Something that’s been bugging me in the increased abortion talk after George Tiller’s assassination is the derail into talking about sex ed and contraceptive availability.
Sex ed and contraceptive availability and looking after babies are extremely important things. They’re vital. And they will also do nothing to reduce the rate of late-term abortion. (They won’t make earlier abortions go away either, but that’s another post.) Telling opponents of late-term abortion that if they didn’t want late-term abortions to happen, they should have supported sex ed is a complete furphy. Telling them that if they don’t want late-term abortions to happen, they should improve health insurance and new-mother support systems is bullshit. It’s just not true. And it obfuscates the real issue.
Late-term abortions don’t typically happen because someone was refused or didn’t know about the morning after pill. Late term abortions don’t happen because someone didn’t know how to put on a condom properly. Late term abortions don’t happen because someone didn’t know that their birth control pill wouldn’t work properly while they had gastroenteritis. Late-term abortions don’t happen because people can’t afford to raise a baby.
They happen because pregnant people are deathly, immediately ill. They happen because they have uncontrollable fulminating pre-eclampsia, mirror syndrome, cancer, or a variety of other life-threatening illnesses. They happen because fetuses have unsurvivable chromosomal atypicalities or anencephaly or hydrops fetalis. They happen after catastrophic issues arrive in much-wanted pregnancies, and they happen in the context of overwhelming grief. And they happen because men rape eleven-year-olds.
As women we don’t and can’t get much choice in a whole lot of things that go on with our bodies.
Late-term abortions should be safe, legal, and ACCESSIBLE.
You want them to be rarer? You might make tiny inroads by not raping young girls anymore. And by offering universal health insurance, to pick up the few cancers that might be amenable to early detection and treatable by less invasive means if picked up early. Otherwise? There’s not much else you can do but let women, their doctors and nurses, and their families somehow pick up the pieces in peace.
Sex ed won’t make this go away. Contraception won’t make this go away. Looking after babies won’t make this go away. And making people travel halfway across a country away from support networks and stay in hotels while life-threateningly ill, and then have to run the gamut of harassers and gun-wielders? This. is. not. OK.
The only way this will ever get fixed is for misogynistic fetus-fetishist forced-birthers and the people who whip up their sentiment to get a fucking clue, or pull their heads (and guns, and websites, and TV shows, and politicians, and hate speech) in. But they don’t want to know the truth. They want to lie, they want to believe lies, and they want you to believe lies.
Note: This is not a debate thread. I may close comments on it when I’m going to be away from keyboard. If so, come back later and try again.