Rae’s Rules to Remember #71: Reproductive Rights

Firstly, I’m making it known now that I am open to discussion on this topic. I know that some people are not going to agree with me. That’s fine. I don’t expect everyone to. However, if you’re just looking to start an argument then don’t bother commenting.


I am pro-choice.

I’ve said this many times and I will say it over and over: Just because I’m pro-choice does not mean that I hate people who are pro-life. I understand their reasons, accept them, and respect them.

In my experience though. It is very rare that I’ve been able to talk to someone who is pro-life and extends that same courtesy. Obviously, that doesn’t apply to everyone who is pro-life and clearly I just haven’t come across the right person to discuss it with. I’m hoping that will change.

When it comes to birth control (pills especially), some people think that it’s only used because someone (typically a woman) has started having sex. I’ve even heard people say that women who take birth control only do so because they’re sluts. First of all, this is slut shaming. Second, it’s not true.

I starting taking birth control when I was twenty years old. Right around the time that I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease. I was not sexually active. I started taking it because I needed it. One of the symptom’s of this disease was that it prolonged my period. On top of that it’s was incredibly irregular and I had horrible cramps to the point that I had to be kept home from school because I couldn’t move. I was in an excruciating amount of pain. And I was vomiting every time my cycle started. With the pills, I can keep track of it. I know exactly when I will start and stop. The cramps aren’t as bad. I’ve stopped throwing up.

There’s also a misconception that all of the pills, patches, etc are the same. Also false. Different types of birth control affect different people….differently. Just like with any other medication. My cousin who has fibromyalgia tried various types of birth control but has stopped taking them because they all made her sick. My best friend has a heart condition and has to take a very specific kind so that it doesn’t affect her heart.

Different types of birth control also cost different amounts. I don’t have to pay for mine because my insurance plan covers it. A coworker of mine pays $9 without insurance and therefore believes that it’s accessible to everyone. It’s not. Not everyone without insurance has access to it. Not everyone (even with insurance) can afford it. There are a lot of factors that go into it. It’s not like you just walk into a drug store and can buy it right then and there. That’s just not how it works.

Condoms on the other hand are available at any drugstore for anyone to buy. Some places even give them out for free. There’s a huge difference between the way that these two things are viewed and to me it really doesn’t make a lot of sense.

As for abortion, like I said I am pro-choice. Meaning that I think women should be able to choose not to have a baby if they are not ready to. I don’t think it’s fair to be forced to have a baby just because someone else thinks you should.

Some people think that others just aren’t careful and decide, “I don’t want kids but I’m just going to have a lot of unprotected sex and then get an abortion.” I have a feeling that those thoughts don’t run through a lot of people’s minds. Not like that.

Then there’s the “well then you shouldn’t have had sex” argument. This needs to stop.

Firstly, it’s usually directed at women when we all know it takes two to make a baby.

Second, no birth control is 100% foolproof and I think that’s forgotten a lot of the time.

It is possible to be on the pill, use a condom, take the day after pill and still get pregnant. What’s the argument then if everything was done “the way it should be done?”

What about the person whose life is hectic and forgets to take their pill just that one time? Shit happens. Sometimes life gets in the way. No one is perfect.

What about rape victims?

What about people (like me) who are chronically ill and can’t carry full term anyway?

What about people who are disabled and/or physically incapable of enduring the stress that pregnancy puts on the body.

What about the people who are incredibly careful but also don’t want children?

What about the people who just know that they are not financially capable of giving a baby it’s best life.

Yes, adoption is an option but look at all of the things that I just listed. On top of that child birth is painful. It’s really not something that one should have to do if they don’t want to.

Did you know that you can’t even get your tubes tied without being harassed by doctors? Some women don’t want children, it shouldn’t have to be up for debate, it should be accepted. It’s also common after the first child that the woman decides she doesn’t want any more. Some doctors refuse to do it. They say that they should wait until the second child. Or they think that the patient will change their mind. If you’re single, they’ll ask well what your future husband wants children? They won’t let you make a choice about your own body because of someone who possibly hasn’t even come into your life yet. Or might not come into your life at all. I mean, really how fucked up is that? They completely ignore the fact that the choice is not theirs, but they clearly don’t think it should be yours either.

My cousin recently had a baby and then got her tubes tied. Her doctor said, “oh, I was sure that you would change your mind” her response was, “Why, I told you that I wouldn’t.” So the question is why? Why do men and doctors think that they should choose whether or not we have children. It’s not their decision. It’s not their body. A woman in the U.S. had to go to the Supreme Court just to get her tubes tied. That’s absolutely ridiculous. Things like that should not happen.

