A cat by any other name

My choice, or your morality?



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I got into the car on my way to the airport this afternoon to pick up Richard, and, as usual, turned on the radio. The unpleasant voice of the local shock-jock filled the air of my car, and I reached to flip the channel. I listen to that station on the way to work because I find the morning pair entertaining, but this particular disk jockey is characterized by the juvenile boorish and crude humor that seems prevalent in his ilk, and my usual reaction is to find anything else to listen to as soon as his voice comes onto the air.

However, I heard a few words that made me hesitate, and I left the station alone for a moment. He was discussing the approval (finally!) of RU486, the "Abortion Pill". And it was obvious that he was against it. He and his Anti-Choice cronies blathered on about how horrible this was, that legalizing this pill would just encourage unsafe and irresponsible sex, making women think they didn't have to take responsibility for their actions. After all, he noted, if you choose to get pregnant, you have to face up to it.

That's right. Silly me. We women choose to get pregnant all by ourselves. We just wake up one day and say "gosh. I think I'll fertilize an egg. And now that this miracle pill is available, I can just get pregnant daily and get rid of it without ever having to think!" The man has absolutely nothing to do with it. It's all internal. We can just switch it on and off, remote control, like a TV, you know. It has nothing to do with broken condoms and other means of failed birth control, uneducated women who were never told the basic facts of life, incest, rape, men who swear that they'll stay, that they love the woman, and then promptly disappear.

Excuse me. Hypocritical babble which seems so often prevalent in the Anti-Choice crowd always brings out the blatant sarcastic in me.

They call themselves Pro-Life, as if by virtue of believing that a woman should have a right to choose when and if she will have children is somehow akin to being Anti-Life (pro-murder, maybe?). The real title should be Anti-Choice. Because that's really their agenda. I have no issues with their decision to not have an abortion, should they so *choose*. But they want to go further and remove that choice from everyone else, based on their own version of morality. Strange how this same crowd seems to be the ones who often are against sexual education, easier access to birth control (because of course, if you don't tell them about it, they won't have sex. This is why there were never any unmarried pregnant women in the days before sex ed in schools. Uh huh. Yeah), and other things that might help the problem that leads to the need for abortion in the first place.

But regardless of my issues with the whole Anti-Choice movement as a whole, what angered me most about this conversation was the misinformation they were building their ranting on. The RU486 pill is not an over-the-counter pill. It must be prescribed by a doctor. The woman must go through three days of pills. She must go through an ultra-sound and exams. It is probably not painless, as it induces a miscarriage. And it is most certainly NOT easy. Abortion never is.

I've known three women who got pregnant out of wedlock. One decided to keep her baby, and eventually married the father of that baby and had more children. She decided against getting abortion for one reason - because her father wanted her to get one. She admits now that, despite how much she loves that child, that she made the choice to keep that baby for all the wrong reasons. The other two women made the choice to terminate their pregnancies. For both of them, it was a very personal decision, and they gave it a lot of thought. It was an extremely difficult decision to make, but they each realized that having a child at that stage in their lives would have been bad for both them and the baby. They've each gone on to get married and have children - this time carefully anticipated, planned for, and wanted, and while they each mourn their loss in their own way, they would both agree that it was the best decision for them at the time.

A friend of mine worked for years at an abortion clinic. While she couldn't share details about her work with me, she told me that she was often faced with a common scenario. The women would come in, insisting that they didn't believe in abortion. She would counter with 'then why are you here?'. Their answer inevitably would be 'because this is different'. And she would ask "Why? What makes you any more special than any other woman who walks in this door?" They could never answer, but she said that it was always a relief when she could see the lightbulb click on for some of them. It's always easy to sit in judgment on someone else when you've never had to face that same choice. Suddenly it's a different situation when you're the one who's caught in the middle.

RU486 is not evil. It's not going to make women go get abortions. Women were getting abortions long before it was ever legalized - at least now they're not dying from it. RU486 is simply a response to a symptom, not the cause of it.

So even if birth control were easily accessible and affordable to women of all ages; even if all horrible birth defects had been erased from the gene pool so that every child could be born reasonably healthy and assured of some decent quality of life; even if there were never any rape or incest, or if men were always held accountable for *their* role in the creation of a baby instead of the woman being left to handle the burden; even then, I would still just as strongly believe in the right of choice.

Because the ultimate goal is for every child to be wanted, regardless of how he or she was conceived.

The choice is as simple as that.