Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mind your own uterus: The reason that stupid minivan is still on my mind

I was raised pro-choice. There's never been a moment in my life where I thought that abortion should not be a personal choice.

But having been pregnant, and being a mother, and being a mother who wants to be pregnant again, I have never, ever been so vehemently pro-choice as I am now.

I grew up knowing that if I found myself pregnant young or in the wrong circumstances, I'd have an abortion. It was just kind of a fact.

It was also a fact in our household that condoms were the solution to everything: poverty, world hunger, STDs, overpopulation...and of course, on a personal level, avoidance of finding one's self all knocked up.

So fortunately, I never found myself all knocked up. Until, you know, I wanted to be.

But for all those years, I don't remember getting so violently angry about abortion. I mean, I felt strongly enough to march and give money to Planned Parenthood and get into arguments.

But not so strongly that I'd want to ram into the back of an anti-abortion-bumper-sticker having car. But now, now I do.

I was pro-choice because it just seemed fair to be able to have control over your fertility. Because friends of mine had gotten pregnant accidentally, and made the choice, and gone on with their lives. Lives that would've been dramatically different had they been forced into teen and early 20-s motherhood.

But I didn't give it a lot of thought beyond, "Fuck you, don't tell me what to do with my body."

And then I got pregnant. And I realized how pregnancy takes over your entire body, mind, soul. It affects every cell of your being. I learned how fucking hard it is.

And I had it easy. I'm not a manual laborer. I have a desk job. I have an accommodating workplace. And ample leave. And a supportive husband. And good health care.

I whined about it a lot, but comparatively, pregnancy was not so hard for me.

Then I had the kid. You know, the one I talk about all the damn time and love like crazy.

Having a kid you hoped for, one you want and have the means to provide for, one you and your spouse and your mother dote on, it's amazing. It's also amazingly hard.

And once again, we have it easy. There's more than one of us. We live in a comfortable, safe house in a nice neighborhood. We can afford to meet all of our needs. We rush to meet his, and we revel in him. He has it easy.

But forcing someone to go through a pregnancy they don't want, just because you think it's wrong? Feeling like you have the right to force the birth of an unwanted child?

Life is fucking hard. Why make it harder? And why make it harder from birth? My ass these people are actually thinking about the child.

I get so infuriated by the smug self-righteous fucks pushing an anti-abortion agenda. I'm not telling you what do to with your body (except occasionally to stick your agenda up your ass); don't tell me what to do with mine.

And I can't even get started on men with an anti-abortion stance. Men! The ones who will never, ever be pregnant! I get apoplectic. If you have a penis and I'm not married to you, stay the fuck out of my uterus.

(Although actually, now that I'm thinking about it technically, it's not like the person I am married to could actually get into my uterus. Because of course my cervix is in the way. But that's anatomy, not politics. You know what I'm saying.)

38 comments:

  1. (Uterus Power fist salute)
    I boldly assert that not everyone gets to have a public opinion about everything. Men do not get to have a public opinion about abortion.
    And yes, experiencing a pregnancy confirmed my belief that it is a cruel cabal that demands a woman do that against her will.

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  2. wow, take a deep breath now and have a glass of wine lol.
    You go girl :-)

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  3. amen to this, all of this.

    on a slightly related now it makes me recall the night i was driving with my friend and i was all "my husband is not going below my shoulders when i give birth" and she was all "(my husband) saw my uterus." all nonchalantly like it's a normal thing to say.
    (to clarify she had a C section but still, weirdest comment she's ever casually made to me and it pops into my head often)

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  4. I'll admit I'm more in the pro-life, than the pro-choice camp. Sorry. But here's the thing. While I can't personally ever imagine having an abortion, I also can't say I might not be put in a position where that changed. It's easy to keep your principles until they are actually challenged, I reckon. Therefore, I don't think anyone has a right to tell anyone else what to do with their bodies. Bunch of hypocrites. Especially the anti-abortion dudes. That makes my blood boil too.

