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Friday, January 28, 2005

Comments

Louise

Having an abortion is not something a woman WANTS to do. She doesn't say "Hmm, today rather than shop for new shoes, or eat chocolate, I'm feeling like an abortion. Honey, you wanna give me a ride to the clinic?" It's the last available choice to avoid becoming a mother. Please don't mention adoption. We all know that is another option, but that choice just leaves you as the non-custodial mother and isn't the right choice for a lot of women.

Ok, so it's the final available option and it isn't pleasant, but it should ALWAYS remain legal. What we need to do, is reduce the need. Most of us can agree to that, right? Sex isn't dirty or bad, but it does have consequences and people should know them. Education is key and that is not happening. Abstinence-only is a joke. Sex should be a natural and healthy part of people's lives. No, not when your a child, but who really thinks they are going to get accurate, unbiased information from their parents? Even parents with the best of intentions often don't have all the facts. It's in the interest of society to provide our citizens with a complete education (including health, which includes sex). Parents are there to provide their spin on any religious interpretation and (hopefully) be an example of a successful, healthy (adult) sexual relationship.

For those that argue schools haven't gotten it right in the past, there is room for improvement. Without getting into another "scare tactics" scenario, why shouldn't this fact-based sex ed include more info on diseases you can catch? I was recently discussing the apparent increase in casual oral sex in young girls today with a co-worker and we were complaining about the lack of education being part of the problem. We (35yr and 52yr old) remember getting a lot more from school then her kids are getting today. Her suggestion? Show one picture of an infected mouth, and fewer (if any) girls would do any more "it's not really sex" favors.

I've probably already gone on too long, but I can't comprend why people keep believing the fairy-tale. You know, that if everyone simply waits until s/he's married to have sex, we'd all be fine. Really? True love pays for baby's needs? If you're married, you're automatically ready/want to have children?

I've never needed an abortion (yet). But I make people uncomfortable when I say I've already made the decision. They can't seem to understand why I don't want to wait and face that situation if it arises and then make my decision then. Why? I've known for aprox. 12 years that I never want to be a parent. Knowing that means I use birth control and, if it fails, I have an abortion. So far, I've been lucky. This is the right decision for me.

I think we should encourage women to think about what they would if they got pregnant. If you think you could never give a child for adoption or have an abortion, then carefully consider your parental abilities and birth control options.

Final point - other than education, the way to reduce the need for abortion is to increase access to other birth control. It should be free for poor women. Every insurance should be required to cover it. Hospitals and pharmacies should never be allowed to deny dispending it. And we need a massive educational campaign to the general public about the various oprions.

roni

THe real crime here is not the parents or abstinence edu. THe crime is this young girl is starting a pattern of not being responsible for her conduct. She knew about contraception but instead let "the moment" carry her away. Her abortion is her parents fault b/c she can't disappoint people. Teaching people about contraception by no means ensures they will be used. I find it a double standard the expectations people put on abstinence training as opposed to other sex edu trng. Several studies show that teaching people about contraception has only a short term benefit. In the long term the use of contraception b/w those taught and those not is the same. Look at the current situation w/ HIV among homosexuals and AA women.

Donna

I got pregnant at 20yrs old. Single, struggled with a decision I thought abortion was the magic wand that would make my problems go away. But I kept MY GUY Andrew he's 11 now and he's my buddy. And I love him. I couldn't imagine life without him It's hard but rewarding.

Anne Basso

I got pregnant at 19, after aborting at 17. No one ever told me it was common for post-abortive women to have an overwhelming desire to become pregnant again. It's not like I tried to get pregnant, but I didn't avoid it too hard either. Deep down, I think I was trying to replace the baby I'd killed.

My boyfriend left me. Our Christian families were very dissapointed. But I chose life for our child. It was not easy. Sometimes, it still isn't. But my son is an amazing child. It freaks me out a little when I think how he might have been cut into pieces and sucked into a sink.

In the end I took responsibility for my choices, even the bad ones. And my son has life because of it. Anything I went through pales in comparison to his life. No excuse is worth more.

Pro-lifers think of the mothers, and how they hurt. But mothers generally have choices, and babies don't.

myllissa

I went through that same thing. My family was hard core christians, and I never thought that I would have sex before marraige. Sex was the enemy. Then I met the love of my life, my now husband and we got pregnant while we were engaged. The baby would have been born two days before our 'white' evangelical christian wedding. There was no way I could disappoint or possibly shame my family, let down my church or admit that I wasn't who I let people believe I was. I had truly believed that abortion was horrible and that I could never do it. But until I was in those shoes, I had no clue. My decision was best for me and for my family. It went against my core being, and everything I have ever believed and held true. I was devistated after my abortion. But still today, I am grateful for the life I have now because of the decision I made then. I wasn't ready financially, or mentally to be a parent, especially to a child that would forever be called a "mistake" by my family. I couldn't handle the fact that something that should be a joyous and happy occasion would be something that would forever divide my family and put a red letter on my chest. I don't regret what I did. But I mourn for the loss of my innocence, and my identity, and for all that I thought was right and true. Most "prolifers" only think of the life of the baby. Almost never the life of the woman. I chose a better future for me and my future children.

