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Monthly Archives: May 2013

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If Abortion Becomes Illegal

As a woman living in the United States, I have lived a privileged life. I’ve had an education, not only high school, but college. I have a job where I wear pants. If I don’t like that job, I can find another. I can curse like a sailor, pick fights with men, and if the time calls for it, obtain an abortion.

However, the @AbortionChat twitter feed, and my own personal feed, is constantly under attack with threats of Roe v Wade being repealed. Of abortion becoming a felony, of the right to having an abortion just **PUFF** disappear.

Here are some things to consider if abortion becomes illegal:

*Women who do not want to BE pregnant, will not STAY pregnant.

I’ve met women who say they will end their lives, risk their lives, and go through extremes to end a pregnancy. When I was pregnant, I considered suicide rather than abortion, too. I also considered knitting needles, coat hangers, having someone hit me with a baseball bat in the stomach.

I’ve heard stories from other women. We all know what happened before Roe v Wade with botched abortions, and women dying from sepsis. We’ve also heard more recently about Savita and how her LIFE could have been saved if they’d given her an abortion.

*How will you know she’s pregnant?

My period was late. My stomach felt weird. I didn’t enjoy the same foods I had enjoyed. I had an awful craving for Dr. Pepper from a fountain. I don’t even like soda. Still, I delayed testing. And I delayed testing. And I delayed testing. I knew I
was pregnant beyond a doubt. Still, I refused to take a test. No one knew I was pregnant until I made the calls, sobbing on the phone.

If abortion becomes illegal, how will you know this woman obtained an abortion? How can you say that she is pregnant? Unless the government somehow mandates pregnancy tests, or logs of sexual activity and menstrual cycles, it is nearly impossible to know when a woman is pregnant early on. Typically, most abortions occur in the first trimester. So, unless you intend to violate a woman on nearly every level, it’s probably best to respect the privacy of her body.

*If she is pregnant, what can you do?

Say every single Planned Parenthood and abortion provider closes. A woman is pregnant. Will the government force her to not drink energy drinks? Will she not be allowed to snowboard? Will she be allowed to drink?

As previously stated, a woman who does not want to be pregnant will not stay pregnant. If somehow she is forced to stay pregnant, will she still be allowed to live her life?

*If she miscarries, will she be punished?

A miscarriage is the body’s way to abort a fetus. For many women, it is traumatizing, and incredibly sad. Yet, the woman was pregnant. She is no longer. To some it may look like she’d had an abortion, so what then? What will happen to the woman who attempted to carry her pregnancy, who wanted a child, and whose body rejected the tissue inside her?

*What about Plan B, contraceptives, and other forms of birth control?

I feel like that question speaks for itself.

If not, consider this. Plan B is taken when the condom breaks, in cases of rape, or in another way birth control may fail. How will people judge ‘pregnancy’ if abortion is illegal? Is it the moment after the man ejaculates inside a woman? Is it the morning after?

*What about cases of rape?

In her article last week, Jacqueline Mitchell wrote:

I firmly believe that to force anyone to carry a child conceived by incest or rape is a second rape, a rape of the soul; and that forcing a baby to have a baby tells the brutalised child quite graphically that they are worthless, and unworthy of protection.

But if abortion is considered illegal, rape victims, incest victims, and a plethora of other women will be forced into carrying a pregnancy they may rather do without.

This is a small list. I could go on for days about the ways illigalizing abortion could make the world a very scary place to a woman. But just read this small list. Consider what would happen IF it happened.

This is why I fight for women’s rights.

What about you?

Thursday’s Child by Jacqueline Mitchell

Warning: Content may have triggers for some

Do you remember this rhyme?

Monday’s child is fair of face,

Tuesday’s child is full of grace,

Wednesday’s child is full of woe,

Thursday’s child has far to go,

Friday’s child is loving and giving,

Saturday’s child works hard for it’s living,

But the child that’s born on the Sabbath Day,

Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.
Me at 1 year old with my great grandmother
First some context: I was born on a Thursday in August of 1961. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on the 22nd of November, 1963. What does the birth of an unremarked and unremarkable girl child have to do with the death of a sitting president? Just this: I remember the day he died, young as I was. I remember my mother and older brother sitting in front of a black and white television, crying; the television showed an airplane sitting alone on a tarmac. It is a remarkably clear memory for one slightly over two years old, but it isn’t my first memory. No, my first memory is of two much older male relatives performing sexual acts on me. Let me make this absolutely clear, since some of the folk who will read this know me personally: it was not my father, stepfather, brother or stepbrothers and the perpetrators are long dead and gone, past hurting another child. The degree of consanguinity, however, was close enough to make the betrayal of trust horrific.