I am someone who does not one children. One reason is because I’m chronically ill. The other reason is because I just don’t want to. That should be a good enough reason. I should not have to explain any further than that. That should be the end of the discussion. People need to get over this idea that because I am a woman, I have to have a child. The fact is that I don’t and no has the right to tell me otherwise.

People are always so shocked when I say I don’t want children and then immediately try to persuade me.

“Oh you’ll change your mind.” No actually I won’t. I’ve been saying this since I was in the second grade. Not changing my mind now.

“What if your husband wants children?” Well first of all, it’s not guaranteed that I will get married. If I did, I wouldn’t marry someone who can’t respect my decision. More importantly, I shouldn’t have to change my mind about something concerning my body just because a man says or thinks I should. Not going to happen.

This brings me to the topic of things like Planned Parenthood. They don’t solely do abortions by the way. For anyone who doesn’t know that. They help people with their health – providing cancer screenings, STI testing and treatments, and abortions are only 3% of what they do. What exactly is the benefit of defunding something like that?

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Pretty interesting isn’t it?

Our bodies shouldn’t be in the hands of a man who thinks sexual assault is all in good fun.


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About Bookmark Chronicles

Hi! I'm Rae. 23. Avid Reader, Book Blogger. Intersectional Feminist. Gryffindor.
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46 Responses to Rae’s Rules to Remember #71: Reproductive Rights

  1. Sara says:

    I completely agree with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Quinn says:

    I have so many feelings about this topic. I live in Ireland and abortion is still illegal here. Even in cases of foetal abnormality where the baby will die as soon as it’s delivered into the world, it has to be carried to term. To me, that is unconscionable and cruel. It’s late here now so I’m going to sleep on this and come back to it in the morning, but good post. Very thought-provoking. Although I’m still not sure you’ll get through to any pro-lifers….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I can’t believe they would make you carry to full term, that’s awful Then again, we now have a VP who forced women to have funerals for their miscarriages… I agree that is a cruel thing to do. Probably one made by men…

      Like

  3. michelle says:

    Just to add to reasons why abortions happen: the procedure is called a D&C. I had to have one after a desired pregnancy because of a complication that made the fetus die by the 12th week. I tried to pass the pregnancy “naturally” because I didn’t want to deal with going to a clinic for the procedure, but I retained the fetus and nearly died bleeding out 2 months later. So I ended up at a place where D & Cs are performed for all kinds of reasons and I had to deal with protestors yelling horrible things at me, making assumptions, all while I was experiencing tremendous grief and a life-threatening situation. Then I discovered that there are few doctors who even know how to perform the procedure because it is no longer taught in American medical schools. So I could have died, for a dead pregnancy, due to people who have no comprehension of the various reasons women make the choices they make! UGH! And that’s why I believe this is a choice to be made between a woman and her doctor, and everyone else needs to butt out!

    Liked by 5 people

  4. thebookcorps says:

    Great post! So sorry to hear about your illness as well. I agree with you on every point – I too have tried to talk to people and have a rational conversation about these issues, but can’t get past the “How dare you think babies should die” argument they always seem to bring up. I love that you explained Planned Parenthood. It astounds me how many people think Planned Parenthood only caters to abortions. I’m not even American and I know what they do and how many thousands of women – and men – they help everyday.

    Thanks for writing this post in order to explain to people the deeper issues of abortions and the ramifications of Trump’s terrible ruling. Donald Trump is not going to stop abortions – women will still have them, as is their right. What he has done is removed the option of safe abortions for women – I don’t even want to think about the consequences of his actions, like how many women are going to get infected, get diseases, or maybe even lose their lives attempting to have an abortion now.

    Again, great post! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tiana says:

    This is a tough subject for me, because at one time I believed I was pro-life, then at another I believed I was pro-choice, and now I am somewhere in between. I do completely agree with you on the issues of tube-tying, making it so that you can prevent pregnancy for those who do not want to have a child. I also agree that a woman should not have to have a child if they were raped, or has any of the numerous health issues that could make it so that pregnancy could kill the mother. The hard part for me is a case where adoption is an option, where a mother could carry to full term without complications and still chooses to have an abortion. I don’t feel right about it because I feel like the second a life is created within the womb the baby lives and breathes and is a mini human, if you cannot provide for a child or don’t want to take care of the baby for whatever reason, I don’t think it is right to essentially kill it. Cause in that moment it isn’t a matter of just the mothers life but the child, and since the child has no ability to speak for itself it saddens me for its voice to never be heard. I’m not fully for or against abortion, I fall somewhere in the middle, where I understand yet can’t quite fully agree with either side.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I understand that fully. I see where you’re coming from. I did a post months ago where I actually looked up the amount of adoption agencies in the U.S. and it’s over 3,000. To me that seems like a lot and it makes me wonder how many of those children actually find homes and what happens to ones who don’t you know? I’ll have to look up the numbers to see if it really is a “better” option but adoption is also pretty expensive and takes a long time to complete the process too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tiana says:

