I’m a Swing Voter: Pro-Choice Rhetoric is Sicking Me Out

This is the third in a series of posts about why I find myself, a historical Democrat, becoming conflicted about who I will vote for this year. I guess I’m a swing voter. I’m worried about footing the bill for Baby Boomer retirement, I’m still not over the fact that Hillary Clinton lost and then there’s the abortion and birth control issues.

Abortion, You’re Sicking Me Out

As much as I’ve tried to block out the birth control/abortion nonsense I’m reading from Democratic women who are up-in-arms, hysterical about this Republican ticket banning abortion and disallowing birth control, it has been impossible. And it’s highly disappointing to me.

Bill Clinton said, “Abortion should not only be safe and legal, it should be rare.”

I just don’t buy into a lot of the arguments justifying the current reality of abortion any more. I used to, but I find myself less and less enamored by the same old arguments and the increasingly simplified party line. I find myself sickened by the cavalier and callous way I’m hearing Democratic women discuss abortion.

Sentiments like these: If you don’t have a vagina then you should have no opinion about abortion. Really? Fathers and grandfathers of these children should have no opinion? Unless of course, you decide to have the baby and then Baby Daddy better step up and take responsibility? A society shouldn’t have an opinion about what happens to its offspring, future citizens?

I believe in women having autonomy over our own bodies. But I’m also grossed out by the fact that American women are committing genocide on their own children, many times because getting pregnant is an inconvenience that doesn’t fit into their five-year plan.

I’ve been hearing women say things that concern me. I recently had lunch with a young woman who said that though she’s sexually active, she doesn’t use birth control because it’s “not natural,” she doesn’t use condoms because it doesn’t “feel as good,” and if she faces a second abortion as a result of this then she’ll deal with it then. This is not the first woman I’ve heard this sentiment from, nor the second, nor the third.

Christiane Northrup M.D., says in her book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom that she quit performing abortions in her OB/GYN practice because increasingly women were treating abortion as a valid birth control method. This is not, she says, taking responsibility for a woman’s reproductive health.

I’ve seen many a blogger refer to these embryos as “just cells.” Onion cells turn into onions. These cells, however, turn into people. How is this not a significant differentiation between cells? It took millions of years of evolution to accomplish this.

“Gendercide” vs. Genocide

Eight million girls were aborted in India in the last decade. This is considered horrendous genocide by American Democratic women. In China, 1.2 million girls are aborted annually, this is considered horrendous genocide by American Democratic women. And yet, 22 percent of all pregnancies in this country end in abortion every year, or approximately 50 million abortions between 1973 and 2008, according to the Guttmacher Report. It’s the equivalent of China’s “gender-cide” rate currently. That is not the result of 50 million cases of incest, rape and life threatening complications, which account for a very small percentage of abortions. It’s not even teenage pregnancy (which accounts for only 18 percent of all abortions). It’s primarily adult women to whom life threw a curve.

How is this not considered horrendous genocide by American Democratic women? Because it’s not gender-specific, then it’s OK, it’s no big deal? An American woman chooses it for her career or because she slept with the wrong guy, or whatever her reason is, and that’s a legitimate choice?  Rather than the completely “wrong” choice that Chinese or Indian women make because they want boy children who will provide for them in their old age? I can’t find the sense in this.

A Life vs. A Life Plan

Children, babies, in my opinion should not be viewed as a burden to our career arc, to our life planAnd if we do consider our own babies in this light, it’s time to reconsider the value of a career arc or a life planIf it is not a big deal, we, as women, as an entire society and culture, have some serious reevaluating to do about our aspirations as a people and our values in general. There is a difference between living a life and having a life plan. Life plans are far less valuable than living a life. In my experience, a life plan is simply there so the Universe can force you to surrender it. Besides, careers won’t love you back or let you babysit the grandchildren.

I have yet to meet a woman for whom having a baby ruined her life. I’ve know teenagers, adults, mid-lifers, and even victims of rape who have had unplanned babies, and not one of their lives were ruined. Changed, yes. Ruined, no.

I still believe in a woman’s physical autonomy, but I’d also like to see a little more of the “rare” Clinton spoke of in 1996. I’m a supporter of Roe v. Wade, to ensure that the government can’t limit our right to have children (as China has and as more than one environmentalist in this country has suggested we do), as much to protect the right to terminate our own population out of convenience, or whatever reason women are finding to be valid and legitimate.