I will not go into details about the abuse; it is unnecessary and not pertinent to the point of this article; nonetheless I will point out that unprotected, penetrative sex…no, lets call it what it really was, rape, abusively incestuous rape… began at an early age. At first the things which frightened me were the extreme pain, the humiliation, the feeling of beingdirty and the guilt. I’ve yet to speak with a survivor who didn’t feel guilt in some proportion at some point in their lives…it’s what children do; assuming they are the centre of the world and are thus guilty if anything goes wrong. Later, and not much later at that, I found a whole new world of fear. I was an early developer, so my menstrual cycles began at a young age, and other signs of my developing body burgeoned, literally. At age 14 I had to have breast reduction surgery.

Me at about 2 years old
My mother, bless her heart, tried to explain the birds and bees to me when my cycles began … unusual in that place and time … and I quickly grasped the pertinent information with a feeling of horror. I could get pregnant from what was being done to me.

I make no claims of having any deep understanding of what that meant, at least at first, other than the self-centred notion that everyone would know what a bad, dirty, nasty girl I was; it was bad enough, in my eyes, that I and my abusers knew. Later, however, it began to penetrate that it would be bad for more than just me ….

How could I … young and defenseless as I was, keep or raise a child (especially if it was a girl) knowing that it could be hurt in the same ways I was, and I would be helpless to protect it? I couldn’t even protect myself at that age! How could I give it up for adoption knowing that, even then, adopted children were beginning to successfully seek out their birth parents? How could I curse a child by telling it how it was conceived, and how could I look at it without hate if it found me?

I can’t tell you exactly when I realized that if I got pregnant I would either have an abortion, or kill myself but I do know it was around the age of twelve. A friend of the family had gotten ‘into trouble’ and gave the child up for adoption, and when the child got a bit older he began wanting to meet his birth mother so that wasn’t an option. It didn’t take me long, even in those pre-internet days, to realise I’d have to have parental permission for an abortion, and that it wasn’t likely to be forthcoming at my age and in my rural community, especially as I was determined that no one would ever know by whom I’d gotten pregnant. If, indeed, I got pregnant. Suicide, then, if I couldn’t get an abortion. Between the ages of 12 and 14, when I finally succeeded in stopping the abuse… in large part because of the aforementioned breast reduction surgery ( I was watched closely whilst healing so I wouldn’t rip the scars open…limiting access to me…and having known a brief time of freedom from the abuse, I gathered the courage to threaten my primary abuser with exposure, including contacting the police, if he didn’t leave me alone. I was terrified to confront him but I did it anyway.)

Me at about 10-11 years old

I thought about every form of suicide I knew of, and was frightened by thoughts of pain, death, and going to hell …. hell being the one thing I was fairly certain of. My cycles were always irregular, often late and sometimes skipping a month or more altogether, so the fear that I might have been impregnated was always intense, always present.

I’ve often heard or read the argument, regarding rape and/or incest, that it isn’t the baby’s fault – and it isn’t. However, I was practically a baby when the abuse began and it wasn’t my fault either. Looking back, I don’t fault myself for my decision to end a pregnancy engendered by incestuous rape in whatever way I could. It was even a loving thought, in it’s way, because I would never want a child to know that was how it was conceived. Well, at least as loving as my terrified 12 year old self could be. I am grateful I never had to enforce that decision and am well aware that, although it was the decision I’d made in advance, it could well not be the right decision for someone else. I applaud those who are able to keep and love children begun in such horrific circumstances, but I equally applaud and support those who have chosen otherwise. I very much feel we ~must~ be able to choose what is right for us to do, and that the only right thing is to support one another to the best of our ability. I firmly believe that to force anyone to carry a child conceived by incest or rape is a second rape, a rape of the soul; and that forcing a baby to have a baby tells the brutalised child quite graphically that they are worthless, and unworthy of protection. On the other hand, I am as fiercely against forced or coerced abortion as I am against it’s opposite. Choice is all, and it is my privilege to advocate for everyone’s right to choose the right path for themselves.

