Friday, February 3, 2012

Opinion: None of my Business

I hate the label "pro-life."

It doesn't make sense to me.

Because of the recent uproar involving the Susan G. Komen decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood, I have seen a lot of banter back and forth between "pro-life" and "pro-choice" advocates on social media networks. Before I get into that, however, let us look real quick at the what happened this week regarding Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood has received a lot of flak, over the past few years especially, because a few of their locations provide support and assistance for women seeking abortion. Let's make something clear, first: Planned Parenthood is an organization that has done wonders for improving the quality of life for poor Americans. Over five million Americans walk through their doors for treatment every year. Of the five million, 26% (roughly 1.3 million) of those are under the age of 19. Nearly 75% (3.75 million) of those who seek treatment with Planned Parenthood have incomes at or below 150% of the poverty level. To speak more plainly, 75% of of those helped by planned parenthood make at or less than $30,000 a year.

But what about those abortions? Well, turns out Planned Parenthood does a lot more than just abortions. Services provided at locations include contraceptives (birth control); emergency contraception; screening for breast, cervical and testicular cancers; pregnancy testing and pregnancy options counseling; testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases; comprehensive sexuality education, menopausetreatments; vasectomies, tubal ligations, and, of course, abortion.

So how many abortions do they actually perform? As demonized as this organization is, you would think it ranks in the millions. Actually, here's a numbers breakdown from 2009:
4,009,549 contraceptive services (35% of total)
3,955,926 sexually transmitted disease services (35% of total)
1,830,811 cancer related services (16% of total)
1,178,369 pregnancy/prenatal/midlife services (10% of total)
332,278 abortion services (3% of total)
76,977 other services (1% of total)
In all, 11,383,900 services
They also annually conduct 1 million screenings for cervical cancer and 830,000 breast exams.

The realm of services provided by Planned Parenthood is astounding, and the fact that Susan G. Komen foundation pulled their funding is ridiculous. All it does is hurt those that need the help, and cannot afford it. Regardless of the abortions provided by Planned Parenthood or not, it was a stupid political stunt.

All this talk, and I have yet to really make my point. There is this label that opponents of abortion have attached to themselves, and it is far from accurate. Because here is the thing: look at those who are vocally "Pro-Life." They are the moral right-wing Conservative, which is laughable. Here is the problem I have with those who wear the label "Pro-Life:"

What about your stance on universal health care?  If you really want to convince me you are Pro-Life, what happens to the millions of Americans without health care? If you value the sanctity of life so highly, how dare you stand against governmental programs that increase the quality of life for millions?
What about the death penalty? You throw a fit about the killing of unborn children, but still push for the execution of others? What gives you the right to pick and choose?

I hear all these arguments, when all it really comes down to is the fact that it isn't your choice. It isn't your body. This isn't your life. Who are you to say that a pregnancy as a product of rape is out of the realm of the victim's freedom? What about those too poor to bring a child into this world? What then? Once that child is born, that life that you fought so hard for is not subject to poverty and dejection, starvation and neglect. Sure, adoption is at times an option, but in reality, it doesn't always work that way. Increasing the amount of children waiting to be adopted by others because you take away the right of abortion doesn't solve any problems either.

Here's my stance, pure and simple:
I don't like abortion. I don't like that we have to resort to it as an option. It pains me to think of it. However, it's not my business. What these women choose has nothing to do with my morals or my preferences. They have the legal right to make this decision, and I will never question that. I will never treat one who has had one, or is considering one, different than any other person. It's a hell of a decision. Painful. And I'll be damned if I ever judge someone because they had to make it. It's none of my business, and frankly, it's none of yours. All of this legislation requiring the pregnant woman to see the ultrasound and hear the heart is probably the most hideous thing I have ever seen. It's torture, and nothing less. How dare we do that to someone?

Someone asked me today: "What if you had been an abortion?" My answer was simple: I wasn't. I'm not going to play a game of what-if's with this. I wasn't, and that's that. If I had been, I wouldn't be here, so why does that matter?

Then they asked me: "What about your son? Would you abort him?" My answer? What about him? Why would I do that? I love him dearly. How dare you question mine and my wife's decisions regarding him? It wasn't a factor, because he was planned? Could I say I wouldn't make a similar decision if it was an unplanned pregnancy? Probably not. I'm not in that situation, and again. It's none of your business. Why are we playing with rhetorical questions when the heart of the matter lies in the fact that it's nobody's business but the woman's.

Like I said earlier: I don't like abortion, but I'm not going to question a woman's right to decide that. I'm Pro-Choice, which has the hideous "baby-killer" sentiment attached to it, but that's not what it means. It means I don't think I should have a say in what a woman does with her body. It means you should get your nose out of their business. I'm Pro-Choice, but I'm also Pro-Its-None-of-my-Damn-Business.

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  1. I *love* this entry. LOVE it.

    And for the record, as about as staunch of a pro-choice advocate as I am, I can say fairly that I don't know a *single* person -- on either side of the debate -- who "likes" abortion. Nobody I know likes it. That is what people who are anti-choice (I likewise hate the term "pro-life" for many of the reasons you state here) fail to recognize their hypocrisy. The fail to understand that our aims are so similar as to be amusing if the game weren't so deadly serious. We are *all* working to end, or at least minimize the need for, abortions. They go for intimidation and bullying (and cry foul when they're called on it). We aim for improved education, and access to contraception. *nodding*

  2. Exactly the point I was trying to make.

    Because when it comes down to it, I can pretty much guarantee that the women - who are put in the situation where they have to make a choice - would rather they didn't have to make the choice at all. And that's what it comes down to. It's not that anyone *likes* abortion, it's that we don't have the right to make up someone's mind for them.

    Let's work on minimizing the circumstances that puts women in these situations: rape, poverty, drug use, lack of OTC contraceptives, and the problem takes care of itself.