However, I find myself increasingly disturbed by the lack of gravity being given to this choice so many women are making. I find it more and more difficult to get behind the Democratic pro-choice rhetoric, which feels increasingly cold and detached to me. The flippant attitude is a huge turn off. I’m less and less inclined to want to associate myself with it.

To me, abortion is unfeminine. By which I mean that women – the divine feminine – are the only gender who has the ultimate power to create life. Men are not awarded this honor and privilege. Only women. I, for one, believe we should hold this as the sacred honor it warrants. It’s harder to do that if we’re knocking off our own offspring.

It should also be noted that for 40 years the so-called Republican plot to stage a Supreme Court coup has been an utter failure. It’s unlikely to happen in the next four to eight years. The promise of this by every Republican president since 1973 should be as transparently absurd as Saran Wrap by now. It’s amazing that both sides keep falling for this empty promise by presidential candidates who have absolutely no other power to exert over the issue.

Birth Control & Religion

I keep hearing that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan intend to take your birth control from you. Which I find silly. Republican Christians use birth control. Mormons use birth control. They also use IVF to expand their families. The very few who do not believe in birth control are in such a minority that their evil plots can not be put into law. By the way, presidents don’t have any power to make birth control laws.

In regard to the state vs. religion argument about religious organizations being required to provide free birth control on their insurance plans, try not to confuse a religion’s preference not to pay for a woman’s birth control with outlawing birth control in America. It seems to me that if women are going to a private Christian university or working for a Catholic institution which doesn’t believe in birth control, then they have a really relevant and valid issue to take up with their religion of choice. It is not the federal government’s responsibility to change any religion’s mind about birth control use by its parishioners. If people don’t like their religion’s anti-birth control policy, and I can see why they wouldn’t, then they should take responsibility for their religious choice to be a member of or work for that religion. People should either find a religion that aligns with their religious convictions or pressure the church to change its stance.

It is tragic to me that women have abandoned their churches rather than demanding that their churches recognize them as autonomous, whole spiritual beings with all the rights and privileges therein. The alternative, which I would prefer seeing women choose, is to stand up for themselves and their inherent role as the sacred feminine within their churches. It’s interesting that women, gays, minorities, will tuck their tail between their legs and stalk away from faith because churches refuse to progress. But they will expend millions of hours of energy fighting for their rights against a government, which is equally resistant to progress. Maybe we should rethink that.

Check in tomorrow for my Optimistic Predictions.

Image via iStockphoto

  • I’m struggling with this argument on so many levels.

    I’m pro-choice, but I have some empathy for the beliefs of the pro-life side. “Safe, legal, and rare” is a great goal.

    But over the past several years we have seen more and more attacks on “legal” and therefore “safe.”

    And through the increased attempts to limit birth control access based on religions to which many do not subscribe, it has become apparent that the battle on both sides is not about “life” at all, but whether a woman is entitled to self-determination or not. Facing the risk of losing that, how can you expect us to care about the lives of others, especially those who do not yet exist.

    I am a “life of the mother” exception – for as long as that’s going to remain in place. My former church, and many other segments of American society have made it increasingly clear that those non-descript cells I might have carried have more value, in their eyes, than I do. This was not always the case.

    My children were adopted. There is nothing divine or sacred or even scientific about my motherhood or my femininity. I am a parent, like any other. I am not Gaia or Madonna, nor did I ever have any wish to be. My inability to carry a child to term would have very little to do with my identity or my sense of self-worth, were it not for society’s incessant faux-moralizing about it.

    And let’s get one thing straight, it is largely the pro-choicers who raise their voices for the rights of the lives that exist already; the ones with names, the ones with needs, and the ones who have been largely abandoned by those who proclaimed their lives sacred – until the day they were born.

  • “Facing the risk of losing that, how can you expect us to care about the lives of others, especially those who do not yet exist.”

    I care. I wish you cared. That you don’t is perhaps more frightening to me than the overturning of Roe v Wade, which would not make abortion illegal, but would only make it a state issue. Some states would ban it. Which means some women will have to make a road trip if they want an abortion.

    Also, I know both Mormons and Christians who have had abortions due to the life of the mother exception, I have no reason to believe these two particular candidates would change these laws. Nor do they have any powers whatsoever to do so.

    Most abortion laws are state laws. The president has only one power – nomination of a Supreme Court Judge. If he gets the opportunity.

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