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  5. Hey Lis,
    So I don't normally comment on yours (or any other) blogs, but I wanted to share what I thought was a pretty funny story.

    In Colorado during the last election, there was actually an amendment up for vote that would define a foetus as a "person" such that they would be granted all the rights that this entails.

    Like you, it's bad enough when I see Anti-Choice people, but my blood really starts to boil when I see a man with such an abhorrent opinion.

    So one day I'm riding the shuttle bus and as I am about to get of, I see a man with a sign in support of this ridiculous amendment and he is shouting at the people as they are getting off the bus.

    I then get off, blood boiling, and ask him a couple of questions: 1.) If a woman is pregnant, commits a crime that results in jail time, should their "child" also be put in prison as an accessory to the crime?

    I then asked him what date was on his driver's license - was it the day he was born, or the day he was conceived? He sat stunned for a few seconds before blithely recommending to me that I should be a lawyer.

    After this, I thought of another one. If a pregnant woman goes to a movie, should she buy an extra ticket for her "baby"?

    Cheers,
    -Dan

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  6. HELL YEAH. i wholeheartedly agree and love this rant.

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  7. He could kinda get in to your uterus, if you get all non-specific about it.

    I'm having a hard time finding the words for my thoughts about the anti-choice stuff after being pregnant. (And I know the anti-choice name offends people, but seriously, what else is it?) Let me put it this way - I did not feel a special, magical bond early in my pregnancy. It didn't feel like a baby, it felt like I was pregnant. Had I been unfortunate and miscarried, I would have been sad about the pregnancy, but I don't think I would have felt like I lost my child at that point. So the whole it's a baby not a fetus (which was what that guy's bumper sticker said), life begins at conception, how could a woman murder a baby thing irritates me. I really wanted to punch that guy out because I was housing a fetus at the time and how dare he of no uterus tell me how I should feel about it. I can completely understand how a woman that does not want to be pregnant can terminate her pregnancy early on without feeling like she's murdering a child. (And my understanding is that early abortions are the least risky?)

    One day around the election, my husband and I drove by a huge Catholic church in our area and some people were out protesting abortion. I *really* wanted to stop the car and go ask one of those women what she would do if she was raped. Not if she found out she pregnant, if a man pulled up right that minute, threw her in the car and raped her, what would she do? Because I don't think anyone can have an answer for that. I couldn't tell you what I'd do if I was raped. I might break down. I might be fine. The only thing I can say without a doubt is that I would get the morning after pill (and I won't even get in to the controversies around that). Other than that, I have NO CLUE how I would react to the rape alone, so I sure as hell can't say without a doubt what I'd do if I got pregnant. I can't even imagine. I'm glad that if that ever happened to me, I could take stock of how I felt about it and make a choice.

    And some people will say it should be allowed in instances of rape and incest only. But seriously, how would you enforce that? If a 15 year old girl comes in for an abortion is someone going to make her give all the sordid details of daddy knocking her up? Or make Daddy come in and sign off on her abortion and then take her home and beat her senseless for getting pregnant?

    Oh, and pro-choice works both ways. If one of those Catholic protesters was raped and got pregnant and a doctor was really pressuring her to terminate and she didn't want to, I would completely stand up for her right to have that baby. If that's her choice, I support it. Same thing with the Tim Tebow story, I didn't get why that super bowl ad was supposed to make pro-choicers mad. I'm glad his mom got to make the decision whether or not she wanted to terminate. It would have sucked if the doctor did it without her consent, and it would have sucked if he didn't tell her it was an option in that situation.

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  8. YES! I will NEVER understand why someone else thinks they can tell ME what to do with MY body. (for the record, it has never been with child)

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  9. Wow that was longer than I thought.

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  10. Yes yes yes yes yes yes. I've also never been so pro-choice as I am now because I wanted and hoped and longed for this baby and still had to fight the urge to pack up and head out of town when he was screaming his colicky head off in the early days. To ask women who are not equipped -- emotionally, financially, mentally -- to take care of a child because of someone else's religion is just so naive and silly and wrong and, yes. This post. Yes.

