Thursday, March 16, 2006

By request, a bitch's thoughts on South Dakota...

A bitch extends a big thank you to everyone who has expressed condolences on the passing of my friend Sean. It helps to know that he is in your thoughts and prayers. This has been a rather difficult experience for me. A bitch doesn’t deal well with death and has had to deal with it far too often. But death is part of life and it is the celebration of Sean’s life that will continue in my heart.

Moving forward with fond remembrance…

By request, a bitch’s thoughts on South Dakota’s new abortion ban
We knew it was coming and we knew that it was coming fast. Anti-choice forces have been playing this hand for years and now it looks like they have thrown their cards down…hard. The new ban in South Dakota is being challenged, which may result in the usual legal parade upward towards the Supreme Court.

Some legal scholars do not anticipate that this case will make it to the Supreme Court. People also need to keep in mind that there are several legal layers to get through before both sides meet on the field of battle. And it is important to understand that this battle does not mean that services have ended in South Dakota.

Yet, here we are…wondering, fretting and trying to come to terms with the fact that Roe is under full legal consideration…again.

A bitch finds myself exploring the ramifications. My ass knows that this exploration puts the cart in front of the horse, but it is intellectually impossible for me to avoid.

As most of you now, a bitch volunteers with teenage mothers at several local shelters. Some of these mothers chose to have their babies and some of them were simply too far along in their pregnancies to have any viable choices beyond adoption or keeping the child post birth. This illuminates the issue of ‘choice’ in Missouri and many other states within the union. Choice has not been as simple as choice for quite some time.

Freedom of choice requires freedom of information. The anti-choice movement has steadily been restricting access to reproductive information for years. Most of my current disgust at the advocates of anti-choice policies stems from that fact.

See, a bitch would like abortion to be rare as a motherfucker. Safe is followed by legal, which is followed by rare. My ass is one of millions of Americans who works diligently to educate my community…both men and women…on the various choices they have and options available that will assist in lowering the number of unplanned pregnancies. And a bitch averages at least 5 women per 6 month class session who have no fucking idea how their reproductive system works, what the real health risks and advantages are associated to contraception and what family planning is.

An average of 5 women…usually out of a total of 10 to 15…have to be educated about their reproductive cycle, how sex may result in pregnancy, what contraceptive methods are available to them and/or how to choose the best method. And Average of 5 women per class cycle relate misinformation about contraception…feel that using the pill may make them unable to have a baby in the future…believe that the pill may protect them against sexually transmitted diseases…feel that it is inappropriate to ask their sexual partner to use a condom because it ‘assumes that they are sick’…strongly believe that they can not contract a sexually transmitted disease from oral sex…think the withdrawal method works...think that you can ‘tell by looking at someone’ if they have a sexually transmitted disease…and do not feel that they need to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases until they are pregnant because they ‘feel fine’.

A bitch has met the victims of rape, incest and exploitation who believed that they could douche the problem away. A bitch has listened to women who have three or four chil’ren but ‘aren’t sure if they have ever had an orgasm’ and ‘did it because they needed to keep their man’.

One current student engaged in over 60 unprotected sexual encounters in an effort to ‘get rid of those sinful feelings for women’ and sincerely hopes that her child ‘helps her not be a dyke anymore’.

And it goes on and on.

The sad reality is that anti-choice advocates are creating more unplanned pregnancies through their ignorance is bliss policies…and those of us in the trenches are shoveling in a downpour. A bitch struggles to understand the logic and finds that there is none.

Any group that wants to decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies in America needs to start with comprehensive education. Abstinence…yes! And…oh, and that ‘and’ is one massive motherfucking word…comprehensive sex education so that each individual is armed with the facts, the options and the tools to make an educated decision about their life and their body.

But comprehensive sex education does not…will not…eliminate rape or incest. Comprehensive sex education will not eliminate exploitation or abuse.

The morning after pill will not eliminate the fact that many women do not seek medical care or go to the authorities after an assault...that unplanned pregnancy will still happen...that people will get busy regardless of the ramifications.

And abstinence education will not eliminate unplanned pregnancies…the fact that society has no viable mechanism for dealing with them post Roe…the fact that parenting skills do not automatically kick in when a person has a baby…the fact that our foster care system is overwhelmed, adoptions have been replaced by infertility treatments, babies are still tossed into dumpsters like trash…and America prefers to debate abortion rather than our failure as a society to truly protect life, ensure liberty and clear the fucking wreckage blocking the pursuit of happiness.

Abortion is not the only thing on the table…again. The drama resulting from decade’s worth of failed social policy is on the table too.

Oh, and lives…they are on the table…and the instrument of law is being prepared to do damage come hell or high-water.

A bitch does not fear a debate…my ass just wishes we were debating the shit really on the table.

