Oh yes, I know how charged a topic this is, on both sides.  And I can understand the feelings of both sides.

But the idea that the government could *force* you to carry and give birth to a child that you absolutely don’t want…that is a truly terrifying thought.

I had a similar experience at a recent GYN visit.  Backstory first, I had a hysterectomy years ago, at a fairly young age for one (32).  I really had to do a lot of convincing to get the surgeon to do it, because I also had no children; but ultimately, he listened to me and went ahead with it.  And I could not have been happier, it improved my quality of life tremendously, freed me from a whole lot of excruciating pain and suffering.  At no point have I ever regretted it, I am still thankful after all these years that he was willing to listen to me, willing to do what was needed to end my suffering and pain.

So, fast-forward over a decade from that, I go in for routine visit and the GYN asks me what I had the hysterectomy for.  I tell him (adenomyosis) and he gets mad and goes off on a rant about how that would never be done today, any surgeon that went that route for that issue would be censured, that it was completely barbaric and no better than butchery.  I asked him what they’d do now instead, and he tells me that they’d give me hormone-suppressing drugs instead.  Okay, great – so at 32, instead of just freeing me from a diseased organ (that I’m obviously not making use of anyway), instead you’re going to artificially throw me into menopause, 20-30 years earlier than I would have gone into it naturally?  And all the effects that would go along with that (prematurely age my skin and hair, make my bones more brittle, hot flashes, depression, weight gain, etc) are still better than removing a clearly diseased organ that is doing nothing for me but making my life completely miserable?

The thought that *any* woman would be forced to keep an organ when it is negatively impacting her life and isn’t going to stop doing so (not to go into too much detail, but I was bleeding heavily for up to 20 days of every month by that time), and instead be forced into further medical costs via a drug-induced premature menopause scared me enough that I actually sat down and wrote a lengthy email to the American OB/GYN College (fellowship, governing body).  Saying that I truly hoped that attitude was just ‘him’ and not the feeling of the College as a whole – and why.  Telling them how much better my life has been since the surgery (they did respond and said they’d have it read at their next gathering – I hope they did).  The idea of not having that choice, of being forced to keep something in my body that not only did I not want, but that was causing me such misery, still horrifies me to no end.  The idea that I could *still* be suffering today and that anyone who tried to help me could potentially face censure from their governing body for doing so.

Okay, so a uterus is an organ, and a fetus is a potential life; not the same, but still, in a way is the same when it’s equally unwanted.  Choosing to end a life before it’s properly begun, I can understand why some will equate that to murder.  I can understand completely what is abhorrent about it.  But the thought of being *forced* to carry a child to term that you absolutely do not want (worse still if it was the result of rape or incest) is equally abhorrent.  Not only from a physical standpoint (morning sickness and everything else that comes along with a pregnancy), but also from a financial one.  Do any of the people who support these kinds of laws really understand how much it costs to carry a child to term and give birth to it?  Not only medical costs either – try buying yourself a whole new set of clothes all along the way because yours don’t fit anymore; and even getting them from thrift stores is going to cost you.  Try losing time from work for the multitude of prenatal medical visits when you either don’t get sick leave or have run out of it; nevermind the time off for the birth itself.  Great if you can find adoptive parents before the birth who will cover the costs, but that isn’t actually the norm unless one of them was involved (i.e. was in vitro, with one or both of them donating).

Several studies have shown that economic recessions (in countries outside the US as well as the US) will spark rises in abortion requests; and economic booms make abortion rates decline.  This may still be irrelevant to some who would say that you can’t put a price tag on life, but still; it’s a factor, and if you’re going to try to force every pregnant woman to have a child, someone *has* to pay for it.  People grumble about ‘welfare moms’ already, can you imagine how much more it will be if every pregnancy has to result in birth?

And then, there is the definition of life, which apparently the laws being sought want to define as fetal heartbeat.  But that really isn’t the medical definition of life to begin with.  If your heart stops beating, you’re typically still not pronounced dead until your brain has been without oxygen long enough that even if they got your heart going again, you’d still be brain-dead.  And a brain-dead patient, in most cases the plug can still be pulled even though their heart is beating unassisted.  Coherent brain-wave activity is the definition of life, not heartbeat.

Even our own societal convention does not consider a fetus to be a living human being.  I’ve been to a funeral for a stillborn child, but have never been to one for a miscarried fetus.  Also pretty sure nobody issues death certificates for a miscarried fetus.  If we do not consider that enough of a ‘being’ to hold burial rites for it (I suppose some may, but it’s typically not the societal norm), nor consider it legally enough of one to need to certify the cessation of its life, then why are we trying to impose a different set of rules when the imposed definition would mean that most would never know they had a choice facing them at all, until it was already too late to make it?

And what, then, of the child?  Most adopted children seek out their birth mothers at some point, and however tightly sealed the record, many do find them.  If the woman absolutely did not want the child and would have felt no remorse over an abortion, they’re likely to completely reject the adult also – potentially even tell them to their face that they care nothing about them and wish they were never born.  How damaging to the psyche is that likely to be?  Adopted children already struggle with the concept that their birth parents didn’t want them – how much worse when they actually get a face-to-face confirmation of how little they were wanted?

Sure, some birth mothers might change their minds as they grow older and be more receptive later, but some may grow even more bitter over time, at the fact that they were forced to carry that child, pay for the pregnancy physically, emotionally, mentally and fiscally because they had no choice – their body ceased to be their own at the moment they discovered they were pregnant.  Or worse, forever blame the child for them not having the things they wanted out of life, because they were instead stuck with medical bills that it took them years to pay off.  Is that really better, for either one of them?

If you believe that abortion is a sin, then you also must believe that the sinner will be given their punishment in the end.  It doesn’t take a law; and if you truly do believe, it’s also a much harsher potential penalty than any that our man-made laws could ever give, too.  Isn’t that enough?  Do you also have to put them through hell in this life, too?  Do you not believe that God would take any unborn soul straight to His bosom, where they’d never have to know what it is to be unloved or unwanted?

If you want to save unborn children, don’t legislate it – work towards the reason it happens (and no, I’m not talking about preaching abstinence to everyone, either).  Set up foundations that will pay for pregnancies to go to term, and be sure that enough loving homes can be found for those children.   Please, look for the carrot as motivation to carry the child to term, not the stick.  Forcing any woman to host what is essentially for her nothing but a parasitic growth (if that’s how she feels about the pregnancy, that’s basically what it is for her) that will drain both her body and her bank account, and also will have her looking over her shoulder for the rest of her life, hoping that the child doesn’t find her later and ask her why they were not wanted…it’s not a good solution.  And as a woman, it’s a horrifying thought, even though I’m now long past the point where such legislation could affect me personally anyway.

I don’t want anyone legislating someone else’s body, that is just an extremely terrifying thought.  If you don’t agree with the choice, then fine; if you’re ever in that situation, you will make the right choice for you.  If you know someone in that situation, you can use your powers of persuasion to help guide them also.  But please don’t make that choice for everyone.  We don’t castrate pedophiles even though their crimes are heinous, and even though it would certainly ‘cure’ the problem – because we still feel that as a human being, however awful their crimes, they still have a right to their own body.  Why would we want to take that right away from a woman who does not want to bear a child?