Whose Choice

This is a letter to the editor I wrote back in September 2004.  Unfortunately it's still pertinent.

(Author’s note:  I no longer have the citation to the report that gave me the “25% of rapes result in pregnancy” stats.  I believe it was from a study done on college campuses so it may more accurately be that 25% of rapes on college campuses result in pregnancy but it’s been so long I’m just publishing my letter as a local paper printed it.)

Abortion has been made into a divisive power issue, but it’s not “either-or.”  Pro-choice people are pro-life.  Pro-life people are pro-choice.  The difference is which life and whose choice.  In 3rd world countries the choice can be feeding two or starving three.  In 1st world countries the choice can be work or welfare.  In any country the issue can be rape, incest, or the mental and physical health of both woman and fetus, and even the life of the woman.  A society with legal abortion says the mother’s life and well-being is important.  The mother knows the circumstances and therefore she chooses to bear a child right now – or not.  The woman’s life is valued and she makes the choice.  In a society that forbids abortion says the mother’s life, health, and well-being are secondary to the fetus.  Impersonal laws that neither know nor care about the circumstances make the choice.  In the case of rape, the rapist makes the choice.

Years ago I talked with a young woman picketing a woman’s clinic.  Some abortions were performed there but it was predominantly a pre- and post-natal care clinic.  She told me abortion had to be illegal or no woman would have children and our species would die – a fascinating bit of brainwashing.  She was standing in front of a clinic where women could get an abortion if wanted but the greatest part of its business was pre- and post-natal care.  In plain terms, most of the clinic’s clients were women having babies because they wanted them.  I had children because I wanted them.  I have friends and relatives who have had abortions –   some because they already had too many children to be able to take care of more, some because they didn’t feel they’d be good parents.  Two because of rape.  Bringing a child unwanted into the world is a much greater sin than abortion.  Biblically life begins with breath.  A fetus can’t breathe.  It cannot live outside the womb.  Its life and nutrition come from the body of its host – the woman carrying it.  A doctor told me the two most dangerous things in this life are to be born and to give birth.  Men cannot do the latter.  Most assignments dangerous to men are voluntary.  His choice.  Pregnancy is an assignment dangerous to women.  It should be her choice.

The underlying tenet of Judeo-Christian-Islam society is that pregnancy is a woman’s punishment for sex.  Interesting that there is no similar “punishment” for men – and obscene if the sex was not the woman’s choice.  Twenty-five percent of all rapes result in pregnancy.  Without abortion society says the fetus – even a deformed fetus or fatally diseased or result of rape fetus – is more important that a mature contributing member of society and rapists make the choice.  Pro which life – the woman or the fetus?  Pro whose choice – the woman or the rapist?  Law only determines which life and whose choice.

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  13 comments for “Whose Choice

  1. princesspat
    June 3, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Thanks bfitz……the R’s ongoing obsession with abortion rights and women’s health issues fills me with dismay. Wise words…..

    “…. A society with legal abortion says the mother’s life and well-being is important. The mother knows the circumstances and therefore she chooses to bear a child right now – or not. The woman’s life is valued and she makes the choice….”

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    • bfitzinAR
      June 3, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      Yeah, I thought we’d dealt with this 30-odd years ago. But the Rs have a problem with equality. They don’t believe in it. If you say they are equal you’ve just said they aren’t superior and that says to them that you are saying they are inferior. Whether the overt issue is women’s rights or brown folks’ rights or GLBT rights the covert issue is that they have to have somebody to be superior to.

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  2. Portlaw
    June 3, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Agreed,

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    • bfitzinAR
      June 3, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      I know I’m preaching to the choir here – but you know, choirs can make some really nice sounds. :)

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  3. June 3, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Wonderful essay, bfitz! Thank you so much for sharing this.

    The point that struck me the most is that forced childbearing in the case of rape is the rapist’s choice.

    Do you realize how rarely the words “the rapist” are used? And how our very language elides responsibility or this particular crime? We say “a woman was raped in the park,” not “a man raped a woman in the park.” Men rape women. Women do not rape women. Rape can result in pregnancy, so in that case the crime against the woman is compounded.

    No one should be forced to bear a child she doesn’t want, but forced childbearing, lack of contraception and abortion services, and patriarchal religion are how patriarchy keeps women in their place.

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    • bfitzinAR
      June 4, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      As far as men are concerned, that’s the point. They give less than a rat’s patooty about either the woman or the baby/fetus, it’s just another rationalization to subjugate women. They don’t care what the excuse is – their need to be “superior” when they obviously aren’t grasps at anything – biological, religious, science fantasy – doesn’t matter as long as it allows them to keep all the power and most of the wealth due their “superiority”. And yes, by their “we have authority over everything and responsibility for nothing” rules, women are raped but men are not rapists.

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  4. Portlaw
    June 3, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I know this has been discussed but thought I would add it here
    Wisconsin Abortion Ban Would Allow Father To Sue For Emotional Distress

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said this week that he would sign a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy that does not contain exceptions for rape and incest victims, if the bill reaches his desk. The measure also contains a less-discussed provision that would allow the father to sue the doctor for “emotional and psychological distress” if he disagrees with the abortion, regardless of his relationship with the woman having the procedure.

    bold mine http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/03/wisconsin-abortion_n_7502558.html

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    • JanF
      June 3, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      Actually I had not heard that. So a rapist can sue the doctor if his victim ends the pregnancy? Lovely. The woman hating GOP is really letting their freak flag fly this year. I have no idea what it will take to make my fellow Wisconsinites kick these guys to the curb.

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    • JanF
      June 3, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      Actually there is an exception for if the “father” is a rapist but who gets to decide if it is “legitimate rape”? Todd Akins?

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      • Portlaw
        June 3, 2015 at 7:11 pm

        In any case, if a father can sue a doctor, one must wonder how that might affect medical decisions.

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        • JanF
          June 3, 2015 at 8:55 pm

          The Wisconsin state legislature passed a law last year to make it more difficult to sue nursing homes for negligence. This year they are passing a law to make it easier for a man to sue when a woman wants to terminate a pregnancy … whether they are in a relationship or not.

          They really have no compass other than the furtherance of their anti-woman agenda.

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          • Portlaw
            June 3, 2015 at 9:39 pm

            To be honest, I think that I am too shocked by this to come up with anything coherent. The idea of the guy, suing for emotional damage??? What about the woman”s ???? I am speechless.

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    • bfitzinAR
      June 4, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      Obscene, isn’t it? Not only does the rapist get to make the choice, the rapist gets to sue any doctor daring to circumvent his choice.

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