This bitch sees this as the real Mommy War, chil’ren. And my ass harbors no confusion over who stands to benefit.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you've just made me pro-choice.

I'm an 18-year old college freshman. I've sat on the fence of this issue for awhile now, but I used to be very anti-choice (but ALWAYS unless pregnancy resulted from rape or incest or would endanger the mother's life...I'm not that crazy, after all). I was always anti-abstinence-only education, anti-contraception bans, and anti-crazy ass "STOP KILLING BABIES" demonstrations, but I could never shake the fact that I felt like fetuses did have lives. I still feel this way.

Getting into high school, I learned about the reality of coat hangers and the way abortion bans would benefit the rich at the expense of the poor. These facts definitely made me rethink my staunchly anti-choice stance, but I couldn't shake my feelings about life and personal responsibility. I also didn't buy a lot of the pro-choice rhetoric at all; I didn't feel like Washington was messing around with/controlling my body, nor did I see abortion as a right I wanted to be available to me because, of course, I'd never put myself in a position where I'd have an unwanted pregnancy (I was way too naive about way too much). Part of me was always angry when pro-choicers told me that young mothers would always have kids "doomed to poverty," because, coming from a very low-income family, I resented the idea that poor people make bad parents and bad families. The sentiment that apparently it would have been better for my mother to abort me than give me a terrible life still pisses me off. At this point I realized that I was too conflicted on the issue to really take a side; I shied away from all abortion debates with peers. I decided to just let the chips fall as they may.

South Dakota was a huge wake-up call. The fact that abortion would still be denied to victims of rape and incest absolutely outraged me; didn't these people understand how wrong that is? How could they have no regard for the women affected?

And now, reading your entry, I think about all the women who are victims of educational and economic inequality in this country and how it affects the choices they make. The government puts them at a disadvantage, denying them information, and then wants to call them immoral if they try and change. No one should be denied this information, and no one should be victimized even more than they have already been because of the huge transgressions of those power. It's. fucked. up.

So I'm with you. I want abortion to be rare, but I also see that we need to deal with the horrible reality before us. Thank you immeasurably for helping me to understand what's really going on in this war, my pro-choice sistah.

J said...

Anonymous, if my husband had had freshmen students who write as well as you, he would probably have enjoyed teaching a lot more. Very well said.

ABB, you again have put the argument into very clear focus, and I hope people are listening. Abortion needs to be available to EVERYONE, not just victims of rape and incest. But the poor are the first to suffer, because they can't afford to find another way. I suspect that these days, it would be pretty darned expensive for most middle class folks, too.

lemure said...

I read your page all the time but rarely comment. After your eloquent post and the heartfelt 1st comments, I have to say something.

Anonymous 1:44 PM, I was stridently "pro life" as a teenager. I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools until college. I was a real pro lifer, I don't believe in the death penalty either. As I've gotten older, my position has gotten more nuanced. My eyes are opened to the hypocrisy of protecting the lives of the unborn but then cutting social services. I finally understand that when "they" get through with abortion, they are coming after my contraception and right to comprehensive sexual education. The very tools I need to prevent an unwanted pregnancy and even more unwanted termination. In many states, abortion hasn't been an option for a long time.

I live in New York and thank god the option was available to my young, talented sister. She's going to a top culinary university in the fall. She learned from that painful decision, got birth control right away and it never happened again. We are young black women so the odds are stacked against us but because of loving parents and access to real sexual health options we are making it.

So many young women aren't so fortunate and the government is about to turn an awful situation into a grotesque horror show. I just don't understand the lack of empathy!

espresso bean said...

angryblackbitch,

you can't see me, but I'm standing up in my cubicle at work here saluting you.

fellow readers, I think I will take the time to find the statistics on how many deaths are caused every year by illegal and backdoor abortions. and while I'm at it, the lengths that foreign places have gone to help young women in trouble, such as the boat that has to sail out into open water to perform these procedures since law doesn't govern the open water.

I'd like for abortion to not be necessary. I personally liken it to murder. but I'm not stupid enough to cover my eyes and ears and pretend it's not a necessary option for many.

peace and love to you, ABB

Dixie said...

ABB, I have rarely seen a more convincing argument on the subject. Thank you.

flamingbanjo said...

When willful ignorance is the dominant religion, the facts become blasphemy. As long as "faith" is defined as unquestioning acceptance of whatever the preacher tells you and held up as the most admirable of all qualities, people will continue to claim that rational thought is an attack on their beliefs.

Joolya said...

Hell yeah. You rock.

raej said...

Have you seen this one? http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/local/14098907.htm

So it continues close to home as well.

My absolute favorite part was "State taxpayers should not be required to subsidize activities they believe are immoral or unethical, relating to contraceptives or abortions," said Larry Weber, executive director of the state Catholic Conference."

