Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The way it was

I'm pro-life, okay? I mean really pro-life. I believe that the decisions we make as a society need to support life. That means I'm in favor of universal health insurance, it means I'm in favor of social programs that make it possible for poor women to carry pregnancies to term, it means I'm in favor of sex education and easily available (and cheap) birth control. What I'm not in favor of is the criminalization of abortion.

And so I really want you to go over to Mother Jones and read an incredibly riveting article entitled, "The way it was". Read it all the way through so that you will know what it was like in the "good old days" that the Republicans want to bring back.

Here's an excerpt:

After a date rape (by a "poet") during a trip to Paris in 1967 when she was 23, she found herself pregnant. She tried the usual "remedies" -- scalding hot baths, violent jumping, having someone walk on her belly. When she got home to Minnesota, she was two months along. A doctor friend there said he couldn't help her himself, but sent her to a local prostitute who did abortions.

The prostitute had her own speculum. The procedure was done on the prostitute's bed: The catheter was inserted through the cervix and left there. After four days of high fever, chills, bleeding, and passing big chunks of tissue, she landed in the hospital. They said her uterus was perforated, that she had acute peritonitis and an "incomplete" abortion. She was given a huge dose of penicillin and treated as if she were some sort of contemptible lower life form. The emergency-room doctor snarled, "What have you done to yourself?" Later, she realized that the first doctor -- her friend -- had known all along that she'd probably get desperately ill. Only then could a hospital legally give her a D&C.

She recovered -- sterile, violently allergic to penicillin, and so "paralyzed and ashamed" by the experience that she stayed away from men for four years. Who says deterrence doesn't work?

Then there's the famous 1964 police photograph of a woman's corpse on a motel-room floor in Connecticut. She's kneeling naked, face down as if to Mecca, legs bent to her chest, bloody towels bunched under her. The case had made local headlines, but the picture wasn't seen by the general public until Ms. Magazine ran it in a 1973 article lauding the ruling of Roe v. Wade. Details emerged about the woman's life and death: She was 27, married with two young daughters, but estranged from her violent husband. Her lover had performed the abortion, using borrowed instruments and a textbook. When she started hemorrhaging, he panicked, fled the motel, and left her there.

Is that what we want? Because that is what we will get. Abortions will not stop when we criminalize them. They will just go underground and women will be maimed and will die.

The religious right-wingers do not really want to prevent abortions. If they did, they would be in favor of what works: social programs that make abortions unnecessary. No, what they want is to control and punish women.

And you want to know what really makes me sick? Single women were the biggest demographic who DID NOT VOTE in the last election. And now many of them will die.

I'm just glad my child-bearing years are behind me.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:51 PM

    The incredibly horrifying thing is that it appears if they succeed in criminalizing abortion, the extreme right seems to be gearing up to then go after some forms of birth control. This would mean that even more women will be seeking what will then be illegal abortions. Margaret Sanger is spinning in her grave
    Carolyn L.


New policy: Anonymous posts must be signed or they will be deleted. Pick a name, any name (it could be Paperclip or Doorknob), but identify yourself in some way. Thank you.