odd time signatures

Where I (once again) rant about the right to choose

Here’s something that’s guaranteed to trigger a blog rant from me: pipe in short URLs on Twitter that lead to graphic anti-abortion videos with an invitation to private message reactions via Twitter. The message seems to be that it’s okay to trick people into viewing biased and inflammatory videos, but please, no public reaction, because we wouldn’t want that kind of disagreement out on the public stream, now would we?

That happened today, triggering a flood of reactions in me, all of which are far too nuanced and too long to express in 140 characters or less. Maybe I can fit the title of this post in 140 characters, but that’s the end of it. The rant goes here, plain and simple.

Let’s start with this: I don’t take kindly to a man telling women what they should or should not do with regard to abortion rights. I especially don’t take kindly to a man telling me that women’s rights are subordinate to the larger set of human rights.

There’s only one way to read that: women’s rights are subordinate.

In the minds of men who trumpet the pro-life standard, women are subordinate. It can be no other way. There is no equality, no sense that a woman has the same degree of control over her body that men do. This is clear in the argument that ensued on Twitter between HeidelbergChad and me tonight.

Every time I see a man make a statement like this:

In the same way that California is not greater than the USA, women’s rights will never outweigh human rights. Still inclusive though

…I’m hornswoggled. Yes, hornswoggled.

Men, you will never know the horror and shame of carrying a child that was the product of rape or incest. You will never, ever know the grief that women suffer before making the decision for an abortion or after they have had one.

And frankly, the choice wouldn’t even be a question if YOU were the ones facing what women face every single day.

I am NOT pro-abortion, by the way. As I said on Twitter, I’m passionately anti-abortion and ardently pro-choice.

It’s not contradictory at all, just nuanced. What I mean is this: Women have the right to make decisions about matters which concern their bodies. I do not think abortion is the best decision in nearly all cases; therefore, I will do whatever I can to gently, kindly and generously guide them toward a different decision, something I’ve successfully done three or four times now.

I will not judge them, because I haven’t walked in their shoes and have no right to make a judgment.

Yet for some strange reason, the most passionate pro-lifers seem to be men. Men who have no clue what it means to face a decision like this, men who think that women flippantly and carelessly make the decision to have an abortion with out a care to the consequence. Men, that other half of the sperm/egg combination.

Somehow in the discussion of abortion rights with these men, there is a tendency to conveniently forget that the whole question of abortion rights is only relevant because of an act requiring the joint participation of a woman AND a man.

It seems easier to simply stand back and judge, send out inflated facts, inflammatory images, and tell women they are subordinate, than to own the fact that men have options that can prevent the need to ever even face down such a choice.

It’s arrogant, uncaring, self-righteous, preachy crap. But mostly, it’s ineffective. It’s a fearmongering, authoritarian effort to intimidate women into going through with a pregnancy.

Whew.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, here’s my bottom line when it comes to abortion, choice, and whose rights prevail.

  1. Terminating a pregnancy is a difficult, heartbreaking, brutal decision that has many layers of complexity and many ripples of consequence.
  2. It is worth considering other options where possible.
  3. The final say always belongs to the woman carrying that child. It isn’t for me, or you, and certainly not for men to say. It is for that woman in that situation at that time. I can’t imagine dealing with pregnancy on top of rape or incest, for example. Victimizing a woman who chooses to terminate a pregnancy in those circumstances by judging her or putting barriers in her way is just wrong. It’s immoral.

Men, you would not stand for the intervention of women in anything so personal, so difficult, and so emotionally charged. Don’t imagine that women will stand for you intervening here either.

Do not try to impose your will through fear-based tactics. In fact, don’t try and impose your will at all. There might be a way to actually have a decent and reasonable conversation about this if we can set aside the fear and the rhetoric and put on our compassionate thinking caps.

It’s still going to be the woman choosing. You can’t, shouldn’t and won’t be doing it for her. Period. So let’s talk about what you can do to prevent the need for the choice, okay?

You start. Comments are open.