Notes on Abortion

Some truly horrendous news have made the rounds this week. First, a couple from Minneapolis in the U.S. of Anything-is-possible has decided to create an online poll on whether or not they should have a baby. I would have voted please, don’t but unfortunately the woman is already pregnant. The poll on birthornot.com is supposed to decide whether or not the Arnolds should deliver their baby or have it aborted.

The blog has already been debunked as a right-wing anti-choice trolling stunt but the evidence for that lies in the entire concept of the blog itself. As Amanda over at Feministe has pointed out:

At first blush, I gave it 9-to-1 odds that it’s an anti-choice stunt, just on the fact that the couple running it have the pro-choice view completely backwards. Putting what you do with your body up to a vote is the anti-choice view. Treating women’s bodies like they’re public property is the anti-choice view.

Cindy Sherman: "Still", 1978

Needless to say, the whole idea is absolutely disgusting. Obviously, the future parents (Oh God) are not really considering an abortion but instead are trying to create outrage against the pro-choice movement. Except, of course, the pro-choice movement would never encourage people to leave it to random users on the internet to make this crucial and life-changing decision. Pro-choice doesn’t mean pro-abortion. It means respecting the autonomy of the woman’s body and ensuring her safety and well-being when she executes her right to this autonomy. Therefore it is necessary that the legal framework allows for safe and professional abortion clinics. Countries that do not provide this legal framework will have to be held responsible for disturbing news such as this: In Thailand, 2000 illegally aborted fetuses were found in the mortuary of a Buddhist temple.

Abortions are illegal in Thailand except when the mother’s life is in danger or she has been the victim of rape or incest. The New York Times writes:

Thailand is a Buddhist country, and many people are generally conservative on sexual matters. Though there is a thriving sex industry here and birth control is widely available, advocates for safe sex say many young people are ill informed on the subject.

[...]

The woman under arrest [for providing the illegal abortions, my insert], Lanchakorn Janthamanas, 33, was quoted in newspapers as saying that she learned to perform abortions by watching the doctor and the nurse with whom she used to work. Most of her customers were students and teenagers, she said. (Seth Mydans, NYT, 2010)

Illegal or not, abortions will happen, the question is only whether or not it will be at the expense of women’s lives and human decency. Abortions cannot be prevented but pregnancies can. The Dutch for example have a very relaxed approach to teenage sexuality; easy access to birth control and sexual health education is readily provided. As a matter of fact, the Netherlands have very liberal laws on abortion. Coincidentally, it is also one of the countries with the lowest youth pregnancy, abortion and STD rates.

Unfortunately, there has yet to be developed a contraceptive for utter stupidity. My only hope is that the future child of the Arnolds will grow up unaware of the fact that its parents deprived it of its dignity by using it as a political tool.

Wangechi Mutu: "Untitled"

UPDATE: The Pope Benedikt XVI. has, for the first time ever, approved of the use of condoms ”in well-founded singular cases“; a huge step towards decreasing the rates of abortions and, of course, AIDS.

UPDATE: Apparently, I was a bit too hasty with my last statement. The Pope implies, that he approves of condom use only to prevent infection, not pregnancies. While I am glad that he cares so much about male prostitutes, it is disheartening to see that women are once again reduced to mere vessels for potential new life.

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