Rose Richard:Facing a wolf in politician’s clothing

My name is Rose, and I have a vagina. My vagina did not come with the 1977 model Vagina Owner’s Guide. I bet if you have a vagina, you probably didn’t get the instructional manual either.

Vaginas and the attendant reproductive organs require a lot of work and care. You can’t just ignore your ovaries. Every year, you should get your reproductive organs examined, and you should take every step to avoid sexually transmitted diseases. And, if you don’t want to have a baby, you should find effective means of birth control. But there are things that will work against you.

Perhaps the condom had a hole, you forgot to take your pill, you were a victim of statistics or you just didn’t take any precautions in the first place.

What do you do now? Fortunately, you have a choice. Now, none of these choices are easy. Each is fraught with pros and cons. You can choose to have the baby and raise it yourself. You can choose to have the baby and give it up for adoption. You can have an abortion.

For some women, abortion is appalling and is simply not an option. They choose to have the child or give it up for adoption, and that is okay. They have that choice. Others, who for whatever reason don’t want to carry the baby to full term, can receive an abortion.

Of course, the abortion topic gets beaten to death on a fairly regular basis, and for good reason. The religious right sees abortion as murder. Women see anti-abortion laws as an assault on their ability to govern their own bodies. Recently, there has been a lot of legislation regarding so-called “partial birth” abortions. Partial birth abortion is not a medical term. The procedure, for women who choose to terminate their pregnancy after six months, is usually referred to as a late-term abortion.

To me, this kind of legislation, if successful, would open the door to all kinds of other anti-choice laws. So it doesn’t matter what name they give the procedure, what the health-care claims the anti-choice activists make, it’s still a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Let us in and we’ll eat everything in the house.

You see, politicians can say anything they want and back it up with spurious information. They can bring the name of God in or say they are actually protecting women. How is taking away my choice to not have a child (if I ever had to choose abortion) something I need to be protected against?

What if by not having the child, I’m protecting myself, or it, from future abuse, poverty or neglect? If I got pregnant tomorrow and didn’t figure it out due to irregular periods or whatever reason, I would still want the same choice I had the first three months when I found out at six months into the pregnancy. You see, I have two part-time jobs, no partner, bad credit, no car, and I probably wouldn’t get help from my family. Yes, they oppose abortion, but having a child out of wedlock is just as sinful. You can’t win.

The other thing that makes me mad about these kinds of laws is that they take no steps to prevent pregnancy, which exposes what lies at the heart of such legislation. Those who make these rules aren’t interested in women’s reproductive health issues but with taking away a woman’s decision-making capabilities. I am not a child. If I had to choose to terminate pregnancy, I wouldn’t go skipping into the abortion clinic. It’s not an easy choice. What woman would deliberately put herself in that position if she didn’t want to?

Instead of narrowly focusing on what women do after they find out they are pregnant and they don’t want to have the baby, we should focus on more ways to make birth control affordable and available. There should be far more comprehensive sex education (which is also nixed by the religiously-influenced rightists, claiming it will encourage more fornication) and a willingness to accept the reality that humans are going to exercise their biological imperative to reproduce.

Instead of ignoring the cause of the “problem,” these “concerned” politicians should instead look at healthy, realistic ways to help women avoid putting themselves in situations where they have to make such a difficult, heartrending choice, no matter what it is.