Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I Should Know Better

Well, yes. This goes without saying. But, you know, my f*cebook wall is mine, for me, to put my thoughts on it. Read it or don't. Block me or follow. It's your choice.

Choice. Its an important thing, don't you think?

Apparently, not everyone does. As I was told this morning.

I should have known better than to post the link. I mean, Katie warned us when she shared her own experiences about this kind of situation. But dammit, its funny. And it IS ridiculous. That's the point.

I got a typical answer from an atypical source (although had I thought about it, I wouldn't have been surprised.) She said:

This is just plain silly. Women should absolutely have to look at the baby they are killing before they do it. I've done and read a whole helluva lot of ultrasounds in my career, how anyone could kill a 9 week old fetus is beyond me. I think it's subhuman.

Subhuman. Yeowch. I took that a little personally. I chewed on this a little bit. Thought, perhaps I should just let it slide. Perhaps I should give some of my more vocal pals a heads up so they don't expand this debate or take it mean. And then I realized, that's the problem. There is no debate, only knee jerk reactions and vows to dig deeper into this supposedly unethical world of in vitro.

I decided now is really a good time to step up to the plate and explain why Choice is so important to me. This is easy to do in a room full of people who agree. Easy to do on anonymous comments or even under a pseudonym (ahem). But this is a little different. Its my real name speaking to a person I have know for over two decades, a medical professional at that. A person who wholeheartedly disagrees with a woman's reproductive rights.

Here's what I said. Length be damned.

Regardless of how we feel about abortion, the problem arises when legislation is used to say what we can and cannot do w. our bodies. Legislation is often drafted in a hurry, in response to a particular situation, and not by experts in the field it relates to, so often in the inclusion of a word or an omission of a definition, the scope becomes much broader than originally intended. This is problematic.

I don't want to be criminalized because my daughters had to be delivered before they were viable ("aborted" is what it says on the med records.) I don't want my future family building hopes, all using third party reproductive techniques, to be taken away from me. It is a slippery slope, and the reason I support women making their own health care decisions, whether I agree with those individual decisions or not.

And I realized that that is probably the most I have spoken about my daughters on FB. Ever. Sure, cryptic thoughts on certain days. Messages from you and others close referring to them, but nothing so outright. I never even truly admitted I was pregnant.

My daughters died.
There facebooks. There you have it. What's more, is that under a plethora of the personhood bills, I am fairly certain I am criminally liable there somewhere. Those are charges I will not tolerate. Will not accept, not on top of the personal guilt and angst and pain and taking ourselves to court mentally over and over and over again. That verdict is not for anyone else to mete out. Our sentence is already a life term.

And I realize some might read that and think, oh she went there....she pulled the "this is personal" card. Yes. Yes I did. Because it is. Because much like needing welfare, much like domestic abuse, the face and reality of who anti-choice legislation affects is often very, very different than what is conjured in stump speeches and political debates.

And I thought it was time to put my face out there.


Nadine said...

This is where I admit that your friends comment made me puke a little in my mouth.
Your was respectful, dignified, honest and frankly much nicer than what I would have written "backwards prolifer, get the f out of my life".
Ye know, it's laws like this(the u/s, prolife, catholic bs) that make the rest of the world stand up in horror. If it happened here there would be riots. The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.

Heather said...

Awesome response. And, this might sound strange, but congratulations on claiming your motherhood on FB. That must have felt good.

m said...

Nadine, I know, oh I know. I cannot believe how effectively the outrage (and there is outrage) is quieted, quelched and marginalized. Dammit. I've been so distressed lately, and M makes it worse by asking me why I think this is new phenom - women's rights have always been a tentative arrangement here. How backwards is that?

Heather, it did. It really did.

I love you guys. Just putting that out there.

Smiling said...

It is personal.. and it is the personal reasons why these things matter so much. If we can't ever play the personal card, well we're omitting key information. To be clear, we shouldn't be forced to play it... but the personal aspects of how rushed laws effect individuals and their situations is exactly where the problem is. There are so many nuances to each story. I am proud of you for standing up. People understand stories much better than laws, at least I hope they do.