        I guess I think of adoption more because I was adopted myself, and I don’t know if my birth mother ever thought of aborting me, but I am forever grateful that she did not. The circumstances of my adoption were also a bit strange for various reasons, but I don’t know what to think if I just never would have existed, been inspired to write, or had the ability to speak with you now. It’s hard to think differently when you know that your mother didn’t want you, and could have easily aborted you but didn’t. I’m grateful for my own chance at life.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I understand.
        Are you sure that the only reason was that your mother didn’t want you? (I’m not actually asking) but I mean that there could have been other circumstances you know?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tiana says:

        The thing is in my situation it is hard to know, all I know is that she was young and unable to raise me and I ended up in another home. I’ve seen pictures of my biological mom and my biological father, but that’s about it. By the way, I’m not bothered by the question, I’ve been comfortable who I am and my situation for a long time know, but sometimes you do think of the what-ifs. I won’t ever know the exacts of it all, but all I know is I am grateful to be here and I am happy with the family who have loved and raised me all my life. Plus, I think this sort of discussion is really important and I admire you for putting up this post. I definitely lean towards pro-choice a woman should be able to have an abortion if she absolutely has to. There are so many reasons for it. Like I mentioned, I just feel that in cases where it is possible to carry to full term and there are no health and/or emotional or estrenuos circumstances for adoption to be seriously considered. I do not think the law should have the say in a woman’s decision about her body, my thoughts are on parts of the morality based on various situations.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Tiana says:

        P.s. I’m sorry for such a conflicted perspective on things, but ultimately it truly isn’t for anyone decide what anyone else does with their bodies, so maybe I am pro-choice at the core after all. Btw, the one thing about this whole thing I dislike the most is the shamming. I may not be fully on board with something, but getting mad at someone for it is not ok.

        Liked by 3 people

      • No worries! Your perspective totally makes sense. Especially sense you were adopted. I know that my mother hadn’t planned to have children but she kept all three of us, so I guess it’s possible that I also could have been in the same situation.
        I understand what you mean in situations where the woman can carry to full term because there are no medical issues. Part of the reason that I don’t want children is just because pregnancy is scary. It’s crazy to think that you have a person living and growing inside of you. And I don’t do well with pain and EVERYONE talks about how painful childbirth is lol
        It is a tough decision though, there’s so many things to think about.
        I agree about shaming. I hate it so much. Especially if you don’t know someone’s situation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • myzania says:

        Oh yay Tiana, another “both-and” person! Sorry if that sounds a bit shallow, but it’s nice to find someone who’s also “stuck in the middle” about this issue. I’ve gone from being pro-life to being pro-choice but conflicted to realising that I’m stuck. I do think that women have a right to choose what to do about their own bodies, for birth control (including the tube-tying etc.) and other things. I think that abortions should remain safe BY being legal and medically practiced, because not everything is black and white. Just because I wouldn’t get one myself doesn’t mean that others should *have* to follow that. (And why others don’t understand that better, I don’t know.)
        That being said, I also believe that foetuses are developing persons. The “easiest” cases for me are when the mother’s health is at risk or they’ve been raped etc. But the “couldn’t cope with a baby bc of personal circumstances”….well, bc I’m not blind I realise that she would’ve thought about the decision of whether to terminate before doing so. I just get a bit iffy about this bc I do wonder at some things. Like the adoption option… There seem to be very few adoptions taking place nowadays? E.g. for my country Australia there’s data here: http://www.aihw.gov.au/adoptions/
        Also, I’m a bit uncomfortable about how hard pro-choicers can be a bit ableist without meaning to – the whole idea that if a foetus has a disability, it’s (more) acceptable to terminate, which I’ve come across. It’s a problem in the health system and society. Ableism equates disability with being a burden and such and under the medical model of health etc. they’re seen as imperfections. I have a disability. Apparently when it was discovered in utero it was presented as if I wouldn’t have a high quality of life and the advice was given by at least one doctor to terminate. But I do have a high quality of life. I even pass as normal, which can actually be a bit awkward at times. It’s a spectrum syndrome, so how could the doctors have known whether I’d be at one end or the other? Even if that hadn’t been the case, I’d still be a person.
        Thanks for opening the conversation Rae. More than anything I think this is an issue that needs to be talked about, beyond the “I’m pro-choice!” “I’m pro-life!” blanket statements. (As a progressive Catholic in Australia the recent US election pissed me off bc of one-issue voters. Then again, others were more nuanced – but not enough.) Being pro-life is so much more than being anti-abortion.
        I spoke about this on my blog last year when Carla was doing her “yes all women” month. Here: https://myzania15.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/intersectionality/
        And now I’ll stop bc I’ve said quite a lot….

