Friday, September 10, 2004

Yikes! Am I a hypocrite???

I don't want another kid. But what if I became accidentally pregnant? How does this mesh with my "pro-abortion restriction" philosophy? Would that possibly change how I feel & think about abortion? I don't think so. First of all, I'm taking fairly stringent precautions right now to prevent pregnancy. But I recognize that pregnancy is one of the risks of sexual intercourse. If for some reason, the precautions I'm taking don't work, I am fully prepared to take on the responsibility for the child that results. (And I'd expect my spouse to fully accept responsibility in the same manner.)

In my personal situation, that would probably involve keeping (and fully loving & accepting) the child. If I truly didn't think I could handle that possibility, I would plan to put the child up for adoption. If I thought I simply couldn't handle a pregnancy at all, I would either a) refrain from sex, b) get sterilized, or c) only have sex with men who are sterilized (i.e. ask my husband to get a vasectomy). All the while pushing even harder for development of temporary birth control that's as reliable as sterilization. Unfortunately, with our current technology, penile/vaginal sex carries the risk of bringing a new life into the world. The life in question is not, IMHO, the mother's personal property. There may be reasons to end the life, but they need justification.

When I was young, before I decided to engage in sexual intercourse, I very carefully considered how I would handle the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy. Knowing the risk, I decided that adoption was the way I'd go. In college, I had a pregnancy scare. It really made me understand what it might feel like to have an unwanted pregnancy. The experience is a major source of the sympathy I feel for women facing this. At the time, as I pondered the possibility, I felt a *tremendous* pull to have an abortion, as much as I had already decided against it. I feared facing the world as an "inappropriately" pregnant woman, and abortion seemed like the magical solution to all of that.

In the end, that experience girded me even more strongly against a powerful cultural force: abortion as a solution to the messy fact of women's reproductive capacity, without having to change any fundamental social structures. This trend seems to be worsening as more and more Republicans are becoming pro-choice: "Hey, you're pregnant but you can't afford it? Well, we're certainly not going to help pay, or provide any social support. But we're very happy to grant you the right to kill the kid! And now we can completely wash our hands of the matter! What? You don't want an abortion? What's your hangup?"

Anyway, I realize that an unplanned pregnacy would be easier to handle now than when I was in college. Certainly it would be smiled upon more. It wouldn't be my choice, but it would be like anything in life that can't be controlled. Say I wanted a child, but it turned out to be a disabled child. Not my choice, but I would do everything in my power not to resent him or her for that fact.


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