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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Comments

anisha

i need help with funds for abortion i have no income and im in a very bad situation im 17 years old i have too kids and i really need this please help

Zygote

Linda, All I can say is Thank You. You put into words what I have been thinking for awhile now and much more eloquently. Coercion isn't considered coercion if it will ultimately "Save" a women regardless if she realizes it.

Linda Flores

Rachael wrote: " You don't know that. Many in the pro-life movement are also involved in humanitarian work."

Well, my point was that the "help" you give women is contingent on them making the choice that you have deciced she should make -- giving birth. If you help a woman get transportation for her abortion, pay for it, find child care if she needs it during her abortion, give her transportation for follow-up care, etc --

then you can say you help women in whatever choice they make, even when that choice is abortion.

But you don't. Your efforts are aimed at making sure women fulfill their ordained role as mothers. When I went on a visit to a "crisis pregnancy center earlier this year, they had pamphlets talking about how "a real woman lovies babies ... finds strength in her husband ... is happy and content". And the counselor told me abortion was against "a woman's nature".

You also write: "What about that woman Bon wrote about a while back that was homeless and sleeping in a lockeroom. She didn't mention whether they helped that woman find a shelter or a place to stay."

If you want to criticize abortion providers for not providing more services, let's look at why they might not be able to, shall we? The pro-life movement has spent decades fighting to end the work of abortion clinics: bomb threats, stink bombs, glue in the locks, stalking clinic employees,pickets outside clinics, bombings, even murder -- which means clinics have to spend inordinate amounts of time and energy and *money* on security and skyrocketing insurance rates. Then, the pro-life movement imposes laws like ones saying that the doctor who is to perform the abortion must themselves meet with the woman 24 hours prior (a requirement that does not apply to any other surgery, even those much more invasive and complex than first-trimester abortion) or regulations requiring that lawns be free of insects and that clinic doors be a certain width -- again, arcane restrictions that suck up money to comply with. Then pro-life senators sponsor laws that must be fought in court, or they issue subpoenas fishing into the personal lives of the women who seek services there. All of this drains money from a medical field that is under attack and fighting for funding.
(One example: I know someone who fought tooth and nail to keep an abortion clinic solvent -- the staff worked for months without salaries and often could not even pay their rent, so low did they keep their fees to serve the women who expressed gratefulness (yes - gratefulness! and thanks!) for their work. Yet they had to pay their security guards; I knew someone who took that job and felt terrible having to take money for it, but if you depend on volunteers for a job that crucial, you risk losing them when they themselves are forced to get a paying job in order to pay the rent. My friend worked as a guard and did not feel right about accepting the money, but they were also going to school full time and the hours they were serving as a security guard were the only hours they had to earn a living.)

So -- if you wonder why abortion clinics don't provide more than the services they do, look to the pro-life movement for isolating, attacking, and draining the funds, energy and resources from the people who have to fight so hard to provide those services.

Now let's talk about the kind of "help" provided by Pregnancy Resource Centers (they used to be known as Crisis Pregnancy Centers but had to change their name after so many women got hip to the fact that they were all run by anti-abortion people.)

Pregnancy Resource Centers deliberately are designed to look like medical clinics, which they are not (I've read the manuals about looking as medical as possible, to reassure women). They use feminist-sounding phrases like "information on a woman's choice". I have never seen an ad that stated, "we do not provide abortions" -- and I've seen lots. They hide their Christian background: I had to do half an hour's worth of research to find out that the place I visited was part of a network whose mission was defined as a "Christian ministry assisting and promoting the evangelistic, pro-life work of pregnancy centers".

In other words, they have an entire ideological package attached to their "help", which they do not reveal until they've gotten women into their doors. I've read the Center of Tomororow Journal and the other publications, and I've gotten a fat stack of the pamphlets at these centers. You can get advice for "secondary virginity",but not impartial information about birth control. You can get told that living together will make your marriage fail, but not get told about counseling services or couples counseling that doesn't have abstinence as the explicit goal, or learn how to help your relationship succeed on your terms. You can get pamphlets which reinforce 1950s morality and sex roles -- that it is the men who have the sex drive, and that women must say no to men in order to gain respect. You can get told lies that condoms break one third of the time (I investigated it - not even close) and that abortion causes breast cancer (a false "connection" the anti-abortion forces have tried to make for years, but which does not exist. Try the NCI, the CDC, etc etc for decent facts.)**

In other words, the "help" consists of false and misleading information and propaganda designed to scare and guilt-trip women away from using protection or choosing abortion. As I commented on another blog:
If you were really "helping" women, you would not need to lie to them.