        Liked by 1 person

      • You brought up a really good point about ableism. I personally think that choosing to terminate ONLY because you find out that the baby may have a disability is cruel. Especially if you wanted kids but that one thing makes you change your mind. That is a bit cruel in my opinion. Especially since I have a brother with autism, I couldn’t imagine my mom giving him up just for that reason. Especially since he’s super bright (you can ask him for a random date, doesn’t matter what year and he can tell what day of the week it was! Super cool)
        I totally understand being stuck in the middle, there are a lot of factors to consider on this subject. I think what makes me pro-choice at the end of the day is that I think a person should be able to decide on their own/with their spouse what to do. Not the government or the church. And if doctors were willing to tie women’s tubes, they wouldn’t have to get abortions too.

        Liked by 1 person

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  7. Quinn says:

    I understand those who think people should give up the baby for adoption. I’ve read over the previous comments. I think that it is a huge oversimplification though. My other half is a surgeon – and I’m sure that has impacted my thinking because I have witnessed the medical side of things that the average person maybe has never even heard of – but pregnancy is not always an easy nine months. So many things can happen that can’t be foreseen. Just because the foetus is healthy, doesn’t mean everything will be fine. Saying “Why would you not just carry to term and give the baby up for adoption?” sort of throws a prettifying filter on the fact that there are so many things that can go wrong. For me, that point of view is a belief that the unborn foetus’s potential life is equally important to the current life of the mother. That her life experiences and hopes and dreams should be put in a box and ignored in favour of taking the gamble and having this child.

    I’m not sure if you listen to the Strangers podcast, but I think the last episode, Wouldn’t It Be Nice, is worth a listen. It has nothing to do with abortion – the woman in the episode actually really wants her baby – but it is a stark reminder that even best laid plans can go to waste. Pregnancy takes a toll on the body. Both pregnancy and childbirth can literally kill you. Does it happen often? Thankfully not anymore, but it still happens. People get pregnant despite all that. They want children. They go through all manner of horrific complications and deliveries. Some have the easiest pregnancies of all time. Some have the hardest. They take the gamble that everything will be okay. They take this gamble to build a family.

    The pro-life belief forces people to take that gamble when they really don’t want to, or aren’t ready to, or aren’t in a position to do so. It minimises somebody’s established life – their friendships and relationships – until it is small enough to be of equal value to that of a life that hasn’t started yet. Will things probably turn out fine? Most likely, if they are in a developed country with decent public healthcare. But what if they’re not? It really rubs me the wrong way because although I understand where it is coming from, and why they believe it, for me it is an almost flippant dismissal of the full and active life of the woman who has to carry the child. It ignores her mental health, and how it must feel to walk around seven or nine months pregnant with strangers asking probing questions:

    “When are you due?”
    “Do you have a name yet?”
    “Is it a boy or a girl?”

    Daily reminders that you are carrying a child you will be giving up as soon as it’s delivered, or in the case of foetal abnormalities, daily reminders that your unborn baby has no life ahead of it. Nine months is a long time. People ask a lot of questions. None of it is as easy or uncomplicated as is pictured in pro-life/pro-choice debates.

    If you google Savita Halappanavar you’ll see that she was a 31 year old woman who died in Ireland about four years ago. She had a septic miscarriage, where the foetus was still technically alive but was going to definitely die. It was infecting her, and killing her. She asked for them to abort the foetus and save her life and they wouldn’t, because laws hadn’t been put in place to allow that to happen. The doctors’ hands were tied; they couldn’t remove the foetus until its heart had stopped beating, and they couldn’t force the heart to stop beating. Eventually she delivered a stillborn girl, but it was too late, and Savita died four days later. For what?

    Twenty years ago, a 15 year old schoolgirl went to a grotto behind the church (you know, those stony areas with the statues of Mary in an alcove) after school, and tried to deliver the baby she’d been secretly pregnant with. She was completely alone, with a pair of scissors in her backpack to cut the umbilical cord. She bled out and the baby died of hypothermia. For what?

