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Austin Cline

Abortion is Autonomy

By June 29, 2005

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Even many supporters of abortion rights denigrate the women who choose to have abortions. They may not realize it, but when they describe abortion as "horrible," they also insinuate by implication that women who get abortions are horrible (not to mention those who perform abortions). If a person supports abortion rights, it must be because abortion is necessary for a person's autonomy and that, therefore, it is a good choice.

Stormcoming writes:

I am a woman 'of childbearing age'. Essentially, what that means, for those of you who do not happen to own a cunt of their very own, is that unless- and sometimes even if, women like myself take drastic measures EVERY single time we have sex there's a pretty high likelihood of becoming pregnant at least once at some point during those fertile years. Without effort, and sometimes even with efforts to prevent pregnancy we women find ourselves pregnant, often against our consent. We become hostages in our own bodies, to a process we for the most part, are unable to end all by ourselves should we want to.

Many people make the mistake of thinking only very few (or perhaps very bad/stupid/fallen) women have abortions. That's where they'd be wrong. One of the little known realities is that abortion, in America, is all around you. The Kaiser Family Foundation came up with one approximation: "It is estimated that 43 percent of women in the U.S. will have an abortion by age 45 and that more than 30 million have had an abortion since the procedure was legalized in 1973 (based on 1992 rates.)" (Fact Sheet: Abortion in the U.S., October 2002)

That's an estimate that 43% of American women will have an abortion by age 45. Abortion, far from being rare or some isolated event, is a very real and NORMAL part of a large portion of American women's health care.

Once we recognize that abortion is a normal and common aspect of women's healthcare, our approach to it should change:

[T]o label abortion "horrible" is to also label those who provide, assist with, or seek, participate in, or experience abortion as "horrible". PEOPLE are those targeted within, but hidden by the language of 'this form of medical care is horrible'. As people who are part of that form of medical care are inseparable from and essential parts of that action.

Rather than adding to the stigmatization and isolation of those who relate to abortion, instead realize WHO you're talking about.

These same women and people are all around you every day, yet relegated to invisibility. To support women who have had abortions is to support perhaps your mother, your sister, your friend, or your wife, and yes, to support women who read daily Kos. Do not assume they'd have told you, not in this climate, where they are being labeled 'horrible' by proxy. Where to have had an abortion is to be equated to a murderess.

How many people know women who have had an abortion but who don't talk about it because of the stigma attached to the procedure? How many ostensible supporters of abortion rights contribute to that stigmatization, even unwittingly, and thereby keep women they know at a distance?

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Comments
Journee Nichole Hauser.(1)

I am doing a report over abortions in my Speech class. I personaly think that all abortions are wrong, unless it is a serious condition. Like you could die or the baby would die anyways or something like that. I think what you said is some what true, but i dunno i HATE abortions and people who get them should be called killers and have the right to be put in jail like the rest of killers.

March 26, 2009 at 3:06 pm
The Unrepentant Iconoclast(2)

Your comments are ignorant (pun intended). What if a pregnant mother who purposefully puts herself on crack so that she will miscarry (i.e. she inflicts [spontaneous] abortion upon herself?) I take the liberty to quote BethH from rhrealitycheck:

“Seriously, I always have to worry that if these nutjobs actually get abortion illegalized, and contraception soon following, how long it will be until women – ALL FEMALES BETWEEN AGES 7 AND 87 – are required to get some sort of official pregnancy test EACH MONTH. If one is positive, and the one the next month is negative, the woman is presumed to have had an abortion unless she can show a live baby to whom she gave birth. Claims that the previous month’s test was a false positive would be up to the woman to prove – and one cannot prove a negative, especially since confirmation tests would likely be unacceptable. Stillbirths would probably be investigated as murders, and the mother along with possible accomplaces including fathers, midwives, grandmothers, and other children – and people charged if there were even a remote possibility that the life could have been saved with any extant technology – even if it was unavailable to them. We’re already seeing child abuse cases filed on behalf of foetuses whose mothers are engaging in “risky” hobbies or behavior, not eating right, taking dangerous drugs or medications or on and on. Where does it end? Is a woman’s uterus public property?”

A Hell on Earth!

December 26, 2010 at 2:06 pm
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