a country with more abortion than a country where abortion is legal.

Let's talk about a couple of horrifying stories, shall we?  That oughta be fun.  Here is a 22 year old woman, "Beatriz," who is five months pregnant with a fetus that will not live beyond birth and who faces grave risk of death if she goes through childbirth.  El Salvador has decided it's better for this woman to die than it is for her to have an abortion.  This is why we call it "anti-choice" and not "pro-life."  Allowing this mother of a living, ex-utero child (she has a four year old son) to die is not hardly landing on the side of life.

And, as I often do in situations like this, I think of her mother and what she's going through.  It terrifies me to think that I'm raising a daughter in a country that's growing increasingly hostile to her right to control her own body.  But, I'm not super terrified because, while we ain't rich, we'd have the resources to get her someplace where her health could be looked after, where her right to autonomy over her own body is respected.  If you have a little money, you can always get an abortion*.  Fly to Switzerland or get your family doctor to deem it medically necessary.  Poor women and girls don't have the same chance.

Which brings me to the next horrifying story.  For some completely inexplicable reason the anti-choice movement has glommed onto the story of Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his chamber of horrors as more fodder in their endless campaign against abortion.  But Kermit Gosnell is not the face of LEGAL abortion.  He's the face of ILLEGAL abortion. Pregnant women don't die of overdoses of Demerol at Planned Parenthood.  Living babies don't have their spinal cords severed at Planned Parenthood.  

Kermit Gosnell was cheaper than Planned Parenthood, though.  Kermit Gosnell didn't need to pay a nurse since he was far more butcher than doctor.  And, Planned Parenthood can't take insurance money or medicare for abortion services.

In one of the great ironies of this whole horrible story, picketers at Planned Parenthood were the driving factor in sending one woman to this monster: "The picketers out there, they just scared me half to death."  Note they didn't stop her from getting an abortion, she just ended up getting an abortion from someone who could have killed her.

And that's what happens when abortion is illegal.  If you don't want there to be any abortions, start handing out condoms and volunteering sex ed.  You won't get to zero abortions, but you'll get less.  If, on the other hand, you want more dead woman and more abortions, keep waging your war against it.

* Having a little money, of course, doesn't always save your life in countries where abortion is illegal.