Anne Basso

That situation absolutely stinks. But they didn't *deny* her a choice. They denied her the love and support they should have given as parents, but they didn't deny her a *choice*.

One of my problems is that people don't want to take responsibility for their choices anymore. People engage in sexual behaviour with the knowledge that it could end in pregnancy NO MATTER WHAT BIRTH CONTROL THEY USE. They do it anyway, and when they don't use birth control or don't use it properly or they do everything right but still end up pregnant, they don't want to take responsibility for that either. Then they want an abortion. For those that don't want the abortion, they still have choices, but again, choices that require responsibility.

Adoptive moms have the responsibility of finding good families for their children. Moms who want to keep their babies have a responsibility to support and raise them.

In the end, those girls parents acted terribly. When I say that parents have a responsibility to educate their children about sex, I don't mean to say that the responsibility ends there. I don't think there's anything about what I said that's hypocritical, because I don't take responsibility for those not doing their job. I can promise to do mine, however.

But the parents have absolutely no responsibility to help her raise her child. It would be nice if they did, but it's not their responsibility. She made the choice to have sex, she made the choice to raise the baby. She then has the responsibility to take care of it.

Whatever a terrified young woman believes (and I don't speak from ignorance, I was one too) it doesn't change the fact that her choices have led to the creation of another human being, to whom she bears a certain responsibility. I'm not pretending that it's easy. But sometimes living up to one's responsibility isn't easy. No one ever promised life would be easy. But these situations shape who we become and our character. I'd much prefer to associate with someone who's taken responsibility for their actions and learned from them, then from someone who expects the world to take care of them. Of course, that's subjective and totally just me.

Farah

I agree that the parents might not be as upset as the young woman thinks. But consider what you have been saying. Parents should be in charge of sex ed. Parents tell their children that they shouldn't do x and y is terrible. And then you expect the children to think that the parents will act diffferently--in fact hypocritically according to their own lights--in the real situation. That's a lot to ask a terrified young woman to believe.

And what if the parents do act unexpectedly?

I had a friend this happened to. She got pregnant, decided to trust her parents who had brought her up to virulently anti-abortion, and to her shock it was the very first thing they suggested. When she said she wanted to have the baby they kicked her out. When she couldn't cope with the baby on her own and decided to have it adopted, they wrote her an astonishingly cruel letter.

For this woman the ideal would have been keeping the baby with the support of her anti-abortion parents. In the end *they* denied her that choice.

Farah

Of course adoption would rob her of her dreams! Pregnancy takes nine months. Babies don't just happen! And she would have to tell her parents and her friends, who if they share her values migh make her feel guiltier. And for the rest of her life there would be a child out there to remind her of this. And she might not be able to go through with the adoption. And she might find that with a child she couldn't cope with School (my married students have enough problems). The list goes on.

But that isn't what I wanted to say.

The original blog reminded me of why I was annoyed with Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass. Whichever way you calculate it, Will and Lyra are no more than fourteen when they have sex. I understand that Pullman wanted to destroy the notion of sex as sinful, but he justifies it by arguing that they are "in love".

What I dislike most about abstinence education and a lot of non-abstinence sex ed., is this constant harping on about "when you are in love. It is both dishonest and dangerous, for all the reasons abortionclinicdays said. It makes young people vulnerable, it more or less demands that the first sexual experience be unplanned and the result of an"overwhelming urge".

Why can't we just tell young people: sex is like any other sport. Plan it, think about who you want to play with and wear the right equipment.

Jill

Undeniably living, born children are already paying the price for things like "chastity education" and abstinence-only curricula. This young woman is an example of that. If she had been taught that sexuality isn't evil and that it is responsible and moral to avoid unintended pregnany through contraceptives, she likely wouldn't be faced with this decision. Her case illustrates a profound failure on the part of adults and lawmakes who place ideology over public health and young peoples' lives. Saying that she should just consider adoption is a bit short-sighted. I'm sure she's considered that option, and it obviously isn't the right one for her, especially since she doesn't want her parents to know she's pregnant. It's time to stop underestimating and lying to young people about their bodies, and to start giving them options.

I also just wanted to add that I just discovered this blog and I think it's fantastic! I'll be a faithful reader from now on.

Anne Basso

Adoption would not rob her of her dreams. It sounds like what is driving her are what she believes will be other people's responses. She may be right, but she might also not be. Very often parents aren't nearly as upset about a child's mistake as they are hurt that their child believe that he or she can't talk to them about it. Again we have an example of someone making a bad choice, and out of a myriad of subjective feelings, making an objective choice to end the life of a child who is not to blame.

I understand she did something that she never meant to do. But it seems a terrible shame that her child should have to pay the price.

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