Monday, January 22, 2007

Older Post, Brought Forth for Blogging For Choice Day

This particular trope really fucking annoys me, and it's everywhere in conversations about pregnancy and abortion and women's reproductive health, which is the trope of "your experience has something to do with mine: " Babble reported on the sad case of the abandoned baby girl found in a Dumpster in Queens -- a very sad case indeed, leavened by the baby's rescue by four teenage boys.

This is what bothers me:
As somebody who went through infertility, I seethe at these kinds of stories – but this one has a twist that makes it actually kinda heartwarming. A baby thrown away like so much trash was rescued by four teenage boys Monday afternoon in Queens.
So you are seething because some clearly distressed pregnant woman didn't have the good sense to keep the baby, the circumstances of said baby's conception and the mother's life being something you clearly know jack shit about? God, the entitlement dripping from that opening sentence! No, I am not advocating ditching your newborn in a dumpster, but the morality of that action has jack shit to do with another woman's infertility. It is the height of arrogance to state that "because I struggled with X, total stranger must Y." What if you switch the story around? What if the blog is being written by a 16 year old girl who has been raped by her dad and doesn't want anyone to know she is pregnant?
As somebody who is being raped by my father three times a week, I seethe at stories of women paying $10,000 to get pregnant. I'm scared of being pregnant every day but don't know what to do. Sometimes I want to die. They are so lucky that there's no way they can get pregnant.
It's the same narcissism behind the trope of "Well, I'm really glad *I* wasn't aborted!" No shit, you are HERE. Newsflash, my narcissistic friend -- No woman's abortion is a retroactive commentary on YOUR EXISTENCE. Just like the fact that I am working in a lame day job doesn't mean I am somehow "judging" your job. Or the fact that because I married MY husband means YOUR husband (or wife) is LAME.

It reminds me of the article in the NYT a while ago about parents of children with Down's Syndrome who wanted to make themselves and their families available to pregnant women who discover that the fetus they are carrying has Down's. Some wanted to just show people that their children were happy and healthy and that having a child with Down's wasn't some death sentence. Other parents were hoping that the more parents would choose to carry Down's pregnancies to term because it would increase the demand for funding and programs for people with Down's. This second motive I totally understand, but find really self-serving. Some parents are going to make the decision to carry certain pregnancies to term -- others are not. For every woman who decides not to carry a fetus with Down's to term, there will be a woman who does. I don't see this as any different than a woman who decides to terminate a pregnancy at 12 weeks (when one has no idea if you're carrying David Fetus Wallace or not) versus one who decides to carry a pregnancy to term. The point is that given the completely unique moral position women are in with regard to pregnancy, in that their bodies are being conscripted by a developing fetus which is being grown by and feeds off an individual woman's body, each and every woman is the only person who can decide if the pregnancy is to be carried to term or not, for whatever fucking reason. To desire to control the body of another human being is the ultimate expression of howling weakness, and so, perhaps unwittingly, the woman with infertility issues sneering at a woman who "threw a perfectly healthy baby away" which is one step away from sneering at a woman who decides not to have a baby, period.

I don't know yet if I am fertile or not, having never been pregnant (although I may very well be on the way to being pregnant as I am typing this.) But I know that my body and my fertility or lack thereof are mine alone.

Don't get me started on the lamer-than-super-lame "I'm so torn up that my ex girlfriend aborted out fetus" men's movement. Seriously, fuck you people. Yes, it can be devastating to realize that your girlfriend/ lover didn't want to have a baby when you did. But the "devastation" comes from the fact that you feel rejected, or the relationship wasn't what you thought it was, or that she didn't tell you she aborted and you were lied to. All those things are horrible things to feel. But you still don't get a say in what a woman does with her body, just as if a woman breaks up with you you don't have a right to stalk her and rape her because you miss fucking her. These guys boo-hooing about women's abortions are metaphysicalstalkers. Life is hard, and people can be disappointing and dishonest and small. It doesn't follow that you have the right to control the body of the person who hurt you, or stone your daughter because she kisses a boy. All arguments against abortion are just about controlling women's bodies, and I'm not having it.


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