Saturday, April 10, 2004

the dangers of cold medicine

battling a cold (die, germs, die!) i'm sitting in my apartment on a dishwater afternoon, drinking tea and thinking about abortion.

maybe it's because of an editorial in the Times a couple of days ago that told the story of Portugal and its prosecution of a group of women, their family members and their doctors/nurses for getting/abetting an abortion (they even prosecuted the taxi driver.)

maybe it's because i just went to an anti-abortion site that said i can't 'have it both ways' and it made me angry. (and it didn't help they used abolitionist rhetoric as a parallel argument.)

in portugal, the prosecution lost their cases (except for the nurse whose 8-year sentence was commuted) and the trials so disgusted the public, opinion swayed against the law that has made abortions criminal. one woman interviewed said that when attention moved from the fetus to the women, the issue changed and the public became embarrassed and disgusted with itself.

the fight over abortion is so old hat the arguments are like a game of tennis: the egg at the moment of conception has a soul worthy of protection; the fertilized egg is a microscopic collection of cells; all life, born and unborn needs protection; all life, until it's expelled from my body, belongs to me and i can do with it what i want; this is against all moral law; this is my choice and leave my morality to me to deal with.

if it's about religion, not everyone shares the same religious standard; if it's about metaphysical arguments about what constitutes life, that differs, too, and can't ultimately be proven. viability, however, can be proven, and i'm comfortable with that standard.

chances are that i will never have a child-not that i was really looking forward to the event. i'm creeping up on 35 and i've toyed with the idea of permanent birth control, this medical procedure . it seems rather extreme to permanently destroy one's ability to have children, but one extreme deserves another, almost.

for i can almost forsee a nightmarish margaret atwood-like chain of events: eventually, abortion procedures are narrowed and limited so much they eventually topple and abortion becomes illegal; once abortion becomes illegal, the fight over birth control begins - who has access, how it can be practised, what types of birth control are appropriate and which are not; then, once a woman's ability to control her own cycle and fertility is taken away and given back to men, what then?

i sound like a paranoid feminazi freak but i think it's a valid question. let's give the right to lifers benefit of their vision: you eventually outlaw all abortion and put doctors and women in jail - what then? will you make birth control accessible to everyone in an effort to prevent the need for abortion? will creative methods of family planning, like essure, be included as part of a person's health insurance benefit? will health policy adopt ways of educating, and enabling, the public toward better family planning? will adolescents be taught proper sexual health so that one will never be in the position of needing an abortion?

or, more likely, will all control of a woman's body be channeled into one tiny little pre-approved patriarchal funnel? (yeah, i said patriarchy, so what?)

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