That 1st part means I can stop paying taxes towards the war now, right? Right!

Crystal-Lynn said...

What's interesting to me in the discussion is the implications for our democracy. For what has happened in South Dakota is democracy at work -- a body of duly elected representatives of the people of that state passed a law. (How many people voted? Now that's on South Dakotans.) Our democracy is founded on the rights of the individual ... and the responsibility of the individual. One right/responsibility is to make decisions regarding your life, liberty and persuit of happiness (today, that would include healthcare decisions and reproduction I think). But another right/responsibility is to participate in the body politic ... know who's running for office or run yourself ... register ... and vote. "They" have succeded in SD because they have a strong legislative agenda, a dedicated active voting base, and patience. I think there's a "silent majority" that agrees with ABB (maybe not in SD, but in most of the country) ... they need to stand up and be counted.

Disgusted in St. Louis said...

ABB,

Next request, what are you thoughts on the latest attempts by the Republican Theocracy in Missouri to out do South Dakota? I'm thinking about yesterday's vote in the pursuit to ban contraception, especially after the recent house bill to ban all abortions.

House rejects spending for birth control (via the Kansas City Star):

The House voted 96-59 to delete the funding for contraception and infertility treatments after Rep. Susan Phillips told lawmakers that anti-abortion groups such as Missouri Right to Life were opposed to the spending.

"If you hand out contraception to single women, we're saying promiscuity is OK as a state, and I am not in support of that," Phillips, R-Kansas City, said in an interview.

Others, including some lawmakers who described themselves as "pro-life," said it was illogical for anti-abortion lawmakers to deny money for contraception to low-income people who use public health clinics.

"It's going to have the opposite effect of what the intention is, which will be more unwanted pregnancies and more abortions," said Rep. Kate Meiners, D-Kansas City.

The other alternative is for low-income women to give birth to more children, which is only likely to drive up the state's costs to provide services to them, said Democratic Rep. Melba Curls, also of Kansas City.

Anonymous said...

That was very good ABB.

I do not believe abortion is a moral choice. I believe that it is the immoral choice to make.

However I believe it to be the mother's choice to make, not the government, nor the church.

I do not believe that my moral belief should be forced upon anyone else, nor anyone else’s, ( to the extent possible), forced upon me.

This country is truly suffering from poor education in this area and many other areas as well. It doesn’t look like much will be done to improve education either.

I am shocked at the dramatic direction our nation is being taken since the conservatives have taken over government. The United States is becoming unrecognizable to me. I thank God that my daughters are foreign nationals living in Europe. I want to join them. So maybe I shall.

Keep up the fight beautiful…

Special Anon

M A F said...

Comprehensive sex-ed is the best way to combat abortion. (Rape and incest are two variables to the equation that cannot simply be addressed through education.) Abstinence only programs are a joke. Every time I hear it I am reminded of something I heard Dr. Joceyln Elders say during a lecture. "Abstinence pledges break easier than condoms."

During that same lecture she talked about the sex-ed courses in some of those nations of "old Europe." In many of these countries were abortion is readily available it is quite rare in comparison to the numbers of teenage abortion performed in the US. Of course what can one expect from such a patently liberal educational?

I always find it ironic when I hear the social conservatives talk about the importance of gun education but fail to see the importance of sex ed.

Maybe the social conservatives just need a serious smack-down from ABB.

Mr. Brian said...

5 out of 10 - 15 women in these classes do not know how their reproductive system works???? The other fallacies I can understand, but this statistic is overwhelming. At between 34% and 50%, that produces an average of 42% of the women who attend the classes. What of the women who don't attend these classes because they either (a) think they are educated and feel they don't need them, or (b) they have no idea the classes are available or feel they are unable to attend them for whatever reason, be it personal or financial.

We're losing the war on stupidity and ignorance. And our government is allowing that to happen. I think we need more female Congressional representatives (though that's not likely to resolve the problem entirely).

I am astounded, ABB. I had absolutely no idea....

(BTW, if you get time, check out my "letter of truth" on Wed's post.)

cats said...

shark-fu, you are preaching to the choir, but this choir loves to hear you preach!

i think i'm going to copy what you wrote and whenever anyone asks me what i think about abortion, i'm gonna hand them a copy of this.

thank you again.

you should run for office.

wayne said...

As a (yes, you can safely use variations on the words "fanatic, fundamentalist, rightwing, asshole, prick, crackerass, bastard" and I will just smile and be amused) person who is massivley opposed to abortion, I wanted to tell you that there is SO MUCH THAT YOU ARE SO ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ON in your post.

The issue has gotten so politicized by both sides that we can't even talk to each other anymore.

The real problem, the great pink elephant in the room, is that parents are too fucking lazy to take the responsibility to be involved with any part of teaching their kids about sex themselves or to be involved with what their kids are (or are not) learning in school.