My beautiful daughter and I
Speaking of choices: several years later, as an adult, I did become pregnant. The circumstances weren’t easy and many courses of action were urged on me, including abortion.

I chose not to abort.
Why? Difficult circumstances were not enough reason for me to give up a miracle. The damage done to my body during the years I was sexually abused should have made it impossible to conceive or carry a child, and I was not going to turn my back on such a gift. Difficult was not the same as the horror of carrying and bearing a helpless child born of incestuous rape as no more than a child myself, not for me, and I knew that this was the baby I was meant to have and raise. I have no right to expect anyone else to live by my reasoning, nor do I know the wounds, horrors, or challenges another faces. None of us do. It is not given to us to judge one another, but to be patient and kind. To judge one another is neither.

My beautiful daughter, who is a Monday’s child by the by, just graduated from university; bringing her into the world and raising her during her early childhood, as a single mother, was not easy and I was not a perfect mother, but it is one of the best choices I ever made. Yes, Thursday’s child had far to go…but I’m getting there.

Jacqueline Mitchell is a grouchy, opinionated old gal with a penchant for popcorn and a more than slightly warped sense of humour. A ‘Jill of all Trades’, from being veep of an asbestos abatement monitoring laboratory to cake decorator, she is happily married to the Great Scot, mother and step-mother to one daughter, two stepsons, and three furry barkers.

Protesting, Part II

We got 100+ honks!

Two weeks ago, a group of people stood outside a Crisis Pregnancy Center holding signs that said, “Come Talk to Me!” “Your Body, Your Choice!” “We Support You” and “Honk if You Love Choice!”

Here are their reflections:

What was your objective today? Do you feel like you accomplished it?
Damien: I was there to support women’s rights and my girlfriend, so yes. I think I accomplished those goals.
Jennifer: My objective was to express my feelings about being ProChoice, and I feel like I did accomplish that.
Echo: My objective was to talk to people and give out more information about how crisis centers like the one we were at are giving out false information and lying by omniscient. I feel like we accomplished a lot, we talked to a couple people and got 100+ honks!
Nicholas: See a protest, not really

Was the protest what you expected?
Damien: ::Shrug:: Yes, except we didn’t get that many people to stop talk and talk
Jennifer: The protest was what I thought, except with less people
Echo: Not at all. I thought there were going to be other people there, but I’m glad it was just us. It was a very chill first experience, which was nice.
Nicholas: No there was no one else

When people came up to talk, what was your reaction?
Damien: No one came up to talk to me, I’m not going to lie. When they came up to Nick, I wanted to know what they wanted to find out. I’d go over and listen to everyone else’s opinion. I also wanted to make sure that the people approaching us weren’t going to start a confrontation.
Jennifer: I was surprised that they were all males.
Echo: Nobody directly came to talk to me, which is probably a good thing, but I was glad that people stopped to talk about what we were protesting for.
Nicholas: Hello.

What was your favorite part about the protest?
Damien: Supporting my girlfriend. And all the honks!
Jennifer: Hula hooping! And getting beeps!
Echo: My favorite part was hula hooping, and the woman coming out to talk to us.
Nicholas: Hula hooping

What was your least favorite part?
Damien: People flipping us off.
Jennifer: Standing, and the wind.
Echo: My least favorite thing was the people driving by and saying rude stuff to us.
Nicholas: I forgot deodorant

Do you think you’ll protest again?
Damien: Mmm hmm. (Yes)
Jennifer: Yes!
Echo: I totally want to protest again! Bringing the hula hoops every time!
Nicholas: Depends on the topic

Did anything that happened make you think differently about being ProChoice?
Damien: No.
Jennifer: No.
Echo: Nothing made me think differently about it. I was surprised at how many people honked for us! The ProChoice side isn’t really publicized very much, so I didn’t realize how many people were actually on our side.
Nicholas: No my natural choice is valid and accepted currently

How do you think you can improve the next protest?

