Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why I'm no longer 'Pro-Life'

I hadn't been confronted with my former 'pro-life' views until my younger sister asked me to attend a clinic with her. I had no idea what this clinic was or why she needed to go, but she traveled 2 hours to come to Atlanta to have something done. I picked her up at the airport, she gave me the directions and we stopped at an abortion clinic in a mid-upper scale portion of Atlanta. While she was confirming her appointment I had plenty of thoughts about the matter such as "what about the baby, she's killing another person, why didn't she tell me sooner" and much more. I can now say my questions were misplaced and wrong. For starters, it's not a baby no matter how much the fetus lobby says it's one. Next, the person, the actual person where my focus should have been was my sister and supporting her decision. She did not ask me for my personal opinion, which at the time was one out of complete ignorance but she asked the only person she could and had the means to help her end her unwanted pregnancy. 

The fact I didn't even notice she had to travel 2 hours(4 total if you include her trip back home) just to come here and had to stay overnight means I did not recognize how many hurdles she had to go through just to feel liberated. She had to take time from work, spend money and have instruments jammed up her uterus. That's not something which comes 'easy'. Furthermore after she had her private medical procedure done, she was happy but I did not like her attitude. Given my questions which were based solely on ignorance and emotion, I could not see how she could be happy in any way. I believed that life is 'precious' in a religious sense and that she is obligated to carry the pregnancy to term or don't become pregnant. Who am I to think or say such a thing to another person? She was happy and she has every right to celebrate. I attempted to shame her and that's something I can ever take back. I'm her brother and I had no right whatsoever to impose my views onto her body and make her question why she made a medical decision with her body. For that, Melissa, I am sorry. In your time of need, I failed you in one of the worst ways but within my failure and upon further reflection, I was moved to challenge my previous position. 

Weeks later I began to delve into my views. I found many websites which can grab you with emotional ploys(see the hateful for an example. I came across material which treated my sister's private medical procedure as grounds to use her body and the bodies of all women as a moral playground. I dealt with the Sanger myths, the Planned Parenthood nonsense which states most of them are in 'urban'/black areas, the abortion/slavery comparisons(which is nothing but race baiting) and the constant 'personhood' trap arguments. None of those tactics help increase access to a medical need for all women. None of them help reduce the costs of birth control, increase the number of abortion clinics or their cost nor do any of those ploys remove burdening hurdles many states require before a woman can get the procedure. The lying and shaming of which I was a part, must end. The 'abortion is murder' line is a complete lie. The entire zygote, blastocyst, embryo, fetus lobby truly believes potential persons deserve more rights and entitlements than actual women. Their position is an assault on individual liberty and women's health. The 'pro-life' position is not about protecting life but it is about control. Women making decisions with their bodies is problematic. The value of the woman is within her uterus and she cannot be trusted to make substantive decisions regarding it. I thought that way, but I will not remain silent any more. 

I have come to the position that any woman ought to be allowed to abort the pregnancy for any reason. I do not waiver on that whatsoever. She ought to be allowed to do it without shame and scrutiny. Women are autonomous individuals and they should be treated as such. I as a man, someone who will never be pregnant, have absolutely no right to tell her what to do with her body. What all women need are affordable, safe, and accessible options for health care. Shame need not be attached to her decisions. Love women and support them. Fight for their rights. Do not remain silent and do everything you can to increase health care choices for all women. 

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