There is just too much work, too much social activities, and too much God-Damned TV for them to watch for them to actually attempt to see what their kids are doing or be involved with their upbringing.

When you deal with what you see from day to day; with generations of confused, single, baby factories and hit-and-run penuses (I mean fathers) - its doubly bad because there is no one able to even try to educate them on how and why to avoid the situation.

We do need to teach BOTH the mechanics AND the morals of sex AND the CONSEQUENCES in the schools.

Abortion should end. But the entire mess that happens in the poor communities and with sex education should be fixed first.

For the boys and girls who know better, who've been taught better both at home and at school and who have no excuses but self-centeredness, well...the girl should have to go thru with the pregnancy and whether or not she keeps it, the boy/man should have to help support the child until it's 18..by Federal Law.

If that means the guy spends the rest of his life in a Federal work camp picking up garbage out of the sewers if he refuses to keep a job to support his child...I'm fine with that.

For rapists and child-molesters, if it can proved that they are knowingly guilty (not the guy that was convinced by the adult-looking and acting 14-17 year-old that she was 19) with out a doubt, and, not some stupid hypnosis thing actual physical evidence of the crime I am an advocate for dropping them live into a meatgrinder and using the pulp for fertilizer.

Anonymous said...

Go ABB!
I can well believe that your teen moms are that clueless, having seen some of them in clinic. It's the middle-class white preachers and religious laypeople who have no concept of reality; I well remember when Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago stated in a New York Times editorial that "everyone knew how to avoid getting pregnant". Apparently he never looked around in his own dioceses. And this is a guy from a religious tradition which encourages care for the poor - which should mean that he should know something about the variety of knowledge and misinformation held by actual poor young women (and young men). In theory only, apparently.

NancyP, St. Louis

Cheetarah1980 said...

This post is hitting really close to home right now. My faith teaches me that abortion is wrong (no I'm not ignorant, no I don't believe this just because pastor said so). However, the last time I checked, I serve a God who gives us free will. Yes, I believe that a fetus is a separate and distinct life separate (but very much depenedent) from the mother. I don't believe that anyone has the right to end someone else's life. But those are my beliefs. Do I believe that they are right...you betcha. Do I believe that everyone has to agree with them...nope. That's why God gave us the choice. I was never down with legislating based on belief systems when this isn't a theocracy. With that being said, I am completely apalled, let down, and disgusted by the current status of the pro-life movement in this country. They aren't pro-life, rather pro birth. I don't see those same people rallying in front of abortion clinics, lobbying their senators when funding is cut for after school programs, free lunches, and other social programs that enhance the quality of LIFE (that thing they supposedly value so much). But the worst part is, I don't see them trying to prevent abortions.
My roommate used to volunteer at an abstinence only clinic. At the age of 25 she was counseling young girls about their bodies but didn't even know about her own reproductive cycle (how one gets pregnant, egg releasing, all that good stuff). It really struck me that people aren't armed with the knowledge they need to truly make a decision either way. If pro-lifers would actually go into schools and teach students about the ins and outs of sex instead making them fill out tired pledge cards, they'd see a BIG reduction in the number of unwanted pregnancies and as a result fewer abortions.

Grace said...

ABB, you rock my world. Stylistically as well as content-wise.

I'm currently living in Europe, which is a problem since you made me want to rush out and volunteer to teach sex ed.

Actually, as a future clergyperson, I hope to take an active role in making at least my tiny corner of the religious universe an information-rich, hypocrisy-poor, women-supporting zone.

Thanks for preaching it.

L said...

thank you for such a wonderful post

I wish there were more of us who felt this way

SmartBlkWoman said...

I couldn't agree with you more and I'm pro-life. Sadly it seems as if a minority within the pro-life movement thinks that by not telling women the truth and by not making sex education comprehensive they can stop women from having sex. I disagree with them and believe that if anyone is really pro-life they are pro-prevention.

I assure you that these people do not speak for me and everyone within the pro-life movement.

Katie said...

Your argument is persuading people. Here's one, a typical sounding pro-lifer, who after reading your article is beginning to have doubts that the issue is as cut and dried as she thought before.

...I also feel women that use abortions as birth control are still heartless bitches. For those women who get pregnent on purpose then abort cause of the sex, retardation or other defects which are not caused from incest, are also heartless. Those of you out there that do this, why do you even want a child? There is no such thing a perfect person. For the other women out there having an abortion for other reasons, I'm not sure what to say anymore. The article I read that made me change my mind is AngryBlackBitch ... The one you want is called By request, a bitch's thoughts on South Dakota... "

Quote taken from comment by "Samantha" at
http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=19906528&postID=114072799892364390

(Ctrl+F to search for "samantha" on that page.)