Peaceful Protest

Damien: Try to get more people, both to protest and to approach us. I’d also like to give more of my opinion.
Jennifer: Better signs, and wind holes so it doesn’t feel like the signs are going to get ripped out of our hands.
Echo: I think making more signs would probably be a good idea, but overall I think we did awesome!
Nicholas: BBQ

What did you learn from today’s protest?
Damien: Not everyone supports our beliefs. I mean, I already knew it, but people flipping us off, shaking their heads no for holding a sign saying, “Your Body, Your Choice,” it’s kind of messed up.
Jennifer: I learned that people actually care. And that you should make wind holes in your signs so they don’t try to bubble up.
Echo: I learned that people are a lot more open minded than I thought.
Nicholas: Do what thou wilt

Do you think the protest made anyone think differently? Did you help make change today?
Damien: I don’t know, maybe not think differently but shed some light on people supporting women’s rights. Maybe it brightened the women’s days who drove by us. 
Jennifer: YES! I feel like we helped make change today.
Echo: There was one guy and his daughter that Lynne talked to for awhile. I hope she (Lynne) opened his mind to different options. I helped Jen hula hoop, so that was my contribution!
Nicholas: Yes i made a pretty funny video on the way, and got some great giggles out of it. Highlight of my trip.

The Importance of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Kellie Maliborski

Wow, what on earth am I doing here? I don’t write serious stuff, I write about funny news articles and conversations I have with my megalomaniac cat. Heavy stuff like abortion really isn’t up my alley, but when I found out about the AbortionChat blog and its purpose, I just couldn’t pass it up. After all, I may not do serious, but I definitely do opinionated!

So I’m sure you’re all wondering, what is Kellie’s opinion? Is she pro-life? Is she pro-choice? Is she a combination of the two? Does she believe that babies come from cabbage patches? Well, the answer to those very good questions is … I haven’t the foggiest.

I know that if I were to fall pregnant I’d probably start to think in terms of “baby” right away rather than embryo or foetus. I’ve always known that abortion wouldn’t be an option for me. It’s not a moral choice or a hard argued philosophy, it’s just the way I’ve always been. If I found out I was pregnant, I doubt the idea of abortion would even enter my mind as a solution, assuming I believed a solution was necessary.

So I know that I wouldn’t ever want to have an abortion personally, although I do admit that my resolve gets a little fuzzy when you bring things like congenital defects or rape into the picture. But do I think that other women should feel the same way as me and make the same decisions? No. Do I claim to know what they SHOULD feel and do? Absolutely not!

Photo Credit:

Yep, it’s a simple as that, kids. If you’ve come here looking for the final word on whether abortion is right or wrong, you’re barking up the wrong tree. I’m no more qualified to tell you than than I am to perform open heart surgery … and believe me, with my diet coke habit and perpetually shaky hands, you do NOT want me performing open heart surgery!

But here’s one thing I do know.

I can have thoughts, I can have ideas, but until I’ve actually been in every single situation those other women have been in, lived through everything they have, and have experienced all of their thoughts and feelings, I have absolutely no right to go marching around stating unequivocally that I know what they should or should not do.

I have the right to pass judgement on exactly one person … me. I get to decide what’s right for me, what I feel is moral or immoral, and how I’m going to action those decisions. I do NOT, however, get to do any of that for anyone else. Not until I gain the magic power of knowing exactly what they have been through.

Until I know how it feels to be raped by someone I trusted, or to find out that a birth defect means my baby wouldn’t live beyond his first birthday, or to know that I’m barely making it through the day taking care of myself and have no hope whatsoever of taking care of someone else too, I don’t get a vote.

I know it’s a messy subject, and it’d be lovely to believe that someone has the absolute answer to give us that will take away all the moral angsting, but that’s just not going to happen. I have zero answers, and as much other people might rattle on about how they do, I find it hard to believe that they have either.

But here’s a little bit of advice from your Auntie Kellie. Unless you’ve suddenly developed magical psychic powers, don’t presume to know what another woman has gone through or what she’s basing her decisions on. Whatever those decisions, be they to abort or not to abort, they were probably the hardest ones she ever had to make.

She’s got more than enough going on without having to deal with a guilt trip too.

Kellie shares her duplex, which she lovingly refers to as “The Fibro Shack”, with a cat bent on world domination, a cockatiel suffering from senile dementia, and a grumpy possum who, until recently, lived under the bathtub.  Now he lives in the tree in the back yard … don’t ask, it’s a long story.

You can find Kellie at her blog Delightfully Ludicrous