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  11. Preach it, sister. I was raised pro-choice and spouted that shit, until I started having sex around the age of 16. Then I started thinking about what it really meant. And yeah, I changed my mind.

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  12. Oh my hell, yes.
    What really chaps my ass? Pro-lifers who are all whiny and "why do you call me anti-choice? I don't call you anti-life!" It came up on Twitter recently and I had to ground myself from following or participating in the conversation because my head was too melty. We call you anti-choice because you want to remove the choice! You do not love the choice! You want to make it less choose-y and more illegal-y! You can't call me anti-life just because I'm pro-choice. Being pro-choice doesn't make me want every pregnant lady to go out and get an abortion. I'm not against living. Fuck. My head is getting all melty again.

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  13. He could kinda get in to your uterus, if you get all non-specific about it.

    I'm having a hard time finding the words for my thoughts about the anti-choice stuff after being pregnant. (And I know the anti-choice name offends people, but seriously, what else is it?) Let me put it this way - I did not feel a special, magical bond early in my pregnancy. It didn't feel like a baby, it felt like I was pregnant. Had I been unfortunate and miscarried, I would have been sad about the pregnancy, but I don't think I would have felt like I lost my child at that point. So the whole it's a baby not a fetus (which was what that guy's bumper sticker said), life begins at conception, how could a woman murder a baby thing irritates me. I really wanted to punch that guy out because I was housing a fetus at the time and how dare he of no uterus tell me how I should feel about it. I can completely understand how a woman that does not want to be pregnant can terminate her pregnancy early on without feeling like she's murdering a child. (And my understanding is that early abortions are the least risky?)

    One day around the election, my husband and I drove by a huge Catholic church in our area and some people were out protesting abortion. I *really* wanted to stop the car and go ask one of those women what she would do if she was raped. Not if she found out she pregnant, if a man pulled up right that minute, threw her in the car and raped her, what would she do? Because I don't think anyone can have an answer for that. I couldn't tell you what I'd do if I was raped. I might break down. I might be fine. The only thing I can say without a doubt is that I would get the morning after pill (and I won't even get in to the controversies around that). Other than that, I have NO CLUE how I would react to the rape alone, so I sure as hell can't say without a doubt what I'd do if I got pregnant. I can't even imagine. I'm glad that if that ever happened to me, I could take stock of how I felt about it and make a choice.

    And some people will say it should be allowed in instances of rape and incest only. But seriously, how would you enforce that? If a 15 year old girl comes in for an abortion is someone going to make her give all the sordid details of daddy knocking her up? Or make Daddy come in and sign off on her abortion and then take her home and beat her senseless for getting pregnant?

    Oh, and pro-choice works both ways. If one of those Catholic protesters was raped and got pregnant and a doctor was really pressuring her to terminate and she didn't want to, I would completely stand up for her right to have that baby. If that's her choice, I support it. Same thing with the Tim Tebow story, I didn't get why that super bowl ad was supposed to make pro-choicers mad. I'm glad his mom got to make the decision whether or not she wanted to terminate. It would have sucked if the doctor did it without her consent, and it would have sucked if he didn't tell her it was an option in that situation.

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  14. Well said! I was raised pro-choice and couldn't agree more.

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  15. I am not interested in starting any drama at all, I just want to say that, for me, the tiny person who didn't have the choice to be conceived (no matter how that happened) is the person I thought of when deciding to be pro-life.

    Having been through childbirth 4 times, I know how much it sucks and what it does to your body and I wouldn't want anyone to go have to go through that unwanted, but I can also say that I would adopt that child happily and I know others that would too. I think if you can recover from and move on from abortion, you can do so for childbirth too. In most cases. Most.

    That is MY personal opinion. I'm a Christian. I voted for and support President Obama. I, personally, would NEVER judge or hate or protest anyone that did have an abortion or was pro-choice. That's not my style, but I know I'm in the minority on that one.