    This is what you end up with when you have pro-life legislation. These situations are what happen when shame and blame and backwards laws (that completely hamstring doctors and make them unable to save their patient) are in effect. Sorry, this was less of a comment and more of a blog post all of its own, but there’s a huge push now in Ireland to try to repeal the 8th Amendment and it’s been a long time coming.

    It’s easy to say that these cases are the exception. Of course they’re the exception. But as the saying goes, “Today you, tomorrow me.” One day the exception could be one of your loved ones. Someone you know. People who wave their hand in dismissal and say “that almost never happens” are conveniently ignoring the fact that it still happens. It could happen to you. Or me. Or your sister. Or your neighbour. Or your best friend.

    The fact that Savita was an unlucky exception doesn’t make it any easier to bear for her husband, or her parents, or her friends. It doesn’t make it any better for Savita. These kinds of completely preventable deaths should never, ever happen in a first world country. Nobody should be using clothes hangers, or trying to overdose on vitamin c, or taking mystery pills they bought online, or dying in hospitals pleading for their lives to be saved, or delivering babies in grottos alone in their school uniforms. Nobody should be forced into a corner like that because of their gender, when there is a possible alternative. I could go on and on about this (and I have! Sorry!) but I’ll leave it there.

    I understand the basis of the pro-life belief. I just don’t agree.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very good points. And thank you for sharing all of that information, it much appreciated. This reminded me of when I was speaking with someone through my facebook page a few months ago and a woman was telling me that she ended up having to terminate her pregnancy because she had some sort of infection and if she tried to keep the baby she would die. She still got shamed for it. That’s what makes me wonder if pro-life is really “pro-life” What would have been the benefit of letting her die and leaving her previous child motherless and leaving her husband to raise the children alone? Sometimes it seems like it’s really not about the value of life at all

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ariel Lynn says:

    Such a great post!

    The whole tube tying section hit home. I told my doctor when I was around 18 that I wanted to have my tubes tied. She told me she wouldn’t even consider it until I was 40. Since then, I’ve had more miscarriages than I’d care to admit. My body is simply incapable of caring for me, let alone me +.

    To think all the pain, hormonal upheaval, & ruined clothing that would have been saved if only I were allowed to make my own adult decisions. It’s not like it’s an opinion I developed on a whim… but, no, women are too “flighty.” We only know what we want when we have a strong hand on the tiller in the form of our husbands (also pre-supposing we’ll all marry men/men capable of sperm production). [/sarcasm] 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I completely agree with you; I’m strongly pro-choice. It’s great to read something that discusses the lesser-known reasons for having that belief.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This piece is really thorough and necessary. I live in Ireland too, I am pro-choice and I feel really strongly about the abortion laws here. That photo of a group of men signing the global gag-rule sickens me. If anyone is interested in learning more about the abortion laws in Ireland I previously wrote a piece here,https://viragocarnival.com/2016/10/27/why-dont-we-all-just-go-on-strike-reproductive-rights-and-raises-in-iceland-and-ireland/ The laws are archaic and even the UN have deemed them a violation of human rights. This is another great post Rae, thank you 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. darthtimon says:

    Shared on the Coalition.

    Liked by 2 people

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  14. guilty-grace says:

    Very compelling arguments. And indeed good constructive arguments win debates but they don’t always reveal the Truth…much of which is also included in your article. As strange as it sounds (or perhaps not), I am pro-life and I am pro-choice. How come? Because I do not think they are complete opposites. If you are found in a situation of an unplanned pregnancy which turns out to be an unwanted pregnancy. You gotta make a choice, just make sure it is one you can live with…in the process of making that decision, that unborn life doesn’t have a choice. If your choice is based on selfish reasons, then perhaps you have to question yourself if those reasons are good enough…but if you are being selfish to begin with, you are probably not capabably of recognising your poor choice. If your pregnancy was planned/wanted but a medical problem arisies; my life or the baby’s life, not the boy I wanted, or down syndrome or …you name it. It still boils down to choice. I have learned that arguing yields no clarity and leads far from a place of agreeing on our thinking. Would love to hear back from you…
    I am new to blogging ( https://guiltygrace.wordpress.com/ ) and will soon be posting a story on abortion. At the moment my articles are all in poetry so hope it does not diminish the context…check out My Site. Thanks

    Like

    • You’re right it comes down to choice. The ability to make your own personal choice based on what’s best for you, not what someone else thinks or wants. A lot of “pro lifers” (in my experience) don’t actually care about life. And me being pro choice doesn’t mean I’m pro abortion but I’m not going to interfere in someone else’s life and try to tell them what to do with their own body

      Like

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