Thursday, January 05, 2006

Terribly terribly tired of the abortion debate

Imagine for a second that, sick and tired of pumping out babies for the last 15 years, you decide to do some delicate testicular alterations and you get a vasectomy (girls will have to exercise their imagination and picture themselves with balls for the sake of this argument). Now, imagine upon taking your prized possessions to the doctor, with all the sensitivity that such an act would present, being hassled at the clinic’s door by strangers - being called a slut, a murderer and a demon. It wouldn’t be very pleasant would it? You’d probably be inclined to think, ‘they’re my balls, and I’ll make decisions about them as I see fit.’ Imagine, further, that female politicians, religious leaders and other seedy talking-head characters came forth to make proclamations on what is best for men and their balls. They’d say “male vasectomies aren’t good for men. God hates men that get vasectomies. The high rate of vasectomies is the reason for the corrosion of the family.’ And, finally, they’d probably lobby government to make vasectomies illegal. If such a world were to exist what would my reaction, and I imagine the reaction of most men, be? Anger, I imagine. Burning anger mixed with flaming indignation. ‘How can a woman make a decision about my reproductive organs without possessing those same organs?’ would be the cry.

That is why I’m tired of this debate that isn’t really a debate. It isn’t a debate because a great deal of those involved aren’t in any position to be arguing it. Men, for example men like Tony Abbott, should not be making, shaping or commenting on policy surrounding abortion. They simply don’t have the qualifications, namely the possession of a uterus. That would eliminate 50% of the people that could participate in this debate that isn’t a debate. And, on the same point you may like to contradict me, you may like to say, ‘but, DQ, you’re a man, why are you weighing in on this debate that isn’t a debate?’ Which raises some serious soul-searching in this blogger and leads him to posit the following caveat - an argument in favor of choice is not an argument in favor of abortion. There is no such thing as a pro-abortion lobbyist. There is no group of evil, hairy-necked sub-humans simply getting pregnant in order to kill unborn babies. Abortion is a tough choice that must be made by an individual. It is an act that can be right or wrong for different people at different times and for different reasons. Simply supporting an individuals right to self determination is not a position on an individual’s actions (therefore not really weighing into the debate that isn‘t a debate), however telling women they are unfit to make that decision is a terrible judgement.

And, look, if you really still think you’re in the midst of a real debate, let’s examine the actions of the anti-choice crowd on the supposed side of good in all this . For years now the freaky Christian fundamentalists have been bombing abortion clinics and stalking the doctors and nurses that work in them. In 1994 alone there were 12 attempted murders (some, I’m not sure how many, were successful) of abortion industry workers. It seems a bizarre turn of logic to me that someone would kill in the name of ‘the right to life’. It would seem almost so hypocritical as to render the ‘debate’ a farce. But the stupidity doesn’t end there. Oftentimes - in fact, let’s face it, nearly invariably - the same people that support the right to life agenda are also the same people that support wars like the one in Iraq. It must take an act of mental chicanery and self deception so monumental to satisfy one’s self that those two things go hand in hand that I can only suspect mental imbalance plays a strong role in it all.

So, knowing as you know now how much this non-debate debate wearies me, it was with much eye rolling and lengthy sighing that, upon tuning into the 7.30 Report last night, I heard about the results of a New Zealand study that has revealed women who go through the abortive procedure are more likely to suffer from symptoms of depression such as anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse or even attempted suicide. My first thoughts on this research? If women who are seeking abortion are devil humping sluts why do anti-choicers care so much about their mental health? I know the study was carried out by a pro-choice scientist, but anti-choicers will now tout this as another reason for abortion to be banned. But they are being disingenuous - anybody with half a brain knows that abortion is not an easy thing and that it may cause mental trauma as a result. But just because something presents a tough choice doesn’t mean that one should have such a choice removed from their grasp. Also, statistics from the world of the post-childbirth mother aren’t exactly likely to send the manufacturers of Zoloft into panic over reduced sales:

"The incidence of depression in women postpartum is similar to depression in women generally. However, the incidence of depression in the first month after childbirth is three times the average monthly incidence in non-childbearing women. Studies across different cultures have shown consistent incidence of postnatal depression (10 to 15 percent), with higher rates in teenage mothers. A meta-analysis of studies, mainly based in developed countries, found the incidence of postnatal depression to be 12 to 13 percent.”

I’m also kind of thinking that if the results of this test are leapt on by anti-choicers (what am I talking about, they’ve already been leapt on), that they'll be forwarding a contradictory argument. If indeed those that seek abortions are mindless, conscienceless harlots why are they suffering sadness and pain as a result of their actions? It is possible in life to make a correct decision whilst feeling strong pain and regret - divorce, the end of a relationship, the decision to turn off a loved one’s life support machine - but it seems impossible to me to believe that a baby killing banshee would feel a sense of loss.

Now it’s 12.27 am and time as well as the abortion non-debate are making my eyes grow heavy. But as I drift off to sleep tonight, and just before I have nightmares of John Howard being appointed dictator for life, I’ll wish a silent wish to myself: If the 50% of people - those being men - that have no place in this debate opted out, and the other 50% - those being women - realized that a support of choice in general does not mean that they can’t opt to carry a pregnancy to term - ergo the term 'choice' - then we’d be reduced to a figure of 1%. 1% represents a unique figure; 1% represents an individual and, ultimately, when an individual is involved there really is no debate; there is simply soul-searching and choice.

[Hat tip to Suki for the postnatal statistics]


nuke said...

That's a scary paralel universe you created, even if it's probably not too far off. Not enough women feel anger though if they're confronted when going to see their doctor for a hysterctomy or an abortion. They're scared enough as it is with this huge decision they had to make, and to have someone in your face telling you you're evil and whatnot, makes you doubt yourself even more.

And your caveat of an argument in favour of choice isn't in favour of abotion is the rational way of thinking. Which is why too many people ignore it.

Don Quixote said...

It really isn't that far off. I mean it is a long way off for men, but for women it is pretty much a reality.

I can understand why it is an issue that provokes such strong emotions, but people need to realize that the only person they can make a decision for in life is themselves.

And, thanks Nuke. I'm glad I made at least some sense so late at night - I had feared that maybe what I wrote was a little confusing.

nuke said...

No, you made total sense. It's exactly how I think too. Too many people think that if they believe something is "wrong", then everyone else must believe it's wrong too, and for the same reasons. I could go on and on about this...I haven't had a good political discussion in quite some time :P
But yeah, if I can follow what you said, then you weren't confusing at all :P

Ladybug said...


JahTeh said...

This was so good I managed to link it to my blog. Nice to have met you last Friday.

Don Quixote said...

Thanks, Jahteh, and it was a pleasure meeting you as well.