One of the publications I read advised counselors that, once they had gained a woman's trust, they should tell women that "God has a plan for sexuality" and that women's sexuality should conform to God's design. (Combine that with the "a real woman loves babies" and "finds strength in her husband", and you get a decent idea of the content of "God's plan".)

And it also must be said, as an aside, that you have no idea what kinds of other services clinics are providing, at least the ones that aren't fighting to provide quality care without going bankrupt. The clinics I know labor to provide all kinds of services to women, including counseling and referrals to lots of services. And it's true that women in this society have all kinds of oppression that weighs on them and that they need help for. But no one place does all of those things. And now you want to make a standard that in addition to fighting to answer the calls they're swamped with from women needing appointments and information, the calls they must make to help women find money for their abortions, the paperwork to comply with the restrictions they must follow, the crank calls and death threats and hate mail --
they must do this as well?

Or, put another way, someone who is fighting to force women with an unwanted pregnancy to choose between a back alley butcher or motherhood (now there's a choice made without coercion!) has no business claiming they care for women. Much less making that accusation of the people who literally risk their lives to provide women with this service.

Linda

** By contrast, Planned Parenthood provides all kinds of pamphlets about how to fight for equality in your relationship; how to decide what kinds of sexual and intimate experiences you want (or don't want), and how to negotiate those in your relationship; how to end an abusive relationship; the actual failure rates and the pros and cons of birth control methods so you can decide for yourself; how to heal after sexual abuse, and all kinds of other information. And unlike CPCs, they actually have real medical staff who can provide genuine medical care, and not just for abortion services.

Rachael

Linda,
You don't know that. Many in the pro-life movement are also involved in humanitarian work.
But no one here has addressed my concern of abortion clinics providing the abortion and not providing care beyond that. What about that woman Bon wrote about a while back that was homeless and sleeping in a lockeroom. She didn't mention whether they helped that woman find a shelter or a place to stay. And what about the woman overwhelemd with her severly disabled child. She had the abortion and doesn't have the stress of an adition child, but she'll still be struggling with her disabled child (maybe refer to her a support organization?)
The same goes for the pro-life movement. We need to make sure that we're focusing on both the mother and child's needs.
By focusing only on the unplanned pregnancy (whether eliminating it or protecting it), we sometimes neglect to address the problems surrounding the pregnancy which make the pregnancy a crisis pregnancy. Regardless of her decision with her pregnancy, we need to be sure to address any previously existing unmet needs as well.

Linda Flores

"Actually, myself and other pro-lifers are willing to pay for food, help her find suitable housing and those who are able even provide their own home, and help her with medical care and expenses as long as she needs."

Right -
as long as she agrees to give birth, which you've already decided is the only acceptable option.
If not, no help at all.

Rachael

Me,
I am being genuine and sincere, but I'm sorry you can't see past your anger to see that. You make a lot of assumptions about be based on my political stance, not knowing me as an indivual. Actually, myself and other pro-lifers are willing to pay for food, help her find suitable housing and those who are able even provide their own home, and help her with medical care and expenses as long as she needs. Also, I'm active in my community volunteering at the local soup kitchen to feed to the needy and I donate canned foods to the poor. I have very much seen poverty, my best friend is a single mom who struggled for a long time to make ends meet. I care because I have compassion for others suffering and needs, certainly not for power or gain or any political cause. You've made this personal issue, but every person (regardless of political stance) should be concerned with societal issues such as feeding and homes for the needy and homeless, unintended pregnancy, and those suffering domestic violence.

Me

Rachael, save the phony, pseudopsychbabble for your equally ignorant, brainwashed, propagandized friends.

