April 28th, 2010

planet

Oklahoma, pregnancy, and remaining pro-choice

Oklahoma is trying to prevent abortions by... supporting research-based sex ed? Increasing access to prenatal care? Protecting the jobs of pregnant women?

Wrong on all three, they're forcing ultrasounds. Also giving physicians the right to hide information from pregnant women, which sounds like a great idea right? If the doctor sees evidence of a disability or genetic disorder, they can keep that info to themselves so you have no reason to terminate. Doesn't matter if the baby won't survive two days outside the womb, you'd better carry to full term!

I totally don't get it. Being pregnant has made me so much more pro-choice, mostly because I've learned a lot more about fetal development. When the anti-choicers are waving around the tiny 2" plastic babies they don't tell you that it represents a fetus that's been around about three months. When I got pregnant, I didn't get to see a doctor until week 8. Didn't get to hear a heartbeat until week 13. Didn't get an ultrasound until week 20. Because there's just nothing to see. Nature takes a lot of time to think about this. There's a reason the early pregnancy miscarriage rate is up near 20%... making a human is important, and the process wants to make sure that, if something's going to take up precious time in a uterus it's the perfect egg. Right time, right chromosomes, right everything. Given the statistics, I really don't see how God is the hardcore pro-lifer we make Him out to be.

Early normal pregnancy is all about sorting things out. When we treat pregnancy like this black-and-white, all-or-nothing, human-or-not thing, we're missing the point. It's a great big in-between stage and needs to be treated as such. And forcing women to see an ultrasound of something that's not even a fetus yet is not going to help your cause, because people, it looks like a bean. New parents have to struggle with the vague helplessness of it all, and the Oklahoma legislature needs to also.

As for late-term abortions, these have never been done lightly, and I feel very insulted whenever I hear the anti-choice side accusing women of just flippantly being in a bad mood around month 7 and deciding to get an abortion. If there are health concerns for the mother, the pregnancy needs to be terminated NOW without fear of legal recourse, and definitely without getting a stamp from a judge first. If there are health concerns for the baby, ie, its life will be short anyway and would be easier if shorter, then I feel like we should do everything possible to support these families during an incredibly difficult decision. That, to me, is society's moral responsibility... not judgement. It's not compassionate to force a rape victim to undergo an exam that requires a vaginal probe, it's not moral to judge a family hearing test results you could never handle.

On behalf of at least this pregnant woman: let's focus on making it safe to have babies? That's the moral thing to do in every state.