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  16. ARGH!!! This is a Blogger eating comments kind of day! I'm going to respond in chunks.

    suicide blond - Thanks, lady!

    Wendy - Thank you.

    imgonnabreakyourheart - Thanks, I appreciate it!

    Brunch Bird - I love the Uterus Power fist salute! I also love the cruel cabal. Such a good name for a band, no?

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  17. Hey Lis,
    So I don't normally comment on yours (or any other) blogs, but I wanted to share what I thought was a pretty funny story.

    In Colorado during the last election, there was actually an amendment up for vote that would define a foetus as a "person" such that they would be granted all the rights that this entails.

    Like you, it's bad enough when I see Anti-Choice people, but my blood really starts to boil when I see a man with such an abhorrent opinion.

    So one day I'm riding the shuttle bus and as I am about to get of, I see a man with a sign in support of this ridiculous amendment and he is shouting at the people as they are getting off the bus.

    I then get off, blood boiling, and ask him a couple of questions: 1.) If a woman is pregnant, commits a crime that results in jail time, should their "child" also be put in prison as an accessory to the crime?

    I then asked him what date was on his driver's license - was it the day he was born, or the day he was conceived? He sat stunned for a few seconds before blithely recommending to me that I should be a lawyer.

    After this, I thought of another one. If a pregnant woman goes to a movie, should she buy an extra ticket for her "baby"?

    Cheers,
    -Dan

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  18. Couldn't have said it better myself.

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  19. I looked for a "like" button (too much time on Facebook). I agree.

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  20. Go-Betty - Went out, had the wine - all good!

    jen - OK, I never ever thought about this, but Nick was there watching all of it. I never thought to ask him. So I just did. He said not really. He said two doctors pushed Jordan out - one top and one bottom - like they were popping a zit.

    Maiden Metallurgist - Thank you, mama-to-be!

    Tia - I know. The lack of respect for the woman is just astounding.

    Jenny - Absolutely. It is so hard when you are capable and equipped. It's insanely unfair to take the choice away from someone who isn't.

    Keenie Beanie - Years ago my mom had a gynecologist who told her that he performed abortions. They were talking politics, he and my mother, and he knew where she stood. And he told her that he had a number of patients who were totally conservative, anti-abortion...except when it came to their 16-year old daughters who got pregnant. Because, you know, they were only 16, just in high school, too young to have a baby...

    Hillary - I love that expression "chaps my ass" - absolutely love it. I always picture a naked ass with a hand holding a tube of Chap-Stick towards it. This, too, is awesome: "You do not love the choice! You want to make it less choose-y and more illegal-y!"

    Yes. Talking with those people will make your head explode. Choice is choice. It's not I choose this so I'm going to make you choose this as well. Grrrrr.

    Lisa - Well, yah. We are trying to shoot those baby missiles up there, if we're to be technical about it.

    So, I LOVE what you have to say here. It's totally true. Here's what makes me angry about the rape and incest exception. If you think it's a human from the get-go, and your beliefs mean you have to put that life ahead of the life of the mother, then that's a life regardless of how it got there. In which case, you wouldn't have any exceptions.

    As for someone who wanted to have the baby - I am with you and would totally support it. I can't imagine trying to make someone have an abortion just because I thought it would be a more reasonable course of action.

    Tyler - Thank you!

    Katie - I appreciate your comment. I think it really adds to the conversation, and I love that. While I do feel strongly, it's nice to hear a thoughtful alternate perspective. You are most definitely in the minority, not only in not judging or hating or protesting, but also in being willing to adopt. I have never heard anyone say that, and it's definitely admirable.

    Kate - Hugs to you!

    Dan - This is kind of immensely great. I love this story. Thank you so much for sharing it! It just infuriates me when politicians do this. Fuckers.

    Stevie - Thanks!

    Stacy - Oh, you're right! That like button is such a nice feature. There's the FB icon, but no like button! I wonder if that'll be next?

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  21. Agreed! Reproductive rights belong in the category of the broader, the better. Just as each situation is unique, so is the solution. You can't legislate for every possibility so it's best to keep the law as simple as possible.