Live in the real world, experience what the women you want to manipulate experience, and experience these better solutions you propose, and remember that those "solutions" are forever. They're for life. Unless you are willing to take in every woman and support her for life, don't tell her what to do. And don't think women aren't on to your pretend caring, all of which ends the second you get your way. Are you going to pay health insurance forever for these women and children? Are you personally going to pay for real counseling? Are you going to put food on their tables, or provide housing? Are you going to guarantee all those babies you wanted born a good, safe, positive life?

You have no business causing more grief and misery in this world just to make yourself feel special and important. None. I've known women (girls) like you who ply vulnerable women with their fake smiles and phony talk of caring and then deceive them and lie and turn their backs on them once they've gotten what they want.

Rachael

Also I do have strong convictions (like maybe a lot of you here do) and it's easy to get caught up in political beliefs, but a little respect for others you're responding to (even if you don't agree with them) goes a long way.

Rachael

I can see how you might of interpreted it as my pushing for adoption, however that wasn't my intent. I think that there is much room for improvement in adoption practices and that for women who've already decided to choose that route, they deserve caring treatment and rights, as well a sufficient counseling.

Rachael

Me,
Placing a child for adoption is a very hard decision, a loss even, that isn't right for all women. For those who choose that route, they deserve caring treatment and rights, as well a sufficient counseling. Now yes, no doubt there are agencies that do engage in illegal and unethical practices, but there are legit ones out there to. Perhaps you've had a bad experience or know some one who does, and do I give my deepest sympthies. Now no where did I say that adoption is the only or best option or that other. I only said that we need to work to make adoption a more viable option and more birthmother focused and I support legislation and awareness for this. Including building better communication between the birthmother and adoptive parent (if she desires it), more birthmother focused services, better pre and post-adoption counseling (addressing concerns she may have, grief and loss issues, and especially screening for coercion), and more in-home studies and evaluation of adoptive parents. You seem to be directing a lot of anger towards me and reading into things I didn't say. I'd appreciate it if you'd step back and take a breather before replying to me, because this viotrol isn't good for either of us.

Me

Rachael, how many children have you given up for adoption? How do you know what it's like over the course of a lifetime to have given a child up for adoption? Can you say that all adoptions are totally without coercion, especially those adoptions entered into by younger girls? Parents have been known to force or coerce or manipulate their daughters into "giving up" their babies for adoption.

I know something about this, and all I can say is that it is cheap and easy for you to push adoption when you don't know the first thing about it and the effects of it long term, or all the factors involved, or the many illegalities and wrongs that go on in the adoption industry.

Why don't you just live your own life and let other people live theirs? Unless you can guarantee a 100% happy, difficulty-free life for every woman who follows your personal advice and does as you say she should do, you have no business trying to sway and manipulate people into making a choice because it's what you want.

If you don't like abortions, don't have one. If you think adoption is great, have a baby and give it up. Otherwise, you're pretty much talkin' out your ass here and don't really have any first-hand, real-life experience with anything you're saying. You only know what you've been taught to say and what you've read from very biased and incomplete sources.

This site isn't for you to come to and preach at women and tell them how all the choices you would have made are better than the choices they made. You're not them, never will be, and don't have to spend a single second living the lives they live. If you don't want other people telling you all your decisions are wrong, then don't do it to other people.

Stop telling everyone adoption is always better unless you're willing to give up your children for adoption. If you're not, shut up. It's always easy for the young, inexperienced, and morally self-righteous to go around telling other people what to do when they don't have to deal with the realities of other people's lives. Get off your high horse and mind your business. You don't know everything. From your posts, you don't really seem to "know" much. You just know how to parrot a lot of propaganda.

Rachael

Sjbr,
I totally agree that we need to work on reforming adoption and making it more affordable for persons to adopt. But also, birthmothers often times have very real fears about adoptions that need to be addressed. Also, there are a lot of stigmas and stereotypes still attached to adoption. For example, the media a lot of times presents stories of an adoption gone wrong, but hardly shows adoption storys that end happily. So also overall what we need is more awareness and education about adoption. Great response!