You wrote a great response.

Smiling said...

PS I too want to second heather's congratulations.

apluseffort said...

If not criminally liable, you're at least suspicious enough to warrant investigation. That alone is bad enough. Awesome response. You go!

dana said...

Great reply! I just want to hug you right now...and that's all.

dana said...

i meant to add that we have a similar bill, and well, it is equally bothersome. the libertarian in me is concerned, the woman in me is horrified.

Rebeccah said...

Oh, good for you! This stuff IS personal, and those of us who are strong enough to tell our personal stories can really make a difference. Hugs!

Danielle said...

I am absolutely convinced that there are hundreds of thousands of people in this country who would hate me, sight unseen, if they knew even a quarter of our reproductive history. And I am also convinced that had I had to look at an ultrasound on top of everything else we went through with our termination, I would have wound up in a place that it would have been hard to come back from- even harder than coming back from the pain of having to lose Chip in the first place. So proud of you and so grateful to you for speaking up.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Heather said...

Holy Shit. What is THAT?

m said...

That is the beauty of an anonymous comment, isn't it?

And one that I don't have to keep.

I should probably state my comment policy some place. I welcome discussion and debate here. I do not welcome hate or disrespect. Calling me a murderer fits into that last category, IMHO.

Yes, my daughters were beautiful and perfect. And there was nothing, not a thing, not even allow my own body to be overtaken with infection, that I could have done to save them. But we tried, dammit, we tried. And we live with our failure every day. Thanks for turning the knife a little deeper.

Who thinks there are "selfish" women that wake up every morning and think, hmm, what shall I do today? Manicure? Eat bon bons, oh I know! I'll go get an abortion! Yaaaaay." What world IS that?

There are times when decisions, very, very hard decisions have to be made for reasons that you, anonymous commenter, or me or my legislator aren't privy to. Very rarely are they black or white. They are unbelievably nuanced shades of gray. Grays that have no place in statute.

I can't speak for others; but I do want others to have the opportunity to speak for themselves and make their own health care decisions.

I don't believe trying to save my own life was "selfish," but thank you, anonymous, for asking.

Anonymous said...

I'm did not come out the way I meant..i understand how u could take it that way...I wasn't saying this about your situation....I only described your daughters, to compare them with other babies at that term, whose mothers choose to abort them. I would not call what happenend to you something that was in your control. Im not good with words like you are...I just find it hard to understand how others can support abortion...If we dont value our childrens life before they take a breath, how can we hold doctors accountable for the care they give our unborn children. I apoligize again if it felt like a personal attack.

m said...

Anonymous, I'm sorry for doing this publicly, but I don't know how to reach you privately.

Apology accepted. And thank you.

I do see your point. I am not a defender of the act of abortion. I am a defender of reproductive rights and ensuring that all individuals get the best possible medical care and are able to make their own informed health care decisions. And unfortunately, those usually get packaged together.

Best intentions do not always equal the best laws.

I have spent so many years working with legislators and trying to have laws amended because what the laws say aren't what was meant ("oh it says that? it makes you do what? well that's not what I meant...") that I get incredibly freaked when they veer into this territory. The personhood laws terrify me - not because I don't think my daughters weren't beautiful little beings, but because the implications are so vast that I can't even get my head around them.

And I know I have some frozen embryos - some little cells with potential - and gosh darned it, I want to use them. Because I want to have a child. Because I love life. I think I can love life and love choice equally.

B's Mom said...

Just yesterday my husband and I were discussing abortion and I told him that I "know" several woman who had to deliver their much wanted babies. (Their ONLY babies they've ever carried.)And that because their labor was induced to save their lives they are considered to have abortions. He was very quiet for a long time. I told him that abortion is not as cookie cutter as people want to make it.

I'm really glad you spoke up. I will admit that I am pro-lif. BUT I can not support this legislation, or any legislation that tells women what they can or can't do with their bodies, or that forces unnecessary procedures on them. A transvaginal ultrasound is not going to change their mind. It just makes their decision that much harder.

If people really wanted to stop abortions they would focus their Pro-life efforts on helping women not get pregnant in the first place.