Monday, January 22, 2007

Still Pro-Choice

I found this graphic and topic on Magic Cookie's blog and figured that since this is an issue I think about a lot, today is a good day to write about it.

Like Magic Cookie, I have long been pro-choice, and wondered if being pregnant would change my views. I don't believe that it has. In college, I always assumed that if I were to get pregnant, I would have an abortion. When I found out I was pregnant in December, I was immediately ecstatic about the little group of cells on their way to becoming a baby; however, I didn't think of those cells as actually being a baby. I was thrilled they were there, and I would have been devastated to lose them, but they were not a baby yet. I think the immediate connection I felt was because we had wanted a baby for a long time. Without the happiness and excitement, those first few months could be utterly miserable- especially if coupled with fear of your family and/or significant other finding out about the pregnancy or horrible memories connected with the conception. I don't believe the emotional connection is automatic- it was for me because I was in a happy, stable relationship- but if the pregnancy is an unpleasant surprise, there is nothing in throwing up every morning or feeling exhausted all day that makes you feel connected to what is in your uterus. In those first few weeks several of the embryos can fit on the eraser end of a pencil (according to "Pregnancy Week by Week") -- that is not a baby. That is not something we protect at the sake of the health and emotional well being of the mother. Pregnancy takes over your body for 9-months and changes your life forever, there should be a choice as to whether that will happen or not.

A more separate and practical argument is that women have always had and will always have abortions. Back in the dark ages it was through dangerous herbs or the messy, and also dangerous, do-it-yourself approach (which continues today). Abortion is a medical procedure that needs to be performed by medical doctors in a medical environment. It is not an issue for futile debate during every political campaign. A woman who absolutely does not want the baby, for whatever reason, is not going to have it. (Not to mention the fact that even if she is forced by lack of an alternative, there isn't adequate medical care, maternal leave, or child care to help her in that forced decision.) The government's resources and religious right-to-life group's time and efforts would be better spent on education about birth control and safe sex to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.

34 years after Roe v. Wade, I am glad the option to terminate safely is there for women who need it. Pregnancy is an enormous undertaking and the maternal instinct does not kick in at the first signs of morning sickess. As much as I want my baby, I do not feel a need to protect every unborn child- I still believe it should be the mother's decision.