sjbr

First I want to say that I have had 2 abortions. I hated doing it both times but I wasn't ready to have a child. Fortunately my financial situation was such that I could afford this choice. And I had support. But at the time of both pregnancies I was living in a very impoverished part of rural Maine. Is there a Maine Abortion Access Fund that I could contribute to? I finished many years of school, which was my goal all along, and now that I can afford to I'd like to help other women who may want to do the same, but for whom it is not so easy as it was for me. I'd appreciate any information.
Second, just so you all know that there is at least one of me out there: now I am ready for a family. I plan to adopt within the next few years and I would be grateful for any child who needs a home. A problem is that adoption can also be difficult and expensive, even for the middle class, or upper-middle. If more women COULD adopt babies, I think more of us would. What we need to do to is make adoption a viable option from both ends, and it's not, a lot of the time. I absolutely have the resources to feed, clothe, raise, and love a child, but the cost of adoption is equal to the downpayment on a house. Where is this money going? That's just to say that it is not the woman's fault for getting pregnant and choosing abortion over adoption because she thinks no one will want her baby - if it were easier for those who want the babies to get them, I'd bet that women would be more willing to choose that option. Reform needs to be worked at from both ends.

Zelda

Considering how the only way to get pregnant is to have sex, it would seem the two are interrelated. She is not facing the consequences of getting pregnant. The baby is.

Jillian

Consider the source, Soren. Consider the source.

I think any woman who would use that phrase has to be the most self-loathing, anti-woman person on the planet.

She is the type of "prolifer" who makes any reasonable discussion of abortion laws in this country impossible.

Soren K

"Women grovel before men with their legs open" - its been a while since you were on the dating circuit no?

It would seem to me that the woman in this story has chosen to face the consequences of her actions. As you might know - having sex does not equate getting pregnant, all though it might happen in spite of precautions.

But I am not surprised by your comments about women - it seems that the pro-life movement is just as much, if not more, about denying women their rights, and treating them as second rate people, than it is about protecting life.

/Soren

Cara

Thanks for the information - I will now be doing a fundraiser for NNAF at my law school next week. I too work at an abortion clinic, and I see similar stories all the time, although I don't work on the financial side, so I don't know how we handle it. It's good to know there are places like this out there!

A. Nony Mouse

(Why are comments in backwards order? That is *really* hard to read.)

Shevon, do you think that any woman can carry a baby for nine months and just give it up? Especially if it's non-white or otherwise doesn't have anyone just waiting to adopt it?

libby

Thank you. Thank you for the work you do, thank you for letting us know about this fund (I had no idea) and thank you for your blog. I greatly appreciate it, all of it.

Shevon

Um.
How about adoption?

Having two kids and no money doesn't necessarily have to equal abortion.

Alison

I too wish you would update more often :-) I think it's great that this blog allows all perspectives a voice, and doesn't interfere in any way with negative comments. You are simply calm and open, and don't answer back, and I think this is in itself an eloquent message. I think anyone reading this blog, from either side of this debate, can form their own opinion; the demeanour of each individual contributor is allowed to speak for itself. I know what message it gives to me, but I'll leave everyone to make up their own minds about that.

Paige

I find it interesting that abortionists rake in several thousand dollars per week, yet all of your "abortion funding" programs are strapped for cash? Many pro-life organanizations stay afloat only on donations from pro-lifers. I think maybe sbortionists should put their money where their mouth is. After all, you are going to tell me that you're in the business of "helping women", right?

Zelda

You don't seem to mind when women grovel in front of men with their legs open before they get pregnant. But that's the scam, isn't it? Do nothing to discourage irresponsible sex and then rake in the dough when an "unexpected" pregnancy occurs.

Zube Girl

Anne,

Just curious, but would your belief that she should have had her tubes tied a serious one, or one made in a heat of the moment? Here's the thing...I don't hate on Pro-Life people because I was Pro-Life from the time I knew what it meant up until I was twenty and thanked my lucky stars that women and men had been fighting for my freedom to choose, even though I had fought to deny myself that freedom. So, I don't hate those who don't agree with me now because I was them once upon a time.

However, the implication that a woman who cannot afford an abortion, much less to raise a child which is presumably far more expensive, should be sterilized, is a bit extreme.

Anne

So, basically she had no responsiblity anywhere?

Can't have a baby, yet engaging in behavior that would get her pregnant.

Can't afford an abortion, so has you call different places to help her get the money.

This story is sad on so many levels.

And this is just my opinion, but I can't put abortion in the same category as health care. Maybe getting her tubes tied is a better option.

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