    And if you don't think abortion is a moral option, don't have one.

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  22. AMEN!!!! I agree wholeheartedly. I also just put this on my facebook. Should be interesting to see what sort of trouble that starts!

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  23. I totally feel the same way. The only thing I would perhaps change/add in your poignant rhetoric is that no one is pro-abortion, and that the people are against abortion as a choice for women are anti-choice.

    There's a fantastic feminist writer in Dallas named Andrea Grimes. I suggest you check out her ladynews blog: http://hayladies.wordpress.com/

    Especially this post: http://hayladies.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/journalists-stop-using-anti-abortion-as-a-descriptor/

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  24. Love this post. AMEN and well said.

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  25. Lisa - Yes, exactly. If you think it's immoral, then don't.

    cla517 - Hey, thanks for sharing this! I greatly appreciate it!

    Angel JAM - Thank you!

    Miss Dallas - You are so right. I didn't give that much thought to the distinction. I wish I'd read that before posting this.

    Marie - Thanks very much!

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  26. As a woman who has just had her 3rd miscarriage in a row, I am only too painfully aware of how tenuous that quickening is in the beginning. That beginning of life (note I don't quite say life. It is the beginning, the raw materials that can grow into life)is fragile and uncommitted. Most people don't announce their pregnancies to the world until the first months have safely passed and they can be more confident it is here to stay and grow into a baby. It has been made abundantly clear to me by my body, or my eggs, or whatever needs to break my heart that the early part of pregnancy is only the potential for a baby and a life. When biology won't fully commit to the realization of a life at that point, then people have no business deciding when a life begins and getting pushy with others over it.

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  27. What Maude said.

    I'm going to post this anonymously because it's not something I've made public. I had an abortion when I was in my mid-20s, single, didn't have a stable job, hadn't finished my degree, was living at home with my parents. The Impregnator made it clear that I was on my own. It was no picnic, making that decision. But I stood by it and I still stand by it. Now that I'm in my 30s, married, financially stable... my mind is blown by the thought of "what if I hadn't". I'm fairly certain I'd be on some sort of welfare. And I know the anti-choicers will see this as the epitome of the selfish liberal, but I would not have met my husband, gone back to school, bought a house, etc. I would not have gotten my happy ending.

    A high school friend told me, in the wake of my decision, that I will go to hell for what I've done. Even if she's right, I'd do it again. Because I would never ever want to raise a child the way I would have had to raise that baby.

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  28. Maude - The way you put it was beautiful, and it is so true.



    Bird - Thank you for sharing this. There are circumstances that make choice necessary. She's not right. She's just not. What a terrible thing to say to you.

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  29. http://www.eatliver.com/i.php?n=7037

    Just saw this and thought you'd like it :)

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  30. Found this post via google search for "mind your own uterus." I just want to add my support to the post.

    I've always been pro-choice, but became MORE pro-choice (if that was possible) when I had my son. No one should ever be forced into pregnancy or raising a child. EVER. Pregnancy and childbirth, and raising, should never be used as punishment for having sex. (A la the, "you made your bed, you lie in it" trope.)

    As far as adoption goes, there is a growing body of literature that suggests that for the women offering children for adoption, their lives are no picnic. Plus, adoption is pretty political with regards to who is allowed to adopt; LGBQT persons are banned from adopting, as are single men/women in many states. Minority families often don't have the financial resources necessary to adopt a child...it's overly simplified to say, "I would adopt a child!" Because that statement speaks to privilege to do so. As does suggesting that a woman not be allowed to decide whether to carry a pregnancy or not.

    Anyway, BRAVO.

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  31. This was one of the best things I read about the matter online and, surprisingly, it was written by a woman who is also a mother! That is so kind of you, not to shove a "BABIES ARE THE BEST OMG AWGGBGFRGS" opinion down another's throat.

    Like I Always say to pro-lifers...mind your own womb. :)

    Congratulations on the lovely post.

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